Today’s main destination was San Clemente, one of the oldest churches in Rome. The current 12th century church was built over the original 4th century church, which was build over the Temple of Mithras, an all-male fertility cult from Persia and rival to Christianity in the 1st century. (No photography allowed inside.)
Another highlight of the day was the cloister of San Giovanni in Laterano, which I remember visiting when I came to Rome in 1957. I’ve been attracted to cloisters every since – definitely my favorite part of a church.
The surprise of the day, however, was at Santa Maria Maggiore. Along with San Giovanni in Laterano (and St. Peter’s), Santa Maria Maggiore is one of those enormous churches that have been decorated and redecorated over the years, offering more of a history lesson that anything spiritual, and displaying more about church fathers than about God. But today I came upon the rehearsal of an upcoming concert, with a full orchestra, a small singing group, and a tenor soloist. I wasn’t familiar with the music, and I knew nothing about the musicians; there were NO billboards advertising the event, and I couldn’t find anything on line. (If anyone has better luck, please leave me a message.)
Anyway I enjoyed a free concert and a little rest before walking ‘home’.