Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Rome in Rome
Santi Giovanni e Paolo is an ancient basilica church in Rome, located on the Celian Hill. It is also called Santi Giovanni e Paolo al Celio or referred to as SS Giovanni e Paolo.
The church was built in 398, by will of senator Pammachius, over the home of two Roman soldiers, John and Paul, martyred under Julian in 362. The church was thus called the Titulus Pammachii and is recorded as such in the acts of the synod held by Pope Symmachus in 499.
The church was damaged during the sack by Alaric I (410) and because of an earthquake (442), restored by Pope Paschal I (824), sacked again by the Normans (1084), and again restored, with the addition of a monastery and a bell tower.
It is home to the Passionists and is the burial place of St. Paul of the Cross. Additionally, it is the station church of the first Friday in Lent.
The inside has three naves, with pillars joined to the original columns. The altar is built over a bath, which holds the remains of the two martyrs.The apse is frescoed with Christ in Glory (1588) by Cristoforo Roncalli (one of the painters called il Pomarancio) ; while below are three paintings: Martyrdom of Saint John, Martyrdom of Saint Paul, and the Conversion of Terenziano (1726) by Domenico Piastrini, Giacomo Triga, and Pietro Andrea Barbieri respectively. The sacristy features a canvas by Antoniazzo Romano of the Madonna & Child with Saints John the Evangelist & John the Baptist, and Saints Jerome & Paul. Below the nave, thus under the church, some ancient Roman rooms, dating back to the 1st-4th century, were found during 19th century excavations. According to the writer Charlotte Anne Eaton, these rooms were dens that were part of a vivarium in which wild animals were kept before being used in entertainments held at the Colosseum. A low vaulted passage connected this vivarium with the Colosseum.
The Cardinal Priest of the Titulus Ss. Ioannis et Pauli is Edward Egan. Among previous Cardinal Priests of this Title are 2 who became Pope: Pope Honorius III (Cencio Savelli, elevated to cardinal in 1198) and Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli, elevated to cardinal in 1929). Since Francis Spellman became the next Cardinal Priest of the titulus in 1946 (after it had been vacated by Pacelli's election to the papacy in 1939), it has been held by cardinals who were Archbishops of New York.