Rome, Italy: Church of Saint Paul at the Three Fountains: Sculpture of Decapitation of St. Paul

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May 20, 2017
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Church of Saint Paul at the Three Fountains , San Paolo alle Tre Fontane , Church of the Martyrdom of Saint Paul , Church of St. Paul the Apostle , Abbazia delle Tre Fontane , Abbey of the Three Fountains , Decapitation of St. Paul , Relief Sculptures|Saint Paul in Art
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Relief sculpture within the Church of St. Paul at the Three Fountains that depicts the beheading of St. Paul. Four miles outside the city of Rome, Italy is the Abbey of the Three Fountains, run by Cisterian monks belonging to the Trappist order. The complex contains three churches, of which 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 most sacred. This church was built on the site where Saint Paul was beheaded at Emperor Nero's order. It was on the basis of Paul's Roman citizenship that he appealed his trial in Judea for a decision by the emperor in Rome. As a Roman citizen, Saint Paul could not be executed within the city. 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 beheaded. The relief sculpture of white marble within a black marble molded frame was commissioned by Pope Pius IX for the 1867 restoration on the 18th centenary of Paul's martyrdom (67 CE).
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