Skip to content

Roman Catacombs

This subject will be treated under seven heads:

I. Position;
II. History;
III. Inscriptions;
IV. Paintings;
V. Sarcophagi;
VI. Small Objects Found in the Catacombs;
VII. Catacombs outside Rome.

I. POSITION

The soil on which the city of Rome is built, as well as that of the surrounding district, is of volcanic origin; alluvial deposits are found only on the right bank of the Tiber, on the downward course of the stream, below the Vatican. Wherever the volcanic deposits occur three strata appear, one above the other: the uppermost is the so-called pozzolano , earth from which the Romans, by an admixture of lime, prepared their excellent cement; next is a stratum of tufa, made up half of earth and half of stone; the lowest stratum is composed of stone. From the earliest times the lowest layer was worked as a stone quarry, and, both in the lowest and uppermost strata, irregularly hewn galleries are discovered everywhere, as in the Capitoline Hill and in the suburbs of the city.

It was formerly believed that the early Christians used these galleries as places of burial for their dead. But all the catacombs are laid out in the middle stratum of tufa, from which no building-material was obtained. It is only necessary to compare the irregular galleries of the sand-pits and stone-quarries with the narrow straight passages and vertical walls of the catacombs in order to recognize the difference. In some cases an arenaria , or sand-pit, forms the starting-point for the laying out of a catacomb; in other spots the catacombs are connected by a gallery with the arenariae so that entrance could be gained into the Christian city of the dead, in times of persecution, without exciting notice. The catacombs are, therefore, entirely of Christian construction. As a rule a stairway leads below the surface to a depth of from thirty-three to forty-nine feet or even more; from this point diverge the galleries, which are from ten to thirteen feet in height, and seldom broader than would be necessary for two grave-diggers, one behind the other, to carry a bier. Side galleries branch off from the main galleries, intersecting other passages. From this level or story steps lead to lower levels where there is a second network of galleries; there are catacombs which have three or even four stories, as, for example, the Catacomb of St. Sebastian. The labyrinth of galleries is incalculable. It has been asserted that if placed in a straight line they would extend the length of Italy. Along the passages burial chambers ( cubicula ) open to the right and left, also hewn out of the tufa rock. In the side walls of the galleries horizontal tiers of graves rise from the floor to the ceiling; the number of graves in the Roman catacombs is estimated at two millions. The graves, or loculi , are cut out of the rock sides of the gallery, so that the length of the bodies can be judged from the length of the graves. When the body, wrapped in cloth, without a sarcophagus, was laid in the spot excavated for it, the excavation was closed by a marble slab or sometimes by large tiles set in mortar. For the wealthy and for martyrs there were also more imposing graves, known as arcosolia . An arcosolium was a space excavated in the wall above which a semicircular recess was hewn out, in which a sarcophagus was sometimes placed; in the excavation below, the body was laid and covered with a flat marble slab. It was not common to bury the dead beneath the floor of the passages or burial chambers. At the present day the majority of the graves are found open, the slabs which once sealed them having vanished; often nothing remains of the ashes and bones. The rock and broken material loosened by the constant digging in the innumerable passages were piled up in the sand-pits nearby, or brought to the surface in baskets, or were heaped up in the passages which were no longer visited because the families of the dead had passed away. In order to obtain light, and above all fresh air, shafts called luminaria , somewhat like chimneys, were cut through the soil to the surface of the ground. These luminaria , however, are seldom found before the fourth century, when the great numbers of the faithful who attended religious services in the catacombs on the feast days of the martyrs rendered such precautions for health a necessity. At this date also wider and easier stairways were made, leading from the surface of the ground into the depths below.

The early Christian name for these places of burial was koimeterion , coemeterium , place of rest. When, in the Middle Ages, the recollection of the catacombs passed away, the monks attached to the church of St. Sebastian on the Via Appia kept the coemeterium ad catacumbas on this road accessible for pilgrims. After the rediscovery and opening of the other coemeteria , the name belonging to this one coemeterium was applied to all. The catacombs awaken astonishment on account of the remarkable work of construction which, in the course of three hundred years, the piety of the early Christians and their love for the dead produced. In estimating the enormous sum of money required for the catacombs, it must also be taken into consideration that the early Christians, by voluntary contributions, supported the clergy, aided the poor, widows, and orphans, assisted those sent to prison or the mines on account of their faith, and bought from the executioners at a large price the bodies of the martyrs.

II. HISTORY

The Romans cremated their dead and deposited the ashes in a family tomb ( sepulcrum, memoria ), or in a vault or common sepulchre ( columbarium ); but the Jews living in Rome retained their native method of burial, and imitated the rock-graves of Palestine by laying out cemeteries in the stone-like stratum of tufa around Rome. In this manner Jewish catacombs were laid out and developed before Christianity appeared in Rome. Connected with the two chief Jewish colonies, one in the quarter of the city across the Tiber, and the other by the Porta Capena, were two large Jewish catacombs, one on the Via Portuensis and one on the Via Appia, as well as some smaller ones; all are recognizable by the seven-branched candlestick, which repeatedly appears on gravestones and lamps.

Until after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus (A.D. 70) the Christians were regarded as a sect of the Jews ; hence those Jews who were converted by the Apostles at Rome were buried in the catacombs of their fellow-countrymen. The question arises as to where those converted from heathenism by the Apostles found their last resting-place. It is a fact to which Tacitus, Suetonius, Dio Cassius, and other pagan historians bear witness, that as early as the days of the Apostles members of the higher and of even of the highest ranks of the nobility had become Christians. These converts of rank from heathenism had their own tombs, and permitted their brethren in the Faith to construct, in connection with these family tombs, places of burial modelled on the Jewish catacombs. This is the origin of the Christian catacombs. The catacombs of the Apostolic Era are: on the Via Ardeatina, the catacomb of Domitilla, niece of the Emperor Domitian and a member of the Flavian family ; on the Via Salaria, that of Priscilla, who was probably the wife of the Consul Acilius Glabrio ; on the Via Appia, that of Lucina, a member of the Pomponian family ; on the Via Ostiensis, that of Commodilla, connected with the grave of St. Paul. At a later date other catacombs were constructed, nearly all of them having their origin in a family vault; among them are those of Caecelia, Prætextatus, Hermes, etc., which still bear the names of their founders. Again, the grave of a venerated martyr would be another nucleus of a catacomb, e.g. that of St. Laurence, St. Valentine, or St. Castulus; such a coemeterium would bear the name of the martyr. Coemeteria occasionally owed their names to some external feature as the one ad duas lauros (the two laurel trees); this title is still added to the names of the two martyrs, Peter and Marcellinus, resting there. Thus in the course of three hundred years some fifty catacombs, large and small, formed a wide circle around the city, the majority being about half an hour's walk from the city gate.

The question, however, arises as to whether the Christians were able to construct these subterranean cemeteries without molestation from the heathens. Undoubtedly the Romans had knowledge of the spots where the Christians buried their dead; but according to old laws every spot where a body lay was under the protection of Roman law and custom that guaranteed the inviolability of burial places. It is true that the Emperors Decius and Diocletian, at a later date, declared the ground covering the catacombs to be the property of the State, thus making it impossible to enter the catacombs by the ordinary ways. But the successors of Decius and Diocletian repealed these laws as contrary to the entire spirit of the Roman State. Even though the Christians felt themselves secure in the catacombs, yet the laying out of the galleries, the burying of the bodies, the odour of decay, and the pestilential air in summer, made the lives of the fossores , or excavators, one of the greatest self-sacrifice, while visiting the graves of the departed became much more difficult for the surviving members of families. Therefore, after the Emperor Constantine had granted freedom to the Church, and had set an example for the erection of churches and chapels over the graves of martyrs by building a basilica over the burial-place of St. Peter and Paul, it became customary to lay out cemeteries above ground, preferably in the neighbourhood of such holy spots. At the same time, however, burial in the catacombs did not fall into disuse, especially as the piety of the popes and the faithful of the fourth century led to the adorning of the resting-places of the early martyrs with marbles, paintings, and inscriptions (see DAMASUS, SAINT, POPE). Furthermore, by enlarging the burial chambers, by opening shafts for light, and by the construction of broader stairways, access was made easier for the faithful of Rome and for pilgrims. Just as, in the course of the fourth century, the veneration of the martyrs, especially at their graves and on the anniversaries of their death, became more widespread, so the confidence in their intercession found its expression in the endeavour to secure burial in the vicinity of a martyr's tomb.

Then came that year of misfortune, 410, when the Goths laid siege to Rome for months, devastated the surrounding country, and plundered the city itself. This naturally put an end to burial in the catacombs. In the following centuries Goths, Vandals, and Lombards repeatedly besieged and plundered Rome ; plague and pestilence depopulated the region around the city; both the churches over the graves of the martyrs and the catacombs sank into decay, and shepherds of the campagna even turned the deserted sanctuaries into sheepfolds. For this reason Pope Paul I (757-67) began to transfer the remains of the martyrs to the churches of the city; the work was continued by Paschal I (817-24) and Leo IV (847-55). As a result the catacombs lost their attraction for the faithful, and by the twelfth century they were completely forgotten.

In 1578 a catacomb on the Via Salaria was accidentally rediscovered. It was not, however, until the publication in 1632, after the author's death, of the "Roma Sotteranea" of Antonio Bosio, that attention was once more called to the catacombs. For nearly forty years, from the year 1593, Antonio Bosio had devoted himself to finding and exploring the early Christian cemeteries . The real "Columbus of the catacombs", however, is Giovanni Battista de Rossi . De Rossi's labours and publications have led to the wide diffusion of a knowledge of archaeology and an increased veneration for the catacombs. Among his works are: "Roma Sotterranea" in three volumes; "Inscriptiones christianae" in two volumes, and numerous scattered pamphlets and articles; he also founded and edited the "Bullettino de archeologia christiana" (since 1863). The Holy See gives between three and four thousand dollars (18,000 lire) annually for the work in the catacombs, and the excavations are superintended by a special commission (see ARCHAEOLOGY, THE COMMISSION OF SACRED). De Rossi died 20 September, 1894, after devoting nearly fifty years, from his earliest youth, to the exploration of the catacombs and the study of Christian antiquity. His work was and is carried on by his pupils, among them Armellini, Stevenson, Marucchi, Wilpert, and others. The publications annually issued by Catholic and non-Catholic investigators bear witness to the self-sacrificing zeal and devotion as well as to the sound scholarship with which the science of Christian antiquities ispursued. In addition to this the Collegium Cultorum Martyrum , by holding religious services followed by popular addresses on the feast days of the martyrs, in the various catacombs, endeavours to stimulate the reverence of Romans and strangers for these noble memorials of the Early Church and to diffuse the knowledge of them. In all quarters the example of Rome acted as a stimulus to the study of Christian antiquity and led to exploration and excavations; unexpected treasures of the first Christian centuries have been rescued from oblivion in other parts of Italy, in France, Illyria, Greece, North Africa, Egypt, Palestine, and Asia Minor.

