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Friday, March 25, 2011

Going "Down" to San Vitale - Today's Lenten Station Church

Today's Lenten station church is San Vitale.  St. Vitalis, for whom this church was named, was actually martyred in Ravenna by being tortured on the rack.  In addition to his martyrdom, the wife and children of St. Vitalis were also martyred.

The church itself is located on the Via Nazionale, but like so many of the early Roman ruins and edifices, it is below the current street level:


The church was originally built as an oratory in the 5th century, but eventually wound up in ruins before its renovation in the 15th century. 

One interesting bit of history concerning this church is that it was the titular church of St. John Fisher, the English martyr.  In 1535, St. John  was imprisoned by King Henry VIII in the tower of London for his refusal to sign the Oath of Succession.  This oath purported to give validity to Henry's divorce and subsequent remarriage.  Pope Clement VII named St. John Fisher a cardinal in the hope of saving him from death.  However, Henry famously remarked, that he would not permit the cardinal's hat to be sent to England, but would rather send St. John Fisher's head to Rome. 

St. John Fisher, St. Vitale ora pro nobis.

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Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!
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