Treasures of the Church- Holy Sites

abbey of tre fontane
by SCTJM



The Trappist complex of Tre Fontane (three fountains) consists of three churches: the convent and the Basilica of Saints Vincent and Anastasius, the Church of Saint Mary Scala Coeli (ladder to Heaven), and the Church of Saint Paul.

The current Church of Saint Paul was completed by a design of Giacomo della Porta (James of the door) and commissioned by Cardinal Farnese. It is dedicated to the apostle Paul and was raised over the spot where Saint Paul was beheaded. According to tradition, the head, once severed from the body, struck the earth in three different places from which fountains miraculously sprang up and which flow to the present day. Thus, the place is named after the three fountains (Tre Fontane).

The first church in this place was built in the fifth century, the same century when Pope Sixtus III asked a monastic community to live there with the purpose of assuring the uninterrupted prayer time in one of the most cherished places of Christian memory. Many years later in 1599, Giacomo della Porta designed it and rebuilt it.

The Church of Saint Paul has a foyer and a transverse nave. The column were the apostle was decapitated is found in one of the corners. Three symbolic monuments cover the fountains that are found in the interior of the church, on the back wall, each on a different level. The fountains were sealed because the water that flowed from them is contaminated.
On the floor are preserved the remains of a roman mosaic which was brought here from the roman port of Ostia during the Imperial period and which has as a theme of four stations.

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