Rome: Church of St. Paul at the Three Fountains

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The Abbey of the Three Fountains, four miles outside of the city of Rome, is run by Cistercian monks belonging to the Trappist order. There are three churches at the site, of which the Church of Saint Paul at the Three Fountains (Church of the Martyrdom of Saint Paul; San Paolo alle Tre Fontane; Church of St. Paul the Apostle) is considered to be the most sacred. This church was built on the plot where, according to Christian tradition, Saint Paul was beheaded. The other two churches in the complex are the Benedictine Church of Saints Vincent and Anastasius, built in 626; and the 16th century Roman Catholic Church of Saint Maria Scala Coeli, where according to tradition, Saint Paul stopped to pray for the last time before he was beheaded. The legend is that Paul's head bounced three times and fountains sprang up at each spot; hence, the title of "Three Fountains." Actually, fountains already existed at the site when Paul was executed. Photographs were taken by Dr. Beth Sheppard in 2017 and metadata was contributed by Shelley Rogers.