At Rome, during the last half-century, excavations were undertaken in the following catacombs on the outskirts of the city; the catacombs of Thecla and Commodilla on the Via Ostiensis ; the catacomb of Domitilla on the Via Ardeatina; those of Callistus, Praetextatus, and Sebastian on the Via Appia; Sts. Peter and Marcellinus on the Via Labicana; Laurentius and Hippolytus on the Via Tiburtina; Nicomedes, St. Agnes, and the coemeterium majus on the Via Nomentana; Felicitas, Thraso, and Priscilla on the Via Salaria Nova; Hermes on the Via Salaria Vetus; Valentinus on the Via Flaminia. On the right bank of the Tiber the catacombs explored were those of Pontianus and Generosa on the Via Portuensis. The most thorough explorations were carried out in the catacombs of Callistus, Domitilla, and Priscilla. In a large number of cases the graves of the martyrs mentioned in the old authorities (martyrologies, itineraries, the "Liber pontificalis", and the legendary accounts of the martyrs ) were rediscovered. At the same time there was dug up a treasure, valuable beyond expectation, of early Christian epitaphs and paintings, which gave much unlooked-for information concerning the faith of the early Christians, their concepts of life, hopes of eternity, family relations, and many other matters.

III. INSCRIPTIONS

Although thousands of inscriptions on the graves of the early Christians have been lost, and many more contain nothing of importance, there is still a valuable remainder that yields more information than any other source concerning the first Christian centuries. That Christianity as early as the days of the Apostles found entrance into distinguished families of the Eternal City, and that, as time went on, it gradually won over the nobility of Rome is evident from the epitaphs containing the titles clarissimi, clarissimae (of senatorial rank), as well as from epitaphs in which appear the names of noted clans ( gentes ). The change wrought by Christianity in the social relations of master and slave is plain from the exceedingly small number of inscriptions containing the words servus (slave), or libertus (freedman), words which are constantly seen on pagan gravestones; the often recurring expression alumnus (foster-child) characterizes the new relation between the owner and the owned. Many of the epitaphs give eloquent voice to the love of married couples, dwelling on the fact that man and wife had lived chastely ( virginius, virginia ) before entering the married state, on the virtues of the dead companion and the faithfulness to the departed observed through long years of solitary life in order that, lying side by side in the same grave, they might rise together at the Resurrection. Others record the love of parents for a dead child and conversely. Reference to the virgin state, which seldom appears in heathen epitaphs, is often met with in the Christian inscriptions ; from the fourth century on mention is made of a virginity specially dedicated to God, virgo Deo dicata, famula Dei . Besides allusions in the inscriptions to the various ecclesiastical ranks of bishop, priest, deacon, lector, and excavator ( fossor ), there are references to physicians, bakers, smiths, and joiners, often with emblems of the respective instruments. Especially interesting are inscriptions which throw light on the religious coneptions of the time, which speak not only of the hope of eternity, but also of the means of grace on which that hope rests- above all, of the faith in the one God, and Christ, his Son. They also dwell on membership in the Church through baptism, and on the relations with the dead through prayer. Naturally, the older the epitaphs referring to dogma the greater their importance.

Next comes the question as to how the age of an inscription can be ascertained. In the first place the inscriptions are limited to the first four centuries of the Christian Era, since, after the invasion of the Goths (410), burial in the catacombs occurred only in isolated incidences and soon ceased altogether. The later Roman inscriptions and all the inscriptions of Gaul, Africa, and the Orient, however such additional information they may give in regard to dogma, cannot here be taken into consideration. The most natural and certain method of determining the age of an inscription, i.e. through the reference it usually contains to the annual consul, can scarcely be used a dozen times in the epitaphs of the first two centuries. There are, however, many auxiliary means of determining the question, as: the names, the form of the letters, the style, the place of discovery, the pictorial emblems (varying from the anchor and the fish to the monogram of Christ ); these permit, with a reasonable degree of certainty, the assignment of inscriptions to the fourth century, to the time before Constantine, to the beginning of the third or the end of the second century, or even to an earlier period. The Roman gravestones of the first four centuries furnish numerous proofs not only for the fundamental dogmas of the Catholic Church but also for a large additional number of its doctrines and usages, so that the epitaphs could be employed to illustrate and enforce nearly every page of a modern Catholic catechism. Some inscriptions are here given as examples.

Catacomb of Callistus, second century (text somewhat restored):


PHRONTON epoiesen SEPTIMIOS PRAItextATOS kAIKilianos
O LOYLOS TOY theoY AXIOS BIOsas
OY METENOESA KAN ODE SOI YPERSTESA
KAI EYKArisTESO TO ONOMATI SOY PAredoke
TEN psYCHen TO THEO TRIANTA TRIOn eton
. . . . . EX MENON PETEILos . . . laMPRotatos
ETon . . . paredOKE ten psychen to theo
PRo . . . septEMBRION

This inscription was found in a fragmentary condition along with other inscriptions of the Caecilian family, near the grave of St. Cecilia. Phronton made the grave. The epitaph mentions two dead, Septimius Praetextatus Caecilianus and Petilius, the latter with the additional statement Lamprotatos , clarissimus , signifying one of senatorial rank. Septimius is called a "servant of God " and is then represented as speaking: "If I have lived virtuously I have not repented of it and if I have served Thee [O Lord] I will give thanks to Thy Name." He "gave up his soul to God " at the age of thirty-three years and six months. The same expression, "he gave up his soul to God ", is used for Petilius, the date of whose death is given as before 1 September.

Catacomb of Domitilla, second century:


C. IVLIA. AGRIPPINA
SIMPLICI. DVLCIS IN
ÆTERNUM

"Sweet Simplicius, live in eternity " is the wish which Caia Julia Agrippina, whose aristocratic name indicates a very early imperial date, sends after the departed.

Catacomb of Domitilla, third century:


. . . . SPIRITVS
TVVS IN REFRIGERIO

The beginning of the inscription, containing the name, has disappeared. "May thy spirit be in refreshment". The very ancient prayer in the Canon of the Mass entreats for the dead locum refrigerii, lucis et pacis (a place of refreshment, light, and peace).

Catacomb of Pontianus, beginning of the fourth century:


EVTYCHIANO FILIO DVLCISSIMO
EVTYCHIUS PATER [ Chi-Rho symbol ] V.A.I.M.
II.D IIII DEI SERVS ICHTHYS

i.e. "Eutychius, the father [has erected] the gravestone to his sweetest little son, Eutychianus. The child who lived one year, two months, and four days the servant of God." The Greek monogram of the name of Christ Chi-Rho , and the "ICHTHYS" scratched on the gravestone, shows that the child had, through baptism, died a Christian and had been received into heaven by " Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour". (See ANIMALS IN CHRISTIAN ART.)

Catacomb of Priscilla, third century (in verse):


VOS PRECOR O FRATRES. ORARE. HVC QVANDO VENITIS
ET PRECIBVS. TOTIS. PATREM. NATVMQVE ROGATIS
SIT. VESTRÆ. MENTIS. AGAPES. CARÆ. MEMINISSE
VT DEVS. OMNIPOTENS. AGAPEN IN SÆCVLA SERVET

i.e. "I beg you, brethren, whenever ye come hither [to the service of God ] and call in united prayer on the Father and the Son, that ye remember to think on your loved Agape, that Almighty God may preserve Agape in eternity." A second, fragmentary, piece of the inscription recalls the sentence of death pronounced in Paradise, de terra sumptus terrae traderis (thou wast taken from the earth and unto the earth shalt thou return). Agape lived twenty-seven years; so had it been appointed to her by Christ. The mother, Eucharis, and the father, Pius, erected the gravestone to her.

Catacomb of Commodilla, inscription of A.D. 377:


CINNAMIVS OPAS LECTOR TITVLI FASCIOLE AMICVS PAVPERVM
QVI VIXIT ANN. XLVI. MENS. VII. D. VIIII DEPOSIT
IN PACE KAL MART
GRATIANO IIII ET MEROBAVDE COSS

i.e. Cinnamius Opas, lector of the title [church] of Fasciola, a friend of the poor, who lived forty-six years, seven months, and nine days, and was buried in peace on 1 March, when Gratian was consul for the fourth time and with him Merobaudus.

Catacomb of Commodilla, A.D. 394:


DEP III IDVS MAII OSIMVS QVI
VIXIT ANNVS XXVIII QVI FECIT
CVM CONPARE SVA ANNVS SEPTE
MENSIS VIII BENEMERENTI IN PACE. CON
SVLATV NICOMACI. FLABIANI. LOCV MAR
MARARI QVADRISOMVM

i.e. Buried on 13 May, Osimus who lived twenty-eight years, who was united to his wife seven years and nine months. May the well-deserving rest in peace. He died during the consulate of Nicomachus Flavianus. Grave of the stone-mason for four bodies.

Catacomb of Callistus, third century:


PETRONIÆ AVXENTIÆ. C.F. QUÆ VIXIT
ANN. XXX. LIBERTI. FECERUNT. BENEMERENTI IN. PACE

The freedmen of Petronia Auxentia, the highly born lady (clarissimae feminae), who died at the age of thirty, made the grave where she rests in peace. She seems to have had neither children, brothers or sisters, nor, at the time of her death, parents.

Catacomb of Callistus, fourth century:


DASVMIA QVIRIACE BONE FEMINE PALVMBRA SENe FELlE . . .
QVÆ VIXIT ANNOS LXVI DEPOSITA IIII KAL MARTIAS IN PACE

Cyriaca, a member of the noble Dasumian family, who died at the age of sixty-six years, is called a "dove without bitterness", a eulogy that is found on other female graves.

Catacomb of Callistus, about A.D. 300:

With the permission of his Pope Marcellinus (296-304) Severus the Deacon made in the level of the cemetery of Callistus directly under that of the pope a family vault, consisting of a doubleburial chamber ( cubiculum duplex ) with arched tombs (arcosolia ) and a shaft for air and light, as a quiet resting-place for himself and his family, where his bones might be preserved in long sleep for his Maker and Judge. The first body to be laid in the new family vault was his sweet little daughter Severa, beloved by her parents and servants. At her birth God had endowed her for this earthly life with wonderful talents. Her body rests here in peace until it shall rise again in God, Who took away her soul, chaste, modest, and ever inviolate in HisHoly Spirit ; He, the Lord, will reclothe her at some time with spiritual glory. She lived a virgin nine years, eleven months and fifteen days. Thus was she translated out of this world.

