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The Chapel of the Medical Saints

Plan view of Santa Maria Antiqua with the position of the Chapel of the Medical Saints

The Chapel of the Medical Saints can be identified as the diaconicon of the Church of Santa Maria Antiqua, one of the service rooms adjoining the presbytery, as typical in Byzantine churches.

 

It is delimited by high walls and it receives an indirect and diffuse illumination from a single large window placed on its northern side which contributes to the suave atmosphere of this space. The name of the chapel is referred to the wall paintings which date to Pope John VII (705-707) depicting large portraits of anargyroi saints or healers who don’t accept money. Thanks to the presence of these portraits, according to a recent study the chapel was used by sick people wanting to be healed which meditated in it during night time.Chapel of the Medical Saints. General view after restoration

On the walls, plaster and other elements that document the decoration of this space during pagan times have survived; while a gemmed cross painted directly on the bricks placed on the lower portion of the western wall, seems to testify the use of this chapel even after the abandonment of the church in 847 A.D.

 

The chapel was restored through funds donated by the World Monuments Fund ® Robert W. Wilson Challenge to Preserve Our Heritage.