THE QUEEN OF ALL CATACOMBS

The catacomb of Priscilla, known in all ancient topographical and liturgical documents, opens on Via Salaria with entrance to the convent of the Benedictine Sisters of Priscilla. Due to the number of martyrs buried here, this cemetery was called in latin “regina catacombarum”, so the queen of all catacombs in Rome.

Excavated between the second and fifth centuries, it begins with pre-existing hypogeal environments, of which the main ones are a sandstone, a cryptoporticus and the hypogeum with the tombs of the Acili Glabrioni. The donor of the land belongs to this family, the noblewoman Priscilla, whose memory occurs on January 16 in the Roman Martyrology, which indicates her as benefactress of the Christian community of Rome. This cemetery, lost like so many others due to the concealment of the entrances to protect against looting, was one of the first to be found in the sixteenth century and therefore abundantly robbed of tombstones, sarcophagi, tuff and the bodies of alleged martyrs.

It preserves particularly beautiful and significant paintings: the visit includes the main of these.

m the Old or New Testament are depicted, which express faith in the salvation and resurrection obtained for us by Jesus. Symbols are also frequent on tombstones, meaningful for Christians and incomprehensible to pagans. : the best known is the fish, which hides the five words “Jesus Christ Son of God the Savior” through the initials of the five Greek letters that make up the word “ICTUS”, fish.