Besides the text of the epitaphs, on many of the tombstones the ideas are also conveyed by pictures; in this manner expression is given, above all, to the hope of eternal life for the dead. First come symbolic pictures and signs: the anchor, the palm, the dove with the olive-branch, are allegorical symbols of hope, victory, and everlasting peace; from the third century on appears the fish, the symbol of Christ. The Good Shepherd carrying the lamb on His shoulders, and the Orante, both often depicted together, were well-known and favourite allusions to the joy of heaven. The carving on the tombstone also copied those paintings on the catacombs that represent Biblical scenes, e.g. the awakening of Lazarus, the adoration of the Wise Men. Carvings of an entirely secular character are also found on the tombstones, namely representations of characteristic tools to indicate the rank in life or trade of the dead, e.g. for a baker, a grain measure; for a joiner, a plane; for a smith, an anvil and hammer. If the dead had borne in life the name of an animal, Leo (lion), Equitius (from equus , a horse), a picture of the particular animal was also cut on the tombstone. From the time of Constantine the monogram of Christ was a favourite symbol for use on gravestones.

IV. PAINTINGS

The paintings of the catacombs conveyed pictorially the same ideas as the inscriptions. These frescoes adorn the spaces between the single graves, ornament the arched niches above the arcosolia, and are employed to decorate the walls and ceilings of entire burial chambers. It is true that the paintings are not so easily understood as the inscriptions or epitaphs, but while the oldest epitaphs afford little instruction, since they are limited simply to the names of the dead, the paintings, of which the number is very large, give information concerning the beginnings of Christianity. Certain fixed types are repeated in manifold forms, so that one explains another. In the course of time new types of pictures and new conceptions were developed which throw a steadily increasing light on the belief and the hope of the primitive Christians in regard to death.

The heathen "who have no hope " might stand disconsolate by the grave of the departed, they might adorn the oeterna domus (the eternal home) of the dead with gay pictures of ordinary life. The Christians in these paintings of the catacombs conceived the souls of the dead as Oranti, or praying female figures, in the bliss of heaven. The Good Shepherd Who lovingly carries the lamb on His shoulders to the flock that are pastured in Paradise signified to the Christian the reason for his hope in eternity. The representations of baptism and of the miraculous multiplication of the loaves are allusions to the means of grace by which heaven is attained. After favourable judgment is pronounced, the saints, the advocates or intercessors, lead the souls into the joys of heaven. To depict the belief of the early Christians in a future life the art of the catacombs generally chose episodes from the Old and New Testaments , episodes to which many allusions still occur in the prayers for the dying. If death is represented as having entered the world through the sin of Adam and Eve, the escape from death is indicated in pictures from the Old Testament showing the rescue of Noah from the Deluge, the preservation of Isaac from the sacrificial knife of his father Abraham, the rescue of the Tree Hebrew Children from the fiery furnace, the escape of Jonas from the belly of the great fish, Susanna's deliverance with the aid of Daniel from false accusation. From the New Testament the raising of Lazarus is used as the type of the resurrection from the dead ; the miracles of the Saviour, the healing of the blind, the cure of the palsied man, are all taken as proofs of the omnipotent power of the Son of God over sickness and death. The Wise Men from the East having been the first called out of heathenism, were regarded by the Christians of the catacombs as their predecessors in the Faith, as security for the hope that they too might, at some time, adore the Son of God above. The Mother of God is never separated from the Divine Child; one of the oldest paintings of the catacombs, painted under the eyes of the pupils of the Apostles and found in the cemetery of Priscilla, represents the Virgin holding the Child on her lap, while the Prophet Isaias, who stands before her, points to the star above the head of the Mother and Child. In the frequent pictures of the Wise Men the Virgin is seated on a throne accepting in the name of her Child the gifts which the Magi bring. A fresco of the third century in the cemetery of Priscilla represents the annunciation ; a painting of the fourth century in the coemeterium majus shows the Virgin as an Orante, before her the Divine child, who is clearly indicated to be Christ by the monogram of the name Christ painted to the right and left of the figure. The enthroned Saviour surrounded by the Apostles, the dead, who are being led by the saints before the Judge to receive a gracious verdict, the Wise Virgins at the heavenly wedding feast, all these form the last links in the chain of heavenly hopes that bind together earth and heaven, time and eternity.

The themes depicted in the purely decorative painting of the burial chambers, especially that of the ceilings, are largely taken from concepts peculiar to Christianity : the dove with the olive-branch of peace, the peacock that in springtime renews its gay plumage, the lamb, taken as a symbol of the soul, all these continually reappear as allusions to the consoling hopes cherished in this place of death. When the artist paints family life, e.g. a picture of a husband, wife, and child, who occupy a common grave, he represents the three as Oranti standing with raised hands absorbed in the contemplation of God. There are some purely secular paintings in the catacombs, e.g. a fresco in the cemetery of Priscilla representing vine-dressers carrying away a large cask; in the cemetery of Domitilla, corn-merchants superintending the unloading of sacks of grain from ships; and in the cemetery of Callistus, a market-woman selling vegetables.

Special reference should be made to the representations of the Eucharist in connection with the multiplication of the bread when the Lord fed the multitude with the loaves and fishes. Since the second century the Early Church regarded the five letters of the Greek word for fish "ICHTHYS" as the first letters of the words making up the phrase "IESOUS CHRISTOS THEOU YIOS SOTER" ( Jesus Christ , the Son of God, the Saviour), bread and fish, the food with which Christ had fed the multitude, were in themselves an allusion to the Eucharistic meal. Thus in the catacomb of Domitilla a man and his wife are represented reclining on a cushion, before them a small table holding loaves of bread and fish; in the cemetery of Priscilla the presiding officer at the semi-circular table breaks for the guests the round loaves of bread; the wine-cup with handles stands ready near bread and fish; baskets on either side holding the miraculously multiplied loaves and fishes indicate the deeper meaning of the scene. Both paintings belong to the earliest Christian art. There is in the catacomb of Callistus a painting of a large fish; close before or above the fish is a woven basket on the top of which lie round loaves of bread; the front part of the basket has a square opening in which is seen a glass containing red wine. In the six so-called Chapels of the Sacraments of the same catacomb various representations of the Eucharist appear in combination with pictures of baptism, the raising of Lazarus, a ship, etc. Bread and fish are shown lying on a table; on one side stands Christ, Who stretches a hand in blessing over the food; on the other side is an Orante, the symbol of the soul, which in this meal receives the pledge of the heavenly one. The opposite picture represents the sacrifice of Isaac. In a third picture, placed between these two, guests sit around a table on which are bread and fish; in the foreground stand the baskets holding the miraculously multiplied loaves. These and similar pictures, all belonging to the first half of the third century, are based upon the thought that the Eucharistic meal has been prepared for us by the Saviour as the pledge and type of the heavenly one.

Catholic writer have at times found a richer dogmatic content in the pictures of the catacombs than a strict examination is able to prove ; but Protestant scholars go to the other extreme when they claim that the "dogmatic results" obtained from the early Christian pictures are exceedingly small. Although it is willingly acknowledged that non-Catholic writers have occasionally placed a picture in a proper light, it is nevertheless necessary to protest against the attempt to eliminate from the early Christian memorials all dogmatic proof for the faith of the Catholic Church.

Just as it is of importance to settle the dates of inscriptions, so also it is essential to determine as nearly as possible when paintings were executed; there are for the paintings, as for the inscriptions, indications which serve as clues. The artistic value of the pictures increases the closer they approach the golden age of profane art. In the second and third centuries the pictures were lightly sketched and painted in transparent colours on a carefully prepared background of plaster. During this period the artist did not follow set patterns, but was under the necessity at first of devising forms in which to express his new Christian ideas. As secular art fell into decay Christian art experienced the same decline. Another aid in determining the age of a fresco is given by the site in a catacomb where a picture has been painted, whether in the oldest part or in a later addition. As time went on the painter's range of artistic conceptions enlarged; thus in the third and fourth centuries scenes were depicted which were foreign to earlier Christian art. When in the fourth century the newly-erected basilicas were ornamented with mosaics, the same form of decoration was also introduced into the catacombs; this is shown in a mosaic depicting as an Orante a person who had died. The ornamentation of the places of interment came to an end with the above-mentioned cessation of burial in the catacombs; in lieu of this the graves of the martyrs were now decorated, generally with pictures of the saints, who are represented grouped around the Saviour. These paintings form a class apart from the other pictures of the catacombs on account of the constant decline in the artistic execution and because of the subjects of the composition. The last pictures painted in the catacombs are some executed in the ninth century in the crypt of St. Cecilia. St. Cecilia herself is represented as an Orante in the garden of heaven ; there is also preserved in this crypt a bust-fresco of Christ in a niche, next to which is a picture of Pope St. Urban who buried the martyr, St. Cecilia.

V. SARCOPHAGI

In ancient Rome citizens of rank built for themselves family tombs on the great military roads; the structure above ground ( monumentum ) was adorned with statues and inscriptions, while the bodies were deposited in stone coffins (sarcophagi) or, when cremated, in funerary urns in a subterranean vault or hypogoeum . The freedmen and clients of the noble family to whom the tomb belonged were buried in graves made in the upper stratum of the earth of the area monumenti , or plot of ground or garden in which the tomb stood. These graves were indicated by stelae , or stone slabs, which gave the names of the dead. Those who were first converted from heathenism to Christianity were interred in a similar manner. This is evident both from the hypogoeum of the Flavian family, which has horizontal niches to the right and left for the sarcophagi, and from the stelae with symbols or inscriptions that are Christian in character, although, as is easily understood, such telae are not numerous. The example of the Jews, however, led very early to the excavation, in the enclosure of the area monumenti , of subterranean galleries or passage ways, the walls of which offered ample space for single graves or loculi . From the beginning burial in sarcophagi was, on account of the expense, a privilege of the rich and of people in rank; this is also one reason why Christian sculpture developed later than Christian painting. As the Christians were obliged at first to buy sarcophagi from heathen stone-masons they avoided purchasing those with mythological scenes. They preferred such as were ornamented with carvings of scenes from pastoral life, the harvest and vintage; at times they selected sarcophagi merely ornamented on the front with wave lines ( strigili ), as for example, the sarcophagus of Petronilla, a relative of the imperial Flavian family, which was found in the catacomb of Domitilla. The only decoration of this sarcophagus, outside of the wave lines, were figures of lions at the corners; on the upper edge of the sarcophagus was the inscription:


AVRELIAE. PETRONILLAE. FILIAE. DVLCISSIMAE.

"To Aurelia Petronilla, sweetest daughter". There are still in the catacombs of Priscilla, Domitilla, and Prætextatus a number of sarcophagi, the most ancient of which show no Christian sculpture.

It was not until towards the end of the third century that Christian sarcophagi were ornamented with sculpture ; at first the carvings were small figures of the Good Shepherd or an Orante placed where the strigili came together, or else Christians symbols were carved on the tabella inscriptionis , i.e. the flat slab closing the grave in which the epitaph was cut. A Christian stone-mason, probably, cut these Christian emblems on sarcophagi made in heathen workshops. The oldest sarcophagus showing Christian emblems carved in relief is one found in the Vatican quarter and now in the Lateran Museum ; it has in excellent work, between two scenes of family life, an Orante, symbolical of the person buried, and the Good Shepherd. Another sarcophagus, also belonging to the time before Constantine and in the same museum, has as its chief decoration the story of Jonas; around this scene are grouped representations of Noah, the raising of Lazarus, Moses smiting the rock in the wilderness, a pastoral scene, and purely secular fishing scenes.

