Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Remains of the St Saba Monastery in Rome

According to the seventh century Syriac life of Maximus the Confessor, Pope Martin I (649-53; d. 655) had granted land for a monastery to Maximus after Palestine was overrun with Persian forces.  Since on the evidence of this Syriac life Maximus was himself a Palestinian monk, the most obvious deduction is that the Roman monastery which housed Maximus was none other St Saba, then, will have housed Greek-speaking monks from Palestine (like Maximus himself) as well, perhaps, as monks originally from Nisibis in Syria who came with him to Rome via Africa.  Some of the fabric of this seventh-century monastery may be seen in the walls of the present-day church of St Saba in Rome (seen here).  The monastery continued to be used until the tenth century when conflicts between Rome and Constantinople led to the monks to be thrown out and the building rebuilt as a church as it appears today.

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