Церковь Санта Мария Антикуа
Church of Santa Maria Antiqua
Ancient church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
During the reign of Pope John VII (705-707), the church was used by the Holy Father as bishop of Rome.
It was also a centre of Eastern-inspired piety in Rome.
The church was partially destroyed in 847. An eartquake undermined the imperial buildings overlooking the Forum, and the church was buried under rubble.
A new church, known as Santa Maria Nuova was built nearby as a replacement.
It was completely buried in 1084, during the fire started by the Normans whos sacked Rome that year.
A new church, Santa Maria Liberatice, was built on the site.
This was demolished in 1902 so that the older church could be uncovered.
The basilica was constructed in the 5th century in what was once a monumental approach to the imperial palaces on the Palatine.
There are a number of frescoes, some of which are well preserved.
Pope Martin I (649-655) had the Lateran Council's decisions recorded on the walls.
Some of them are known to have been ordered by Pope John VII (705-707), and other by Pope St Zacharias (741-752).
Below is a portrait of Pope Zacharius, the donor Theodotus, an official of the diaconia and Sts Quricus, Julitta, Peter and Paul flanking the Virgin and Child. The other paintings are damaged, but you can still make out some details. The painting of St Anne holding the Blessed Virgin in her arms, dated 649, can be identified from a Greek inscription, as can the painting of the Maccabees (also 649).