Christian sculpture on sarcophagi was not fully developed until about the middle of the fourth century; two sarcophagi of this period, that of Junius Bassus in the crypt of St. Peter's, and another similar in style, in the Lateran Museum, are the finest examples of early Christian carving. When it became customary, in the vicinity of the great basilicas, to build mausoleums or mortuary chapels, in which the sarcophagi were either sunk in the ground or exposed along the walls, sculpture as a Christian art developed rapidly. The growth was perhaps too rapid, for the comparatively small number of Christian sculptors could only meet the constantly increasing demand by over-hasty or half-finished work. To this period which extended from the second half of the fourth into the first decades of the fifth century belong by f

More Volume: R 452

Click/Touch the sub-volume below to view encyclopedia articles within the sub-volume.

1

Râle, Sebastian

Missionary, martyr, b. at Pontarlier, Diocese of Besançoison, 20 Jan., 1654 (?); shot by ...

× Close

1

Räss, Andreas

Bishop of Strasburg, b. at Sigolsheim in upper Alsace, 6 April, 1794; d. at Strasburg, 17 ...

× Close

2

Régis, Jean-Baptiste

Born at Istres, Provence, 11 June, 1663, or 29 Jan., 1664; died at Peking, 24 Nov., 1738. He was ...

Régis, Pierre Sylvain

Born at La Salvetat de Blanquefort, near Agen, in 1632; died in Paris, in 1707. After his ...

× Close

Ra 67

Rabanus, Blessed Maurus Magnentius

( Also Hrabanus, Reabanus). Abbot of Fulda, Archbishop of Mainz, celebrated theological ...

Rabbi and Rabbinism

The special condition which prevailed in Palestine after the Restoration led to the gradually ...

Rabbulas

Bishop of Edessa and, in the later years of his life, one of the foremost opponents of ...

Rabelais, François

The life of this celebrated French writer is full of obscurities. He was born at Chinon in ...

Raccolta

( Italian "a collection") A book containing prayers and pious exercises to which the popes ...

Race, Human

Mankind exhibits differences which have been variously interpreted. Some consider them so great ...

Race, Negro

The term negro , derived from the Spanish and the Latin words meaning "black" ( negro; niger ...

Rachel

Rachel ("a ewe"), daughter of Laban and younger sister of Lia. The journey of Jacob to the ...

Racine, Jean

Dramatist, b. a La Ferté-Milon, in the old Duchy of Valois, 20 Dec., 1639; d. in Paris, ...

Rader, Matthew

Philologist and historian, born at Innichen in the Tyrol in 1561; died at Munich, 22 December, ...

Radewyns, Florens

Co-founder of the Brethren of the Common Life , b. at Leyderdam, near Utrecht, about 1350; d. at ...

Radowitz, Joseph Maria von

Born at Blankenburg, 6 February, 1797; died at Berlin, 25 December, 1853. Radowitz was of ...

Radulph of Rivo

(or OF TONGRES; RADULPH VAN DER BEEKE) An historian and liturgist, born at Breda, in Dutch ...

Raffeix, Pierre

Missionary, born at Clermont, 1633; died at Quebec, 1724. He entered the Society of Jesus in ...

Ragueneau, Paul

Jesuit missionary, b. in Paris, 18 March, 1608; d. 8 Sept., 1680. He entered the Society in ...

Ragusa

DIOCESE OF RAGUSA (EPIDAURUS; RAGUSINA). A bishopric in Dalmatia, suffragan of Zara. The ...

Raich, Johann Michael

Catholic theologian, born at Ottobeuren in Bavaria, 17 January, 1832; died at Mainz, 28 March, ...

Rail, Altar

The railing which guards the sanctuary and separates the latter from the body of the church. It ...

Raimondi, Marcantonio

Engraver, b. at Bologna, 1475 (1480?); d. there, 1530 (1534?). He studied under the goldsmith and ...

Rainald of Dassel

Born probably not before 1115; died in Italy, 14 August, 1167. A younger son of a rich Saxon ...

Rajpootana

Prefecture Apostolic in India, attached to the Province of Agra, comprises approximately the ...

Ralph Crockett, Venerable

English martyr, b. at Barton, near Farndon, Cheshire; executed at Chichester, 1 October, 1588. ...

Ralph Milner, Venerable

Layman and martyr, born at Flacsted, Hants, England, early in the sixteenth century; suffered ...

Ralph Sherwin, Blessed

English martyr, born 1550 at Rodesley, near Longford, Derbyshire; died at Tyburn, 1 December, ...

Ram, Pierre François Xavier de

Born at Louvain 2 Sept., 1804; died there 14 May, 1865; Belgian historian and rector of the ...

Ramatha

A titular see in Palestine, suppressed in 1884 by the Roman Curia . It was never an episcopal ...

Rambler, The

A Catholic periodical (not of course to be confused with the older "Rambler", published a ...

Rameau, Jean-Philippe

Musician, b. at Dijon, Burgundy, 25 Sept., 1683; d. at Paris, 12 Sept., 1764. His father, ...

Ramsey Abbey

Ramsey Abbey, Huntingdonshire, England, was founded by Ailwine (Ethelwine, Egelwine), a Saxon ...

Ramus, Peter

(PIERRE DE LA RAMÉE) Humanist and logician, b. at Cuth in Picardy, 1515; d. in Paris, ...

Rancé, Jean-Armand le Bouthillier de

Abbot and reformer of Notre Dame de la Trappe, second son of Denis Bouthillier, Lord of ...

Randall, James Ryder

Journalist and poet, b. 1 Jan., 1839, at Baltimore, Maryland ; d. 15 Jan., 1908 at Augusta, ...

Ransom, Feast of Our Lady of

24 September, a double major, commemorates the foundation of the Mercedarians. On 10 August, ...

Raphael

The most famous name in the history of painting, b. at Urbino, 6 April (or 28 March), 1483; d. at ...

Raphael, Saint

The name of this archangel ( Raphael = " God has healed") does not appear in the Hebrew ...

Raphoe

Diocese of Raphoe (Rapotensis) Comprises the greater part of the Co. Donegal (Gael. Tirconail ...

Rapin, René

French Jesuit, born at Tours, 1621; died in Paris, 1687. He entered the Society in 1639, taught ...

Raskolniks

(Russian raskolnik , a schismatic, a dissenter; from raskol , schism, splitting; that in ...

Rathborne, Joseph

Priest and controversialist (sometimes erroneously called RATHBONE), born at Lincoln, 11 May, ...

Ratherius of Verona

He was born about 887; died at Namur 25 April, 974. He belonged to a noble family which lived in ...

Ratio Studiorum

The term "Ratio Studiorum" is commonly used to designate the educational system of the Jesuits ; ...

Rationale

Rational, an episcopal humeral, a counterpart of the pallium, and like it worn over the chasuble. ...

Rationalism

(Latin, ratio -- reason, the faculty of the mind which forms the ground of calculation, i.e. ...

Ratisbon

DIOCESE OF RATISBON (RATISBONENSIS), also called REGENSBURG. Suffragan of Munich-Freising. It ...

Ratisbonne, Maria Alphonse

A converted Jew, born at Strasburg on 1 May, 1814; died at Ain Karim near Jerusalem, on 6 May, ...

Ratisbonne, Maria Theodor

A distinguished preacher and writer, and director of the Archconfraternity of Christian Mothers, ...

Ratramnus

(Rathramnus) A Benedictine monk at the Abbey of Corbie, in the present Department of Somme, ...

Ratzeburg, Ancient See of

(RACEBURGUM, RACEBURGENSIS.) In Germany, suffragan to Hamburg. The diocese embraced the ...

Ratzinger, Georg

Political economist and social reformer, b. at Rickering, near Deggendorf, in lower Bavaria, 3 ...

Rauscher

Prince- Archbishop of Vienna, born at Vienna, 6 Oct., 1797; died there 24 Nov., 1875. He ...

Ravalli, Antonio

Missionary, b. in Italy, 1811; d. at St. Mary's, Montana, U. S. A., 2 Oct., 1884. He entered ...

Ravenna

Archdiocese of Ravenna (Ravennatensis) The city of Ravenna is the capital of a province in ...

Ravesteyn, Josse

Born about 1506, at Tielt, a small town in Flanders, hence often called T ILETANUS (J ODACUS ...

Ravignan, Gustave Xavier Lacroix de

French Jesuit, orator, and author, b. at Bayonne (Basses-Pyrénées), 1 Dec. 1795; ...

Rawes, Henry Augustus

Oblate of St. Charles, hymn-writer and preacher, b. at Easington near Durham, England, 11 Dec., ...

Raymbault, Charles

Missionary, b. in France, 1602; entered the Society of Jesus at Rouen (1621); d. at Quebec, ...

Raymond IV, of Saint-Gilles

Count of Toulouse and of Tripoli, b. about 1043; d. at Tripoli in 1105. He was the son of ...

Raymond Lully

(RAMON LULL) "Doctor Illuminatus", philosopher, poet, and theologian, b. at Palma in Majorca, ...

Raymond Martini

Dominican, theologian, Orientalist, b. at Subirats, Catalonia, c. 1220; d. after July, 1284. In ...

Raymond Nonnatus, Saint

(In Spanish SAN RAMON). Born 1200 or 1204 at Portello in the Diocese of Urgel in Catalonia ...

Raymond of Peñafort, Saint

Born at Villafranca de Benadis, near Barcelona, in 1175; died at Barcelona, 6 January, 1275. He ...

Raymond of Sabunde

(SABONDE, SEBON, SEBEYDE, etc.) Born at Barcelona, Spain, towards the end of the fourteenth ...

Raymond VI

Count of Toulouse, b. 1156; d. 1222; succeeded his father, Raymond V, in 1195. He was a ...

Raymond VII

Count of Toulouse, son of Raymond VI, b. at Beaucaire, 1197; d. at Milhaud, 1249; had espoused a ...

Raynaldi, Odorico

Oratorian, b. at Treviso in 1595; d. at Rome, 22 January, 1671. Of patrician birth, he studied ...

Raynaud, Théophile

Theologian and writer, b. at Sospello near Nice, 15 Nov., 1583; d. at Lyons, 31 Oct., 1663. He ...

Raynouard, Françpois-Juste-Marie

A French poet, dramatist, and philologist, b. at Brignoles, Var, 8 September, 1761; d. at Passy, ...

× Close

Re 118

Reading Abbey

Reading Abbey in Surrey, England, was founded by Henry I in 1121, who built it, writes ...

Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist

In this article we shall consider: the fact of the Real Presence , which is, indeed, the central ...

Realism, Nominalism, Conceptualism

These terms are used to designate the theories that have been proposed as solutions of one of the ...

Reason

GENERAL MEANINGS Both in ordinary life and in philosophical discussions the term reason is of ...

Reason, Age of

The name given to that period of human life at which persons are deemed to begin to be morally ...

