Sunday, January 26, 2014

Santi Luca e Martina, Rome

Between the Roman Forum and the Capitoline Hill is Santi Luca e Martina, a seventh century church that was rebuilt from 1635 to 1664 by Pietro da Cortona. The original church was dedicated to Saint Martina. In the late 1500s the pope traded it with the Academy of St. Luke, a group of painters, sculptors, and architects (St. Luke is patron of painters), who had a church in the Piazza S. Maria Maggiore. The pope wanted to expand the piazza so the academy moved to St. Martina. When they redid the church under Cortona they added St. Luke to the name.

Santi Luca e Martina

The interior is not large but is quite ornate. Plenty of sculptures and paintings adorn the church as well as a nice life-size statue of the martyred Saint Martina by the main altar.



Detail over the main altar

Unidentified statue

Main altar

St. Martina, who might fall out on the baby Jesus!

Since we visited over Christmas and New Year's, naturally there was a nativity set up.


In the middle of the floor was a grating which made us wonder what was downstairs. Soon, we found a staircase leading into the crypt, where the remains of Saint Martina are buried in a small chapel.

What's down there?

View from below

One of the downstairs statues

Chapel of St. Martina

Who was Saint Martina?

Martina was the daughter of an ex-consul. Her parents died while she was young. She openly professed her faith and was subsequently arrested and tortured during the reign of Emperor Alexander Severus. She was beheaded in 228. Her feast day is January 30.

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