Friday, November 13, 2009

To the Tomb of Cyril

Today, on behalf of the people of the parish, I made pilgrimage to the Basilica of St. Clement, the burial place of St. Cyril. St. Cyril died in 869 A.D. and was buried in the 4th century basilica that now is the lower basilica of the present-day basilica (built in the 12th century). St. Cyril was buried in this basilica at the request of his brother, St. Methodius. Pope Paul VI placed St. Cyril's relics in the altar of a side chapel (shown above) of the upper basilica in 1969. At this altar I lit a candle for the people of SS. Cyril and Methodius parish in Shiner.

The Basilica of San Clemente is a remarkable site and should not be missed on any pilgrimage to Rome! By simply walking down a few stairs, one goes from the 21st century to the 1st century in just moments. Many excavations of the 4th century basilica and below have been done since the 1850's. Work on the excavations continues to this day.
Below the 4th century basilica is an entire 1st century Roman alleyway including several homes...complete with running water! The water continues to run to this very day 2000 years later. How's that for reliable plumbing?!!
This level also contains a Mithraic temple and school. The cult of Mithra was outlawed in the Roman Empire in 395 A.D. and it was at that time that its property was taken over by the Church for the building of the 4th century basilica. Prior to that, the Christian church was meeting in the home of someone named Clement; hence, the name of the basilica, Saint Clement.

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