Recanati and Loreto

DIOCESE OF RECANATI AND LORETO (RECINETENSIS) Province of Ancona, Central Italy, so called ...

Rechab and the Rechabites

Rechab was the father of Jonadab who in 2 Kings 10:15-28 , appears as a fervent supporter of ...

Recollection

Recollection, as understood in respect to the spiritual life, means attention to the presence of ...

Reconciliation, Sacrament of

Penance is a sacrament of the New Law instituted by Christ in which forgiveness of sins ...

Rector

(From the Latin regere , to rule). Priests who preside over missions or quasi- parishes ...

Rector Potens, Verax Deus

The daily hymn for Sext in the Roman Breviary finds its theme in the great heat and light of ...

Recusants, English

The first statute in which the term "Popish Recusants" is used is 35 Eliz. c. 2, "An Act for ...

Red Sea

(Hebrew Yâm-Sûph; Septuagint ‘e ’eruthrà thálassa; ...

Redeemer, Feast of the Most Holy

The feast is found only in the special calendar of some dioceses and religious orders, and ...

Redeemer, Knights of the

A secular community founded in 1608 by the Duke of Mentone, Vincent Gonzaga, on the occasion of ...

Redemption

The restoration of man from the bondage of sin to the liberty of the children of God ...

Redemption in the Old Testament

Redemption means either strictly deliverance by payment of a price or ransom, or simply ...

Redemptions, Penitential

Penitential redemptions are the substitution of exercises (especially alms-deeds), either easier ...

Redemptoristines

The cradle of the Redemptoristines is Scala, not far from Amalfi, Italy. Father Thomas Falcoia, of ...

Redemptorists

(CONGREGATION OF THE MOST HOLY REDEEMER) A society of missionary priests founded by St. ...

Redford, Sebastion

Born 27 April, 1701; died 2 January, 1763. Educated at St. Omer , Watten, and Liège, ...

Redi, Francesco

Italian poet, b. at Arezzo, 18 February, 1626; d. at Pisa 1 March, 1698. After taking his ...

Reding, Augustine

Prince-Abbot of Einsiedeln and theological writer, born at Lichtensteig, Switzerland, 10 ...

Reductions of Paraguay

The Jesuit Reductions of Paraguay, one of the most singular and beautiful creations of Catholic ...

Referendarii

The papal office of the referendarii (from refero , to inform) existed at the Byzantine ...

Reform of a Religious Order

Reform of a Religious Order, in the true sense of the word, is a return or bringing back of the ...

Reformation, The

The usual term for the religious movement which made its appearance in Western Europe in the ...

Reformed Churches

The name given to Protestant bodies which adopted the tenets of Zwingli and, later, the ...

Refuge, Cities of

Towns which according to the Jewish law enjoyed the right of asylum and to which anyone who had ...

Refuge, Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the

The Institute of Our Lady of Charity was founded (1641) by [St. Jean] Eudes, at Caen, Normandy, ...

Regale, Droit de

( jus regaliœ, jus regale, jus deportus; German Regalienrecht ) Droit de Regale ...

Regalia

According to the usage current in the British Isles the term regalia is almost always employed to ...

Regeneration

(Latin regeneratio ; Greek anagennesis and paliggenesia ). Regeneration is a ...

Regensburg

DIOCESE OF RATISBON (RATISBONENSIS), also called REGENSBURG. Suffragan of Munich-Freising. It ...

Regesta, Papal

Papal Regesta are the copies, generally entered in special registry volumes, of the papal ...

Reggio dell' Emilia

DIOCESE OF REGGIO DELL' EMILIA (REGINENSIS) Suffragan of Modena in central Italy. The city is ...

Reggio di Calabria

ARCHDIOCESE OF REGGIO DI CALABRIA (RHEGIENSIS). Archdiocese in Calabria, southern Italy. The ...

Regina

DIOCESE OF REGINA (REGINENSIS) A newly created (4 March, 1910) ecclesiastical division, ...

Regina Coeli

The opening words of the Eastertide anthem of the Blessed Virgin, the recitation of which is ...

Reginald of Piperno

Dominican, theologian, companion of St. Thomas Aquinas, b. at Piperno about 1230; d. about 1290. ...

Regino of Prüm

Date of birth unknown; d. at Trier in 915. According to the statements of a later era Regino was ...

Regionarii

The name given in later antiquity and the early Middle Ages to those clerics and officials of ...

Regis, John Francis, Saint

Born 31 January, 1597, in the village of Fontcouverte (department of Aude); died at la Louvesc, 30 ...

Registers, Parochial

One having the cure of souls is commanded by Divine precept to know his subjects (Conc. Trid., ...

Regnault, Henri Victor

Chemist and physicist, b. at Aachen, 21 July, 1810; d. in Paris, 19 Jan., 1878. Being left an ...

Regulæ Juris

("Rules of Law") General rules or principles serving chiefly for the interpretation of laws. ...

Regulars

( Latin regula, rule). The observance of the Rule of St. Benedict procured for the monks ...

Reichenau

Reichenau, called Augia Dives in medieval Latin manuscripts and possessing a once ...

Reichensperger, August

Politician and author, born at Coblenz, 22 March, 1808; died at Cologne, 16 July, 1895. He studied ...

Reichensperger, Peter

Jurist and parliamentarian, b. at Coblenz, 28 May, 1810; d. at Berlin, 31 December, 1892. He ...

Reifenstein

A former Cistercian abbey in Eichsfeld, founded on 1 August, 1162 by Count Ernst of Tonna. It ...

Reiffenstuel, Johann Georg

In religion A NACLETUS Theologian and canonist; b. at Kaltenbrunn (Tegernsee) 2 July, 1641; d. ...

Reims

ARCHDIOCESE OF REIMS (RHEMENSIS) The Archdiocese of Reims comprises the district of Reims in ...

Reims, Synods of

The first synod said to have been held at Reims by Archbishop Sonnatius between 624 and 630 ...

Reinmar of Hagenau

A German minnesinger of the twelfth century, surnamed in the manuscripts der Alte (the old) to ...

Reisach, Carl von

Born at Roth, Bavaria, 7 July, 1800; died in the Redemptorist monastery of Contamine, France, ...

Reisch, Gregor

Born at Balingen in Wurtemberg, about 1467; died at Freiburg, Baden, 9 May, 1525. In 1487 he ...

Relationship

(CARNAL AND SPIRITUAL) The theologians understand by relationship in general a certain ...

Relatives, Duties of

The general precept of charity obliging us to love our neighbour as ourselves is of course ...

Relativism

Any doctrine which denies, universally or in regard to some restricted sphere of being, the ...

Relics

The word relics comes from the Latin reliquiae (the counterpart of the Greek leipsana ) ...

Religion

I. Derivation, Analysis, and Definition. II. Subjective Religion. III. Objective ...

Religion, Virtue of

Of the three proposed derivations of the word "religion", that suggested by Lactantius and ...

Religions, Statistics of

I. DEFINITION This study concerns itself with religious bodies, the number of their members, and ...

Religious Life

I. GENERAL VIEW AND EVANGELICAL IDEA OF THE RELIGIOUS LIFE A. GENERAL VIEW We all have within us ...

Religious Profession

HISTORICAL VIEW Profession may be considered either as a declaration openly made, or as a state ...

Reliquaries

It would follow of necessity from the data given in the article RELICS that ...

Remesiana

A titular see in Dacia Mediterranea, suffragan of Sardica. Remesiana is mentioned by the ...

Remigius of Auxerre

A Benedictine monk, b. about the middle of the ninth century; d. 908. Remigius, or Remi, was a ...

Remigius, Saint

Apostle of the Franks, Archbishop of Reims, b. at Cerny or Laon, 437; d. at Reims, 13 January ...

Remiremont

Vosges, France, monastery and nunnery of the Rule of St. Benedict, founded by Sts. Romaricus ...

Remuzat, Ven. Anne-Madeleine

Born at Marseilles, 29 Nov., 1696; died 15 Feb., 1730. At nine years of age she asked her parents ...

Remy, Abbey of Saint

Founded at Reims before 590. Its early history is very obscure; at first a little chapel ...

Renaissance, The

The Renaissance may be considered in a general or a particular sense, as (1) the achievements of ...

Renaudot, Eusebius

An apologetical writer and Orientalist, b. at Paris, 22 July, 1648; d. there, 1 Sept., 1720. He ...

Renaudot, Théophraste

Born at Loudun, 1586; died at Paris, 25 October, 1653. Doctor of the medical faculty at ...

Reni, Guido

Italian painter, b. at Calvenzano near Bologna, 4 Nov., 1575; d. at Bologna, 18 Aug. 1642. At one ...

Rennes

(RHEDONENSIS) Rennes includes the Department of Ille et Vilaine. The Concordat of 1802 ...

Renty, Gaston Jean Baptiste de

Born 1611 at the castle of Beni, Diocese of Bayeux in Normandy ; died 24 April, 1649. The only ...

Renunciation

( Latin renuntiare ). A canonical term signifying the resignation of an ecclesiastical ...

Reordinations

I. STATE OF THE QUESTION The Oratorian Jean Morin , in the seventeenth century, and Cardinal ...

Reparation

Reparation is a theological concept closely connected with those of atonement and satisfaction, ...

Repington, Philip

( Also Repyngdon). Cardinal-priest of the title of SS. Nereus and Achilleus, Bishop of ...

Repose, Altar of

(Sometimes called less properly sepulchre or tomb, more frequently repository). The altar ...

Reputation (as Property)

It is certain that a man is indefeasibly the owner of what he has been able to produce by his ...

Requiem, Masses of

Masses of Requiem will be treated under the following heads: I. Origins; II. Formulary ; III. ...

Rerum Crerator Optime

The hymn for Matins of Wednesday in the Divine Office. It comprises four strophes of four ...

Rerum Deus Tenax Vigor

The daily hymn for None in the Roman Breviary, comprises (like the hymns for Terce and Sext ...

Rerum Novarum

The opening words and the title of the Encyclical issued by Leo XIII, 15 May, 1891, on the ...

Rescripts, Papal

( Latin re-scribere , "to write back") Rescripts are responses of the pope or a Sacred ...

Reservation

The restriction in certain cases by a superior of the jurisdiction ordinarily exercised by an ...

Reserved Cases

A term used for sins whose absolution is not within the power of every confessor, but is ...

Residence, Ecclesiastical

A remaining or abiding where one's duties lie or where one's occupation is properly carried on, ...

Respicius, Tryphon, and Nympha

Martyrs whose feast is observed in the Latin Church on 10 November. Tryphon is said to have ...

Respighi, Lorenzo

Born at Cortemaggiore, Province of Piacenza, 7 October, 1824; died at Rome, 10 December, 1889. He ...

Responsorium

Responsory, or Respond, a series of verses and responses, usually taken from Holy Scripture and ...

Restitution

Restitution has a special sense in moral theology. It signifies an act of commutative justice ...

Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Resurrection is the rising again from the dead, the resumption of life. In this article, we shall ...

