A contemplative community in formation of the Institute of Saint Joseph
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Cardinal Burke's Titular Church: Sant'Agata dei Goti
Each Cardinal is assigned by the Holy Father a church in Rome when he is elevated to the Cardinalate. This is an ancient tradition and is a sign of the new Cardinal's incardination into the Diocese of Rome, as one of the chief collaborators of the Pope and one who is to the elector of the next Pope.
Two early churches were dedicated to her in Rome, notably the Church of Sant'Agata dei Goti in via Mazzarino, a titular church with apse mosaics of ca. 460 and traces of a fresco cycle, overpainted by Gismondo Cerrini in 1630. In the 6th century the church was adapted to Arian Christianity, hence its name "Saint Agatha of the Goths", and later reconsecrated by Gregory the Great, who confirmed her traditional sainthood. She was given to Aphrodisia, the keeper of a brothel, and her nine daughters, but in response to their threats and entreaties to sacrifice to the idols and submit to Quintianus, she responded
My courage and my thought be so firmly founded upon the firm stone of Jesus Christ, that for no pain it may not be changed; your words be but wind, your promises be but rain, and your menaces be as rivers that pass, and how well that all these things hurtle at the foundement of my courage, yet for that it shall not move. Among the tortures she underwent was the cutting off of her breasts. An apparition of Saint Peter cured her.
After further dramatic confrontations with Quintianus, represented in a sequence of dialogues in her passio that document her fortitude and steadfast devotion, her scorned admirer eventually sentenced her to death by being rolled naked on a bed of live coals, "and anon the ground where the holy virgin was rolled on, began to tremble like an earthquake, and a part of the wall fell down upon Silvain, counsellor of Quintianus, and upon Fastion his friend, by whose counsel she had been so tormented."
Saint Agatha died in prison, according to the Legenda Aurea in "the year of our Lord two hundred and fifty-three in the time of Decius, the emperor of Rome."
text: from "Agatha of Sicily", Wikipedia photos: St. Agatha,http//bishopalan.blogspot.com