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Santa Cecilia in Trastevere

The church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere was one of several Roman churches built or rebuilt, decorated, furnished and enriched with relics under Pope Paschal I (817-824). The apse mosaic uses a formula already established in the Roman church of Santi Cosma e Damiano (Sts. Cosmas and Damian) under Pope Felix IV (526-30): Christ stands in glory among the clouds; he is flanked by Sts. Peter and Paul who present the patron saint of the church, other martyrs and the patron of the building. Typically, there are palm trees behind them – with a phoenix in one, a procession of lambs coming from city gates – usually associated with Bethlehem and Jerusalem – below, and a metrical inscription. Paschal I was said to have been inspired by a dream of the martyr, St. Cecilia, to locate and recover her body – and those of other martyrs – from the catacombs and enshrine them in the church dedicated to her. Bibliography -Goodson, Caroline J. (2010). The Rome of Pope Paschal I: Papal Power, Urban Renovation, Church Rebuilding and Relic Translation, 817-824. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. -Speiser, Jean Michel (1998). “The Representation of Christ in the Apses of Early Christian Churches,” Gesta 37: 63-73.