This is St. Paul’s Outside the Walls, the church that marks the place where Paul was martyred, the place where Paul once for all triumphed over the temptations of the world and joyfully accepted martyrdom.
As was dictated by Roman Law, Paul was executed outside the city – a Roman citizen could only be executed by decapitation (not any of the torturous deaths the Romans inflicted on non-citizens, like crucifixion) and could not happen in the walls of the city. Hence the name of the church.
This stunning church has a huge interior courtyard that is walled in. You enter into this garden to a hushed world apart, where lush greenery abounds. It’s a staggering contrast to the mundane streets of modern Rome just outside the gate.
How like entering Heaven, when the veil of this world is pulled away a and we finally see God face to face. The transition from mundane to glorified – what a transition that will be.
It was rainy and overcast that day, but the rain had just stopped by the time we finish our long trek out to this church (we had walked from the catacombs). Dreary, wet, the outside walls of this church are literally just stone. If memory serves it was built before stained glass windows were popular.
We rounded the corner, and suddenly there’s this courtyard, two towering palm trees, carefully manicured hedges, and the stunning fresco on of Jesus enthroned with the evangelists below him cutting into the sky.
If this was the outside how incredible would the inside be.
I snapped the photo because I’ve never felt to scooped up by a church. While still outside, the messy world was put to the side and you know you’re entering a sacred area, and yet the church is still ahead. This gradual transition from the outside world to a courtyard, to the narthex, to the nave, to finally the apse. Each section was a transition to greater and greater sacred beauty, culminating in the recessed tomb of Paul, holding the relics of the chains he wore in captivity before his martyrdom.
I tell you, it’s so powerful.
Beautiful 11″x14″, 8″x10″, or 5″x7″ print with the option for a white mat frame of conservation quality attached to the prink with all archival, acid-free adhesives.
Printed on high quality 100% cotton paper on a 10-ink pigment based inkjet printer, this print is of archival quality and as such will not fade or deteriorate even 100 years later.
Shipped in a rigid cardboard mailer with cardboard backing. Sealed in plastic sleeve.