Rome, Italy: Church of Saint Paul at the Three Fountains: Two Other Churches 2

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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 , Church of Saint Vincent and Saint Anastasius , Santa Maria Scala Coeli , Church of Saint Maria Scala Coeli , Palm Trees , Ionic Columns , Stairway to Heaven
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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. As a Roman citizen, Saint Paul could not be executed within the city. The other two churches in the complex are the earliest one (on the left in the photograph): the Benedictine Church of Saint Vincent and Saint Anastasius, built in 626; and (on the right in the photograph): the 16th century Roman Catholic Church of Saint Maria Scala Coeli, where 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 beheaded. The Benedictine church is built in the Roman style and has a severe, unadorned interior. The tetrastyle portico has marble columns with Ionic capitals and a roof that extends along the entire length of the church's three naves. The plants within the complex have symbolic meanings. Palm trees in this central courtyard are symbolic of martyrdom; palms are not native to Italy. Laurel trees line the road to the Church of the Martyrdom of St. Paul. In Christianity, laurels symbolize Christ's resurrection and the triumph of humanity. On the right of the photograph is the entrance to the Church of Saint Maria Scala Coeli. The church got its name because on this spot in 1138, San Bernardo was celebrating mass and had a vision of a staircase in which angels were leading souls from Purgatory to Heaven; "Scala Coeli" is Latin for "Stairway to Heaven."
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CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
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