Santo Stefano, Bologna


  The church of the Crucifix (Santa Croce) was originally dedicated to John the Baptist, which suggests it functioned as a baptistery. The Jerusalem Holy Sepulchre church had a baptistery dedicated to John in a similar location - see the plans below. The Jerusalem chapel is shaded. 
  The change of name came with a change of function. Originally the chapel now known as the martyrium or chapel of the Trinity (see plan on the previous page) represented Golgotha, but later the space we are now in took on that role, possibly when the presbytery was redesigned in  the seventeenth century. 



  The photograph below shows the raised presbytery, suggestive of the Calvary chapels at Jerusalem. The 14th century crucifix is attributed to Simone dei Crocefissi.

The crypt beneath the presbytery is divided into five naves. The relics of SS. Vitale and  Agricola can be found here.

  We now head through a side door into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the building with the most powerful echoes of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Here too there are twelve columns, representing the apostles. The aedicule here, containing the relics of St Petronius, is set off centre. Originally it was a match for the Jerusalem aedicule, but it has been changed over the years, with the addition of an ambo to the side and a representation of Calvary on the top. A free-standing column is claimed to be (or represents) the column of the flagellation. 

  Now on to what is for me the most atmospheric of the all the churches. 

Santo Stefano page 3

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