- For information about the titular churches of Cardinals, see titular church.
A titulus (pl. tituli), or house churches were the first churches in Rome, in the homes of Christians. St Paul the Apostle mentioned such a church in Romans 16, 3-5 where he greeted Prisca and Aquila and «the church which is in their house». St Paul himself had such a church in his home according to Acts 28, 30. The practise continued for some time, and St Justin (100-165) mentioned that Christians met in their homes to celebrate the mysteries.
Such as a church was known as a domus ecclesia, or house church. The name of the owner was usually inscribed in a slab by the door, and such as slab was called a titulus. Therefore, it became common to refer to a church as a titulus and to distinguish between the different churches by referring to the owner's name.
The Liber Pontificalis, a collection of biographies of the popes, explains that Pope Cletus (76-88) ordained 25 priests and that Pope Evaristus (97-105) assigned them to 25 tituli. These churches became the first parish churches of Rome.
Titular churches of cardinalsEdit
Pope Marcellus (308-309) confirmed the tituli as religious community centres and seats of Church administration. A church synod in 499 lists the churches and approves their special position in the church administration.
It was these parish priests, together with the deacons and suburbican bishops, who formed a college of advisors to the Holy Father. They became known as cardinals (from Latin cardo, "hinge"). The number of cardinals grew, but the practise of assigning them to titular churches was retained, although it is now a more symbolical act.
List of the ancient tituliEdit
|Titulus Aemilianae||Uncertain, probably Santi Quattro Coronati|
|Titulus SS Apostolorum||Santi Apostoli|
|Titulus Bizantis / Titulus Pammachi||Santi Giovanni e Paolo|
|Titulus Callisti / Titulus Julii||Santa Maria in Trastevere|
|Titulus S Ceciliae||Santa Cecilia in Trastevere|
|Titulus Clementis||San Clemente|
|Titulus Crescentianiae||Uncertain, probably San Sisto Vecchio|
|Titulus Crysogoni||San Crisogono|
|Titulus Cyriaci||Uncertain; theories include Santa Maria Antiqua, Santa Maria in Domnica or San Ciriaco (last is the present consensus)|
|Titulus Damasi||San Lorenzo in Damaso|
|Titulus Equitii||San Martino ai Monti|
|Titulus Eudoxiae||San Pietro in Vincoli|
|Titulus Eusebi||Sant'Eusebio all'Esquilino|
|Titulus Fasciolae||Uncertain, probably Santi Nereo e Achilleo|
|Titulus Gaii / Titulus Susannae||Santa Susanna, or San Caio in Via Porta Pia (or even two different tituli).|
|Titulus Iulii||See Titulus Callisti|
|Titulus Lucinae||San Lorenzo in Lucina|
|Titulus Marcelli||San Marcello al Corso|
|Titulus Marci||San Marco|
|Titulus Matthaei||San Matteo in Merulana, destroyed in 1810|
|Titulus Nicomedis||Uncertain; possibly Santi Marcellino e Pietro, or over the catacomb of St Nicomede on the Via Nomentana outside the Porta Pia (no trace of any church here, however).|
|Titulus Pammachi||See Titulus Bizantis|
|Titulus Praxedis||Santa Prassede|
|Titulus Priscae||Santa Prisca|
|Titulus Pudentiana||Santa Pudenziana|
|Titulus Romani||Very uncertain; perhaps the same as Titulus Cyriaci, or Santa Maria Antiqua|
|Titulus S Sabinae||Santa Sabina|
|Titulus S Susannae||See Titulus Gaii|
|Titulus Tigridis||Uncertain, perhaps Santa Balbina Vergine|
|Titulus Vestinae||San Vitale|