Day XII. Sunday, Week II.
"This is my chosen Son; listen to him" (Gospel for today – Lk 9:35).
Santa Maria in Domnica. This Church was once the home of a noble Roman
matron, Saint Cyriaca. During the time of persecution, Christians met
there to worship, hence the name "Domnica" from the Latin word for house,
dominus. She and Saint Lawrence took care of the poor and sick. Known for
her generosity, she was accused of being a Christian and was scourged to
death on August 23, 258. May our homes also be churches, places of prayer
and sanctuary, and may we also be known as Christians by our charity.
The church itself is ancient. Paschal I (817-824) restored it. The apse
mosaic is one of the oldest.
It is important because it is the first depiction of
the Christ Child on the lap of His Mother. They are surrounded by the
angelic host and Pope Paschal kneels at their feet (his is still alive as
he has a square nimbus). Also, for the first time in Rome, Christ is
pictured above sitting on a rainbow, surrounded by a nimbus of light. He
is flanked by the apostles. During a later alterations by Leo X, Raphael
was the architect (1483-1520).