The earliest record of this Basilica of the Holy Apostles dates to the time of Julius I, mid-fourth century. Around 570, Pope John III dedicated the Basilica to the Apostles when the relics of Ss. Philip and James the Lesser were placed beneath the high altar. Home to the Franciscans who care for the Basilica, you can see evidence of the their spirituality, when the Basilica was renovated through the years.
The Basilica is dazzling when the chandeliers are on. Something you only see when there is a public Mass held in the Church. A splendid array of light reminding one that Christ is the true Light of this World. In December, the Franciscan hold a Novena in honor of the Immaculate Conception. We were able to attend a few of these evening celebrations. Behind the high altar is a masterpiece depiction of the martyrdom of St. Philip, however, during the Novena of the Immaculate Conception, this painting is covered with a beautiful illuminated image of Our Lady. The novena consists of a special Holy Hour, homily on an advent theme, concluded with the celebration of Mass each night before the feast.
|High Altar, during the Novena of the Immaculate Conception|
If you get the chance to visit Rome, don't miss the opportunity to visit the tombs of St. Philip and St. James.