Saturday, July 25, 2015

Calvary Niche

Calvary Niche, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Bologna
Calvary Niche, Church of the Holy Sepulchre (5th century)
Basilica di Santo Stefano, Piazza Santo Stefano
Bologna, June 2015

“A low door on the left wall of this church leads into the next – the Holy Sepulchre. This cylindrical edifice, like a tall grain silo, is the site of a Roman temple of Isis that was the first sacred building on the site. One of the Roman columns still stands, a slim marble rod jammed up against a stouter brick-built neighbour. In the middle of the space stands a 1000-year-old mausoleum – a building within a building. It is an exact copy of the tomb of Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, or it would be exact if it had not been altered and amended down the centuries. This is the resting-place of Petronius, 5th-century bishop of Bologna and now the city’s patron saint. At the bottom of the structure, like the grate in a fireplace, is a barred window, through which you peer to see the grave of Petronius.”
(A House of Many Mansions, Bologna for Connoisseurs)

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