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Virtually visit the Basilica of San Pancrazio: A 14-year-old early martyr

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Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Marinella Bandini - published on 04/11/21

Station Church Day 53, final day: The Alleluia resounds. We end the station church pilgrimage renewing our baptismal promises.

Aleteia invites you to a virtual Lenten pilgrimage through Rome’s 42 station churches: one church per day, from February 17 to April 11.

Day 53

During the last station procession, instead of the penitential invocations, the Alleluia resounds. We are at the Basilica of San Pancrazio, dedicated to a young martyr considered the defender of oaths and promises. On this day, at the conclusion of the Octave of Easter, participants renew their baptismal promises and the cycle of Roman stations ends.

The basilica was built at the behest of Pope Symmachus (6th century) on the burial site of St. Pancras. According to the “passio” (the story of his martyrdom), Pancras, an orphan, had come to Rome from Phrygia together with his uncle Dionysus. Both converted to Christianity and Dionysus immediately fell victim to Diocletian’s persecution. Pancras, who was 14 years old, was brought before the emperor. He refused to sacrifice to the gods and defended his faith. For this he was beheaded.

The Basilica of San Pancrazio has undergone numerous transformations over the centuries. In 1662 the basilica was entrusted to the Discalced Carmelites, who still care for it it today. At the end of the 18th century it suffered the violence of Napoleon’s soldiers, and 50 years later found itself on the front line between the French of General Oudinot, who had come to the aid of Pope Pius IX, and the defenders of the Roman Republic. The damage was considerable. To destruction and looting was added the desecration of the martyr’s relics, which were dispersed. The relics present today come from the Lateran.

Whatever is born of Godconquers the world.And this is the victorythat conquers the world:our faith.1 John 5:4

* In collaboration with the Office for Social Communications of the Vicariate of Rome

Read about the tradition of the station churches here. And see previous churches in the pilgrimage here.

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