Santa Bibiana

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Santa Bibiana in an ancient church dedicated to St Bibiana, a 4th century virgin and martyr. The church was Bernini's first church commission.


The first church was built by Pope Simplicius (468-483) and consecrated in 467. A building beneath it, from the 4th century, may have been used as a chapel. The site originally belonged to St Bibiana's family, and it is built above her grave; according to legend a chapel was built here by the matron Olimpina, a Christian relative of Bibiana, soon after the martyr's death in 361-363.

It was restored by Pope Honorius III in 1224. At the same time, a convent was built adjacent to the church. This has since been abandoned.

The recovery of the body of the martyr under the altar on the 2nd March, 1624, obliged, in view of the Holy Year, the radical restoration financed by Urban VIII, who wanted to give the little church, which was then isolated by the urban setting, a new facade. The present church is the result of that 17th century rebuilding, when Gian Lorenzo Bernini turned it into a Baroque church in the years 1624-1626. This was his first architectural work.

The church was consecrated after the transfer of the reliquaries on the l4th November, 1626.

Related Links: from Roman Churches Wiki
from Wikipedia

Location: 41° 53' 43"N 12° 30' 33"E

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