Resurrection, General

Resurrection is the rising again from the dead, the resumption of life. The Fourth Lateran ...

Rethel, Alfred

Born at Aachen, 1816; died at Düsseldorf, 1859. He combined in a brilliant and forcible ...

Retreat of the Sacred Heart, Congregation of

(DAMES DE LA RETRAITE) Originally founded in 1678 under the name of the Institute of Retreat, ...

Retreats

If we call a retreat a series of days passed in solitude and consecrated to practices of ...

Retz, Cardinal de

ARCHBISHOP OF PARIS Born at the Château of Montmirail, Oct., 1614; died in Paris, 24 ...

Reuben

(REUBEN.) A proper name which designates in the Bible : (1) a patriarch; (II) a tribe of ...

Reuchlin, Johannes

( Græcized , Capnion). Celebrated German humanist, b. at Pforzheim, Baden, 22 ...

Reumont, Alfred von

Statesman and historian, b. at Aachen, 15 August, 1808; d. there, 27 April, 1887. After finishing ...

Reusens, Edmond

Archeologist and historian, b. at Wijneghem (Antwerp), 25 April, 1831; d. at Louvain, 25 Dec., ...

Reuss

Name of the two smallest states of the German Confederation, which lie almost in the centre of ...

Revelation

I. MEANING OF REVELATION Revelation may be defined as the communication of some truth by God ...

Revelation, Book of

Apocalypse, from the verb apokalypto , to reveal, is the name given to the last book in the ...

Revelations, Private

There are two kinds of revelations: (1) universal revelations, which are contained in the Bible ...

Revocation

The act of recalling or annulling, the reversal of an act, the recalling of a grant, or the making ...

Revolution, English

James II, having reached the climax of his power after the successful suppression of Monmouth's ...

Revolution, French

The last thirty years have given us a new version of the history of the French Revolution, the ...

Rex Gloriose Martyrum

Rex Gloriose Martyrum, the hymn at Lauds in the Common of Martyrs (Commune plurimorum ...

Rex Sempiterne Cælitum

The Roman Breviary hymn for Matins of Sundays and weekdays during the Paschal Time (from ...

Rey, Anthony

An educator and Mexican War chaplain, born at Lyons, 19 March, 1807; died near Ceralvo, Mexico, ...

Reynolds, William

(RAINOLDS, RAYNOLDS, REGINALDUS) Born at Pinhorn near Exeter, about 1544; died at Antwerp, ...

× Close

Rh 18

Rhætia

(RHÆTORUM). Prefecture Apostolic in Switzerland ; includes in general the district ...

Rhaphanæa

A titular see in Syria Secunda, suffragan of Apamea. Rhaphanæa is mentioned in ancient ...

Rheinberger, Joseph Gabriel

A composer and organist, born at Vaduz, in the Principality of Lichtenstein, Bavaria, 17 March, ...

Rhenish Palatinate

( German Rheinpfalz ). A former German electorate. It derives its name from the title of a ...

Rhesæna

A titular see in Osrhoene, suffragan of Edessa. Rhesæna (numerous variations of the name ...

Rhinocolura

A titular see in Augustamnica Prima, suffragan of Pelusium. Rhinocolura or Rhinocorura was a ...

Rhithymna

(RHETHYMNA) A titular see of Crete, suffragan of Gortyna, mentioned by Ptolemy, III, 15, ...

Rhizus

( Rizous .) A titular see of Pontus Polemoniacus suffragan of Neocæsarea, ...

Rho, Giacomo

Missionary, born at Milan, 1593; died at Peking 27 April, 1638. He was the son of a noble and ...

Rhode Island

The State of Rhode Island and xxyyyk.htm">Providence Plantations, one of the thirteen original ...

Rhodes

(RHODUS) A titular metropolitan of the Cyclades. It is an island opposite to Lycia and ...

Rhodes, Alexandre De

A missionary and author, born at Avignon, 15 March, 1591; died at Ispahan, Persia, 5 Nov., 1660. ...

Rhodesia

A British possession in South Africa, bounded on the north and north-west by the Congo Free ...

Rhodiopolis

A titular see of Lycia, suffragan of Myra, called Rhodia by Ptolemy (V, 3) and Stephanus ...

Rhodo

A Christian writer who flourished in the time of Commodus (180-92); he was a native of Asia ...

Rhosus

A titular see in Cilicia Secunda, suffragan to Anazarba. Rhosus or Rhossus was a seaport ...

Rhymed Bibles

The rhymed versions of the Bible are almost entirely collections of the psalms. The oldest ...

Rhythmical Office

I. DESCRIPTION, DEVELOPMENT, AND DIVISION By rhythmical office is meant a liturgical horary ...

× Close

Ri 66

Ribadeneira, Pedro de

(Or RIBADENEYRA and among Spaniards often RIVADENEIRA) Pedro De Ribadeneira was born at ...

Ribas, Andrés Pérez De

A pioneer missionary, historian of north-western Mexico; born at Cordova, Spain, 1576; died in ...

Ribe, Ancient See of, in Denmark (Jutland)

(RIPAE, RIPENSIS.) The diocese (29 deaneries, 278 parishes ) consisted of the modern ...

Ribeirao Preto

(DE RIBERAO PRETO) A suffragan see of the Archdiocese of São Paulo , Brazil, ...

Ribera, Jusepe de

Called also SPAGNOLETTO, L'ESPAGNOLET (the little Spaniard) Painter born at Jativa, 12 Jan., ...

Ricardus Anglicus

Ricardus Anglicus, Archdeacon of Bologna, was an English priest who was rector of the law ...

Riccardi, Nicholas

A theologian, writer and preacher; born at Genoa, 1585; died at Rome, 30 May, 1639. Physically ...

Ricci, Lorenzo

General of the Society of Jesus b. at Florence, 2 Aug., 1703; d. at the Castle of Sant' Angelo, ...

Ricci, Matteo

Founder of the Catholic missions of China, b. at Macerata in the Papal States, 6 Oct. 1552; ...

Riccioli, Giovanni Battista

Italian astronomer, b. at Ferrara 17 April, 1598; d. at Bologna 25 June, 1671. He entered the ...

Rice, Edmund Ignatius

Founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (better known as "Irish ...

Rich, St. Edmund

Archbishop of Canterbury, England, born 20 November, c. 1180, at Abingdon, six miles from ...

Richard

A Friar minor and preacher, appearing in history between 1428 and 1431, whose origin and ...

Richard de Bury

Bishop and bibliophile, b. near Bury St. Edmund's, Suffolk, England, 24 Jan., 1286; d. at ...

Richard de la Vergne, François-Marie-Benjamin

Archbishop of Paris, born at Nantes, 1 March, 1819; died in Paris, 28 January, 1908. ...

Richard de Wyche, Saint

Bishop and confessor, b. about 1197 at Droitwich, Worcestershire, from which his surname is ...

Richard Fetherston, Blessed

Priest and martyr ; died at Smithfield, 30 July, 1540. He was chaplain to Catharine of Aragon ...

Richard I, King Of England

Richard I, born at Oxford, 6 Sept, 1157; died at Chaluz, France, 6 April, 1199; was known to ...

Richard of Cirencester

Chronicler, d. about 1400. He was the compiler of a chronicle from 447 to 1066, entitled "Speculum ...

Richard of Cornwall

(RICHARD RUFUS, RUYS, ROSSO, ROWSE). The dates of his birth and death are unknown, but he ...

Richard of Middletown

(A MEDIA VILLA). Flourished at the end of the thirteenth century, but the dates of his birth ...

Richard of St. Victor

Theologian, native of Scotland, but the date and place of his birth are unknown; d. 1173 and ...

Richard Thirkeld, Blessed

Martyr ; b. at Coniscliffe, Durham, England ; d. at York, 29 May, 1583. From Queen's College, ...

Richard Whiting, Blessed

Last Abbot of Glastonbury and martyr, parentage and date of birth unknown, executed 15 Nov., ...

Richard, Charles-Louis

Theologian and publicist; b. at Blainville-sur-l'Eau, in Lorraine, April, 1711; d. at Mons, ...

Richardson, Ven. William

( Alias Anderson.) Last martyr under Queen Elizabeth; b. according to Challoner at Vales in ...

Richelieu, Armand-Jean du Plessis, Duke de

Cardinal ; French statesman, b. in Paris, 5 September, 1585; d. there 4 December 1642. At first ...

Richmond, Diocese of

(RICHMONDENSIS.) Suffragan of Baltimore, established 11 July, 1820, comprises the State of ...

Ricoldo da Monte di Croce

(PENNINI.) Born at Florence about 1243; d. there 31 October, 1320. After studying in various ...

Riemenschneider, Tillmann

One of the most important of Frankish sculptors, b. at Osterode am Harz in or after 1460; d. at ...

Rienzi, Cola di

(i.e., NICOLA, son of Lorenzo) A popular tribune and extraordinary historical figure. His ...

Rieti

(REATINA). Diocese in Central Italy, immediately subject to the Holy See. The city is ...

Rievaulx, Abbey of

(RIEVALL.) Thurston, Archbishop of York, was very anxious to have a monastery of the newly ...

Riffel, Caspar

Historian, b. at Budesheim, Bingen, Germany, 19 Jan., 1807, d. at Mainz, 15 Dec., 1856. He ...

Rigby, John, Saint

English martyr ; b. about 1570 at Harrocks Hall, Eccleston, Lancashire; executed at St. Thomas ...

Rigby, Nicholas

Born 1800 at Walton near Preston, Lancashire; died at Ugthorpe, 7 September, 1886. At twelve years ...

Right

Right, as a substantive (my right, his right), designates the object of justice. When a person ...

Right of Exclusion

(Latin Jus Exclusivæ . The alleged competence of the more important Catholic ...

Right of Option

In canon law an option is a way of obtaining a benefice or a title, by the choice of the new ...

Right of Voluntary Association

I. LEGAL RIGHT A voluntary association means any group of individuals freely united for the ...

Rimbert, Saint

Archbishop of Bremen - Hamburg, died at Bremen 11 June, 888. It is uncertain whether he was ...

Rimini

DIOCESE OF RIMINI (ARIMINUM). Suffragan of Ravenna. Rimini is situated near the coast between ...

Rimini, Council of

The second Formula of Sirmium (357) stated the doctrine of the Anomoeans, or extreme Arians. ...

Rimouski

DIOCESE OF RIMOUSKI (SANCTI GERMANI DE RIMOUSKI) Suffragan of Quebec, comprises the counties of ...

Ring of the Fisherman, The

The earliest mention of the Fisherman's ring worn by the popes is in a letter of Clement IV ...

Rings

Although the surviving ancient rings, proved by their devices, provenance, etc., to be of ...

Rinuccini, Giovanni Battista

Born at Rome, 1592; d. at Fermo, 1653; was the son of a Florentine patrician, his mother being a ...

Rio Negro

Prefecture Apostolic in Brazil, bounded on the south by a line running westwards from the ...

