Saturday, August 29, 2009

St. Sabina and Her Church


Today, August 29, in the traditional calendar, the Church commemorates St. Sabina, an early martyr.

Sabina, a Roman noblewoman, was the widow of one Valentinus and the daughter of Herod Metallarius. She was martyred under Emperor Hadrian in about 126. Her female slave, St. Serapia, who had been instrumental in Sabina’s conversion, was also martyred.

Between 422 and 432, a Dalmatian priest named Petrus of Illyria built a church on the site of Sabina’s house, which was on Aventine Hill in Rome, near a temple of Juno, and may have been a house church.

In 430, Sabina’s relics were brought to the church. Later, Sabina was canonized as a saint.

By 1216, the church and associated buildings were in the possession of the Savelli family of which Pope Honorious III was a member. At that time, Pope Honorius approved the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) and, in 1219, he gave the church to Saint Dominic, the order’s founder. Since then, it has been the headquarters of the Dominicans. It is now called the Basilica of Saint Sabina at the Aventine.

Image:
Interior of Santa Sabina church, from Wikimedia Commons. Some rights reserved.

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