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Santi Sette Dormienti

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Santi Sette Dormienti is a deconsecrated early mediaeval church at Via di Porta San Sebastiano 7 in the rione San Saba. It is not open to the public.

The dedication was to the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus.

History Edit

It was identified by Mariano Armellini , the foremost scholar on old Roman churches, as a desecrated chapel in 1875. At that time, it was a cellar of a farmhouse and was being used as a cheese store (the farmhouse had been built on top).

Appearances suggest that it was first converted from a secular ancient Roman tomb before the 9th century. It was first mentioned in the Catalogue of Turin in 1320 as dedicated to St Michael the Archangel. Pope Clement XI restored it in 1710, and re-dedicated it to the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus. It was possibly desecrated in the early 19th century. A restoration was carried out in 1962.

Appearance Edit

The entrance doorway has a marble frame, on which are several incised graffiti crosses. The room measures six by four metres, and is rectangular with a barrel vault. The walls nearest the altar end have inset benches. The liturgical east end has a niche containing a fresco of St Michael, and above this a fresco of Christ in glory being adored by saints and angels. More saints were painted on the right hand wall. Armellini drew parallels between the frescoes here with those in the lower basilica at San Clemente, and hence dated them to the 9th

Bibliography Edit

M. Armellini: The Churches of Rome from the 4th to the 19th Century, Rome 1891, p. 597.

External link Edit

Medioevo.roma article

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