San Lorenzo in Lucina
This is the third station church yet which is dedicated to our friend Saint Lawrence the deacon. Lucina and Panisperna (Thursday, first week) we've seen, and last Sunday's station church was the basilica of Saint Lawrence outside the Walls. Next week we'll go to a fourth church named after him. This dude was popular back in his day!
The name Lucina comes from the Roman landowner and donor of the property for this church. Lucina lived in her large apartment on this spot during the early Imperial period, which at the time was located nearby the famous Ara Pacis.
The Ara Pacis Augustae was a monument commissioned by the Roman senate in 13 BC to honor the return of Augustus to Rome after three years of conquest in Hispaniola and Gaul. Four years later in 9 BC it was consecrated by the Roman senate to celebrate the peace that Augustus brought to the Roman Empire with his military victories. It stood, however, in the flood plain of the Tiber river (though originally it was guarded from this by a wall), and over the centuries the Ara was buried under about 15 feet of silt. It was rediscovered in the 20th century and relocated a few blocks north, still in pristine condition; it has its own museum now where you can go and see it.
But back to St. Lawrence. The first basilica on this site was built by Pope Sixtus III in the mid 430s. That church stood until 1084 when it, too, (like San Clemente which we saw Monday last week) suffered fire damage from the Norman invasion of the city. The restored church was dedicated by Pope Anacletus II in 1130. The nave was originally flanked on either side by aisles, but during the 17th century these were both converted into four side chapels a piece which opened to the nave. Blessed Pope Pius IX did some more renovating in the mid 19th century to bring the church to the look that we have today.
This last photo is of the altar in the first side chapel on the right, when you enter this church. Inside that box is part of the gridiron on which St. Lawrence was grilled. St. Lawrence, pray for us!