Rio, Alexis-François

French writer on art, b. on the Island of Arz, Department of Morbihan, 20 May, 1797; d. 17 June, ...

Riobamba

Diocese of (Bolivarensis), suffragan of Quito, Ecuador, erected by Pius IX, 5 January, 1863. ...

Rioja, Francisco de

A poet, born at Seville, 1583; died at Madrid, 1659. Rioja was a canon in the cathedral at ...

Ripalda, Juan Martínez de

Theologian, b. at Pamplona, Navarre, 1594; d. at Madrid, 26 April, 1648. He entered the Society ...

Ripatransone

(RIPANENSIS). Diocese in Ascoli Piceno, Central Italy. The city is situated on five hills, ...

Ripon, Marquess of

George Frederick Samuel Robinson, K.G., P.C., G.C.S.I., F.R.S., Earl de Grey, Earl of Ripon, ...

Risby, Richard

Born in the parish of St. Lawrence, Reading, 1489; executed at Tyburn, London, 20 April, 1534. ...

Rishanger, William

Chronicler, b. at Rishangles, Suffolk, about ú d. after 1312. He became a Benedictine at ...

Rishton, Edward

Born in Lancashire, 1550; died at Sainte-Ménehould, Lorraine, 29 June, 1585. He was ...

Rita of Cascia, Saint

Born at Rocca Porena in the Diocese of Spoleto , 1386; died at the Augustinian convent of ...

Rites

I. NAME AND DEFINITION Ritus in classical Latin in means primarily, the form and manner of any ...

Rites in the United States

Since immigration from the eastern portion of Europe and from Asia and Africa set in with ...

Ritschlianism

Ritschlianism is a peculiar conception of the nature and scope of Christianity, widely held in ...

Ritter, Joseph Ignatius

Historian, b. at Schweinitz, Silesia, 12 April, 1787; d. at Breslau, 5 Jan., 1857. He pursued his ...

Ritual

The Ritual ( Rituale Romanum ) is one of the official books of the Roman Rite. It contains all ...

Ritualists

The word "Ritualists" is the term now most commonly employed to denote that advanced section of ...

Rivington, Luke

Born in London, May, 1838; died in London, 30 May, 1899; fourth son of Francis Rivington, a ...

Rizal, José Mercado

Filipino hero, physician, poet, novelist, and sculptor ; b. at Calamba, Province of La Laguna, ...

× Close

Ro 133

Robbers, Seven

(Septem Latrones), martyrs on the Island of Corcyra (Corfu) in the second century. Their ...

Robbia, Andrea della

Nephew, pupil, assistant, and sharer of Luca's secrets, b. at Florence, 1431; d. 1528. It is ...

Robbia, Lucia di Simone

Sculptor, b. at Florence, 1400; d. 1481. He is believed to have studied design with a goldsmith, ...

Robert Bellarmine, Saint

(Also, "Bellarmino"). A distinguished Jesuit theologian, writer, and cardinal, born at ...

Robert Johnson, Blessed

Born in Shropshire, entered the German College, Rome, 1 October, 1571. Ordained priest at ...

Robert of Arbrissel

Itinerant preacher, founder of Fontevrault, b. c. 1047 at Arbrissel (now Arbressec) near ...

Robert of Courçon

(DE CURSONE, DE CURSIM, CURSUS, ETC.). Cardinal, born at Kedleston, England ; died at ...

Robert of Geneva

Antipope under the name of Clement VII, b. at Geneva, 1342; d. at Avignon, 16 Sept., 1394. He ...

Robert of Jumièges

Archbishop of Canterbury (1051-2). Robert Champart was a Norman monk of St. Ouen at Rouen ...

Robert of Luzarches

(LUS). Born at Luzarches near Pontoise towards the end of the twelfth century; is said to have ...

Robert of Melun

(DE MELDUNO; MELIDENSIS; MEIDUNUS). An English philosopher and theologian, b. in England ...

Robert of Molesme, Saint

Born about the year 1029, at Champagne, France, of noble parents who bore the names of Thierry ...

Robert of Newminster, Saint

Born in the district of Craven, Yorkshire, probably at the village of Gargrave; died 7 June, 1159. ...

Robert Pullus

(PULLEN, PULLAN, PULLY.) See also ROBERT PULLEN. Cardinal, English philosopher and ...

Robert, Saint

Founder of the Abbey of Chaise-Dieu in Auvergne, b. at Aurilac, Auvergne, about 1000; d. in ...

Roberts, Saint John

First Prior of St. Gregory's, Douai (now Downside Abbey ), b. 1575-6; martyred 10 ...

Robertson, James Burton

Historian, b. in London 15 Nov., 1800; d. at Dublin 14 Feb., 1877, son of Thomas Robertson, a ...

Robinson, Venerable Christopher

Born at Woodside, near Westward, Cumberland, date unknown; executed at Carlisle, 19 Aug., 1598. ...

Robinson, William Callyhan

Jurist and educator, b. 26 July, 1834, at Norwich, Conn.; d. 6 Nov., 1911, at Washington, D.C. ...

Rocaberti, Juan Tomás de

Theologian, b. of a noble family at Perelada, in Catalina, c. 1624; d. at Madrid 13 June, 1699. ...

Rocamadour

Communal chief town of the canton of Gramat, district of Gourdon, Department of Lot, in the ...

Rocca, Angelo

Founder of the Angelica Library at Rome, b. at Rocca, now Arecevia, near Ancone, 1545; d. at ...

Roch, Saint

Born at Montpellier towards 1295; died 1327. His father was governor of that city. At his birth ...

Rochambeau, Jean-Baptiste-Donatien

Marshal, b. at Vendôme, France, 1 July, 1725; d. at Thoré, 10 May, 1807. At the age ...

Roche, Alanus de la

( Sometimes DE LA ROCHE). Born about 1428; died at Zwolle in Holland, 8 September, 1475. ...

Rochester, Ancient See of

(ROFFA; ROFFENSIS). The oldest and smallest of all the suffragan sees of Canterbury, was ...

Rochester, Blessed John

Priest and martyr, born probably at Terling, Essex, England, about 1498; died at York, 11 May, ...

Rochester, Diocese of

This diocese, on its establishment by separation from the See of Buffalo, 24 January, 1868, ...

Rochet

An over-tunic usually made of fine white linen (cambric; fine cotton material is also allowed), ...

Rochette, Désiré Raoul

Usually known as Raoul-Rochette, a French archeologist, b. at St. Amand (Cher), 9 March, 1789; d. ...

Rock, Daniel

Antiquarian and ecclesiologist, b. at Liverpool, 31 August, 1799; d. at Kensington, London, 28 ...

Rockford, Diocese of

(ROCKFORDIENSIS). Created 23 September, 1908, comprises Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Winnebago, ...

Rockhampton

Diocese in Queensland, Australia. In 1862 Father Duhig visited the infant settlement on the banks ...

Rococo Style

This style received its name in the nineteenth century from French émigrés , who ...

Rodez

(RUTHENAE) The Diocese of Rodez was united to the Diocese of Cahors by the Concordat of ...

Rodrigues Ferreira, Alexandre

A Brazilian natural scientist and explorer, b. at Bahia in 1756; d. at Lisbon in 1815. He ...

Rodriguez, Alonso

Born at Valladolid, Spain, 1526; died at Seville 21 February, 1616. When twenty years of age he ...

Rodriguez, Joao

(GIRAM, GIRAO, GIRON, ROIZ). Missionary and author, b. at Alcochete in the Diocese of Lisbon ...

Rodriguez, Saint Alphonsus

(Also Alonso). Born at Segovia in Spain, 25 July, 1532; died at Majorca, 31 October, 1617. ...

Roe, Bartholomew

(VENERABLE ALBAN). English Benedictine martyr, b. in Suffolk, 1583; executed at Tyburn, 21 ...

Roermond

(RUBAEMUNDENSIS). Diocese in Holland ; suffragan of Utrecht. It includes the Province of ...

Rogation Days

Days of prayer, and formerly also of fasting, instituted by the Church to appease God's anger ...

Roger Bacon

Philosopher, surnamed D OCTOR M IRABILIS , b. at Ilchester, Somersetshire, about 1214; d. at ...

Roger Cadwallador, Venerable

English martyr, b. at Stretton Sugwas, near Hereford, in 1568; executed at Leominster, 27 Aug., ...

Roger of Wendover

Benedictine monk, date of birth unknown; d. 1236, the first of the great chroniclers of St. ...

Roger, Bishop of Worcester

Died at Tours, 9 August, 1179. A younger son of Robert, Earl of Gloucester, he was educated ...

Roh, Peter

Born at Conthey (Gunthis) in the canton of Valais ( French Switzerland ), 14 August, 1811; d. at ...

Rohault de Fleury

A family of French architects and archaeologists of the nineteenth century, of which the most ...

Rohrbacher, Réné François

Ecclesiastical historian, b. at Langatte (Langd) in the present Diocese of Metz, 27 September, ...

Rojas y Zorrilla, Francisco de

Spanish dramatic poet, b. at Toledo, 4 Oct., 1607; d. 1680. Authentic information regarding the ...

Rokewode, John Gage

Born 13 Sept., 1786; died at Claughton Hall, Lancashire, 14 Oct., 1842. He was the fourth son of ...

Rolduc

(RODA DUCIS, also Roda, Closterroda or Hertogenrade). Located in S. E. Limburg, Netherlands. ...

Rolfus, Hermann

Catholic educationist, b. at Freiburg, 24 May, 1821; d. at Buhl, near Offenburg, 27 October, ...

Rolle de Hampole, Richard

Solitary and writer, b. at Thornton, Yorkshire, about 1300; d. at Hampole, 29 Sept., 1349. The ...

Rollin, Charles

Born in Paris, 1661; died there, 1741. The son of a cutler, intended to follow his father's ...

Rolls Series

A collection of historical materials of which the general scope is indicated by its official ...

Rolph, Thomas

Surgeon, b. 1800; d. at Portsmouth, 17 Feb., 1858. He was a younger son of Dr. Thomas Rolph and ...

Roman Catacombs

This subject will be treated under seven heads: I. Position; II. History; III. Inscriptions; IV. ...

Roman Catechism

This catechism differs from other summaries of Christian doctrine for the instruction of the ...

Roman Catholic

A qualification of the name Catholic commonly used in English-speaking countries by those ...

Roman Catholic Relief Bill

IN ENGLAND With the accession of Queen Elizabeth (1558) commenced the series of legislative ...

Roman Christian Cemeteries, Early

This article treats briefly of the individual catacomb cemeteries in the vicinity of Rome. For ...

Roman Colleges

This article treats of the various colleges in Rome which have been founded under ...

Roman Congregations

Certain departments have been organized by the Holy See at various times to assist it in the ...

Roman Curia

Strictly speaking, the ensemble of departments or ministries which assist the sovereign pontiff ...

Roman Processional

Strictly speaking it might be said that the Processional has no recognized place in the Roman ...

