Rome - Table of Contents .............. Architecture Around the World

2002 photos
Basilica of San Clemente
(St. Clement)
Via Labicana, Rome, Italy

Basilica di San Clemente - Official Website

Basilica di San Clemente (Basilica of St. Clement) is an early Christian basilica in Rome dedicated to Pope St. Clement (d. 99 AD).

The church has a beautiful interior, but it is especially notable for its three historical layers. The 12th-century basilica is built on top of a well-preserved 4th-century church (with many frescoes), which was built next to a 3rd-century Mithraic Temple.

This ancient church was transformed over the centuries from a private home and site of clandestine Christian worship in the first century to a grand public basilica by the 6th century, reflecting the emerging Roman Catholic Church's growing legitimacy and power.\

- Sacred Destinations (1/2011)
Arcaded entrance

Courtyard: Bell tower ......  Pediment ...... Pilasters   ...... Scrolled buttresses

Entablature ..... Keystone ..... Pilaster

Ionic capital with volutes ..... Egg-and-dart molding..... Bead-and-ree moldingl
Note the smooth Roman shaft (vs. fluted Greek shafts)

Volutes    ..... Lotus(?) leaves ..... Fleur-de-lis in center

View towards the apse

The gilded ceiling is from the 18th century

Romanesque Ionic arcade

Beneath the high altar are the tombs of St Clement (moved here in 867), St Flavius Clement (Roman consul and martyr) and St Ignatius of Alexandria (believed to have been thrown to the beasts in the Colosseum).

Behind the altar is an ancient throne. The back was once part of the tomb of a martyr - the word MARTYR is inscribed on it.

12th Century "Crucifixion," apse mosaic with inhabited vine scroll as allegory of the Church


The historical Pope St. Clement, to whom the church is dedicated, was the third successor of St. Peter in the See of Rome, and the author of a famous letter to the Corinthians (96 A.D.).

According to legend, St. Clement was banished by Trajan (98-117) to the Crimean mines, where he converted so many soldiers and fellow prisoners that the Romans tied an anchor to his neck and threw him into the Black Sea. Rescued by angels and conveyed to an underwater tomb, the saint was revealed to believers once every year by a miraculous ebbing of the tides.




Inlaid marble floor

See also:  San Clemente: A Journey Backwards In Time (Online March 2013)

Photos and their arrangement 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
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