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The lamp burning before this image of Our Lady stayed lit in a flood

Madonna della Lampada

© Antoine Mekary/ALETEIA

Madonna della Lampada © Antoine Mekary / ALETEIA

Marinella Bandini - published on 05/10/17

Our May tour of Rome's Little Madonnas brings us today to the oldest of the miraculous images.

We continue with our daily tour this month through a particular artistic expression of Marian devotion: Rome’s “Madonnelle” (“little Madonnas”). These are images of Mary—some of them miraculous—scattered throughout the streets and alleyways of the city. They are the object of much popular devotion. Follow the series here: Little Madonnas of Rome

Today we find ourselves before Our Lady at Isola Tiberina – via Ponte IV capi.

Madonna della Lampada
© Antoine Mekary/ALETEIA
Madonna della Lampada © Antoine Mekary / ALETEIA

Our Lady of the Lamp is the most ancient of the miraculous “Little Madonnas” in Rome. It depicts the Virgin and Child between two angels.

Originally known as “Sancta Maria Cantu Fluminis (Our Lady of the Singing Rivers),” it was later called “Our Lady of the Lamp” after a miraculous event. It is said that when the Tiber flooded the Tiberina Island in 1577, the image was submerged in water but suffered no damage. Nor did the lamp burning before the image go out.

Madonna della Lampada
© Antoine Mekary/ALETEIA
Madonna della Lampada © Antoine Mekary / ALETEIA

After the remarkable event, the fresco was removed and relocated in the Church of St. Giovanni Calibita, where it is still preserved today. In its place, around the 1930s, a copy protected by a wooden case was placed on the bell tower, with the inscription “Our Lady of the Lamp at the Tiber.” In front of the image the lamp continues to burn.


Follow the series here: Little Madonnas of Rome

See more articles like this at Aleteia’s Art & Travel section.

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