Roman Rite, The

( Ritus romanus ). The Roman Rite is the manner of celebrating the Holy Sacrifice, ...

Romanos Pontifices, Constitutio

The restoration by Pius IX, 29 Sept. 1850, by letters Apostolic "Universalis ecclesiæ" of ...

Romanos, Saint

Surnamed ho melodos and ho theorrhetor , poet of the sixth century. The only authority for ...

Romans, Epistle to the

This subject will be treated under the following heads: I. The Roman Church and St. Paul; II. ...

Romanus, Pope

Of this pope very little is known with certainty, not even the date of his birth nor the exact ...

Romanus, Saints

(1) A Roman martyr Romanus is mentioned in the "Liber Pontificalis" (ed. Duchesne, I, 155) ...

Rome

The significance of Rome lies primarily in the fact that it is the city of the pope. The Bishop ...

Rome, University of

The University of Rome must be distinguished from the "Studium Generale apud Curiam", established ...

Romero, Juan

Missionary and Indian linguist, b. in the village of Machena, Andalusia, Spain, 1559; d. at ...

Romuald, Saint

Born at Ravenna, probably about 950; died at Val-di-Castro, 19 June, 1027. St. Peter Damian, his ...

Romulus Augustulus

Deposed in the year 476, the last emperor of the Western Roman Empire. His reign was purely ...

Ronan, Saint

There are twelve Irish saints bearing the name of Ronan commemorated in the "Martyrology of ...

Ronsard, Pierre de

French poet, b. 2 (or 11) Sept., 1524, at the Château de la Poissonniere, near ...

Rood

(Anglo-Saxon Rod, or Rode, "cross"), a term, often used to signify the True Cross itself, ...

Roothaan, Johann Philipp

Twenty-first General of the Society of Jesus , b. at Amsterdam, 23 November, 1785; d. at Rome, ...

Roper, William

Biographer of St. Thomas More, born 1496; died 4 January, 1578. Both his father and mother ...

Rorate Coeli

(Vulgate, text), the opening words of Isaiah 45:8 . The text is used frequently both at Mass and ...

Rosa, Salvatore

(Also spelled SALVATOR; otherwise known as RENNELLA, or ARENELLA, from the place of his birth). ...

Rosalia, Saint

Hermitess, greatly venerated at Palermo and in the whole of Sicily of which she in patroness. ...

Rosary, Breviary Hymns of the

The proper office granted by Leo XIII (5 August, 1888) to the feast contains four hymns ...

Rosary, Confraternity of the

In accordance with the conclusion of the article ROSARY no sufficient evidence is forthcoming to ...

Rosary, Feast of the Holy

Apart from the signal defeat of the Albigensian heretics at the battle of Muret in 1213 which ...

Rosary, Seraphic

( Or Seraphic Rosary.) A Rosary consisting of seven decades in commemoration of the seven ...

Rosary, The

Please see our How to Recite the Holy Rosary sheet in PDF format, and feel free to copy and ...

Rosate, Alberico de

(Or ROSCIATE). Jurist, date of birth unknown; died in 1354. He was bom in the village of ...

Roscelin

Roscelin, a monk of Compiègne, was teaching as early as 1087. He had contact with ...

Roscommon

Capital of County Roscommon, Ireland ; owes origin and name to a monastery founded by St. Coman ...

Rose of Lima, Saint

Virgin, patroness of America, born at Lima, Peru 20 April, 1586; died there 30 August, 1617. ...

Rose of Viterbo, Saint

Virgin, born at Viterbo, 1235; died 6 March, 1252. The chronology of her life must always remain ...

Rose Window

A circular window, with mullions and traceries generally radiating from the centre, and filled ...

Rosea

A titular see. The official catalogue of the Roman Curia mentioned formerly a titular see of ...

Roseau

(ROSENSIS). Diocese ; suffragan of Port of Spain, Trinidad, B.W.I. The different islands of ...

Rosecrans, William Starke

William Born at Kingston, Ohio, U.S.A. 6 Sept., 1819; died near Redondo California, 11 March, ...

Roseline, Saint

(Rossolina.) Born at Château of Arcs in eastern Provence, 1263; d. 17 January, 1329. ...

Rosenau

( Hungarian ROZSNYÓ; Latin ROSNAVIENSIS). Diocese in Hungary, suffragan of Eger, ...

Rosh Hashanah

The first day of Tishri (October), the seventh month of the Hebrew year. Two trumpets are ...

Rosicrucians

The original appelation of the alleged members of the occult-cabalistic- theosophic "Rosicrucian ...

Roskilde, Ancient See of, in Denmark

(ROSCHILDIA, ROSKILDENSIS.) Suffragan to Hamburg, about 991-1104, to Lund, 1104-1536. The ...

Roskoványi, August

Bishop of Neutra in Hungary, doctor of philosophy and theology, b. at Szenna in the County ...

Rosmini and Rosminianism

Antonio Rosmini Serbati, philosopher, and founder of the Institute of Charity, born 24 March, ...

Rosminians

The Institute of Charity, or, officially, Societas a charitate nuncupata , is a religious ...

Ross

(ROSSENSIS). Diocese in Ireland. This see was founded by St. Fachtna, and the place-name ...

Ross, School of

The School of Ross &151; now called Ross-Carbery, but formerly Ross-Ailithir from the large ...

Rossano

(ROSSANENSIS). Archdiocese in Calabria, province of Cosenza, Southern Italy. The city is ...

Rosselino, Antonio di Matteo di Domenico

The youngest of five brothers, sculptors and stone cutters, family name Gamberelli (1427-78). He ...

Rosselino, Bernardo

(Properly BERNARDO DI MATTEO GAMBARELLI.) B. at Florence, 1409; d. 1464. Rosselino occupies ...

Rosselli, Cosimo

(LORENZO DI FILIPPO). Italian fresco painter, b. at Florence, 1439; d. there in 1507. The ...

Rossi, Bernardo de

(DE RUBEIS, GIOVANNI FRANCESCO BERNARDO MARIA). Theologian and historian; b. at Cividale del ...

Rossi, Giovanni Battista de

A distinguished Christian archaeologist , best known for his work in connection with the Roman ...

Rossi, Pellegrino

Publicist, diplomat, economist, and statesman, b. at Carrara, Italy, 13 July, 1787; assassinated ...

Rossini, Gioacchino Antonio

Born 29 February, 1792, at Pesaro in the Romagna; died 13 November, 1868, at Passy, near Paris. ...

Rostock, Sebastian von

Bishop of Breslau, b. at Grottkau, Silesia, 24 Aug. 1607; d. at Breslau, 9 June, 1671. He ...

Rostock, University of

Located in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, founded in the year 1419 through the united efforts of Dukes John ...

Roswitha

A celebrated nun -poetess of the tenth century, whose name has been given in various forms, ...

Rota, Sacra Romana

In the Constitution "Sapienti Consilio" (29 June, 1908), II, 2, Pins X re-established the Sacra ...

Roth, Heinrich

Missionary in India and Sanskrit scholar, b. of illustrious parentage at Augsburg, 18 December, ...

Rothe, David

Bishop of Ossory ( Ireland ), b. at Kilkenny in 1573, of a distinguished family ; d. 20 ...

Rottenburg

(ROTTENBURGENSIS). Diocese ; suffragan of the ecclesiastical Province of the Upper Rhine. It ...

Rotuli

Rotuli, i.e. rolls — in which a long narrow strip of papyrus or parchment, written on one ...

Rouen, Archdiocese of

(ROTHOMAGENSIS) Revived by the Concordat of 1802 with the Sees of Bayeux, Evreux, and ...

Rouen, Synods of

The first synod is generally believed to have been held by Archbishop Saint-Ouen about 650. ...

Rouquette, Adrien

Born in Louisiana in 1813, of French parentage; died as a missionary among the Choctaw Indians ...

Rousseau, Jean-Baptiste

French poet, b. in Paris, 16 April 1670; d. at La Genette, near Brussels, 17 May, 1741. ...

Rovezzano, Benedetto da

Sculptor and architect, b. in 1490, either at Rovezzano, near Florence, or, according to some ...

Rowsham, Stephen

A native of Oxfordshire, entered Oriel College, Oxford, in 1572. He took orders in the English ...

Royal Declaration, The

This is the name most commonly given to the solemn repudiation of Catholicity which, in ...

Royer-Collard, Pierre-Paul

Philosopher and French politician, b. at Sompuis (Marne), 21 June, 1763; d. at ...

× Close

Ru 42

Ruadhan, Saint

One of the twelve "Apostles of Erin" ; died at the monastery of Lorrha, County Tipperary, ...

Ruben

(REUBEN.) A proper name which designates in the Bible : (1) a patriarch; (II) a tribe of ...

Rubens, Peter Paul

Eminent Flemish painter, b. at Siegen, Westphalia, 28 June, 1577; d. at Antwerp, 30 May, 1640. ...

Rubrics

I. IDEA Among the ancients, according to Columella, Vitruvius, and Pliny, the word rubrica , ...

Rubruck, William

(Also called William of Rubruck and less correctly Ruysbrock, Ruysbroek, and Rubruquis), ...

Rudolf of Fulda

Chronicler, d. at Fulda, 8 March, 862. In the monastery of Fulda Rudolf entered the ...

Rudolf of Habsburg

German king, b. 1 May 1218; d. at Speyer, 15 July, 1291. He was the son of Albert IV, the founder ...

Rudolf of Rüdesheim

Bishop of Breslau, b. at Rüdesheim on the Rhine, about 1402; d. at Breslau in Jan., 1482. ...

Rudolf von Ems

[Hohenems in Austria ]. A Middle High German epic poet of the thirteenth century. Almost ...

Rueckers, Family of

Famous organ and piano-forte builders of Antwerp. Hans Rueckers, the founder, lived in ...

Ruffini, Paolo

Physician and mathematician, b. at Valentano in the Duchy of Castro, 3 Sept., 1765; d. at Modena, ...

Rufford Abbey

A monastery of the Cistercian Order, situated on the left bank of the Rainworth Water, about ...

Rufina, Saints

The present Roman Martyrology records saints of this name on the following days: (1) On ...

Rufinus, Saint

The present Roman Martyrology records eleven saints named Rufinus: (1) On 28 February, a ...

Rufus, Saint

The present Roman Martyrology records ten saints of this name. Historical mention is made of ...

Ruiz de Alarcón y Mendoza, Juan de

Spanish dramatic poet, b. at Mexico City, about 1580; d. at Madrid, 4 August, 1639. He received ...

Ruiz de Montoya, Antonio

One of the most distinguished pioneers of the original Jesuit mission in Paraguay, and a ...

Ruiz de Montoya, Diego

Theologian, b. at Seville, 1562; d. there 15 March, 1632. He entered the Society of Jesus in ...

Rule of Faith, The

The word rule ( Latin regula , Gr. kanon ) means a standard by which something can be ...

Rule of St. Augustine

The title, Rule of Saint Augustine , has been applied to each of the following documents: ...

Rule of St. Benedict

This work holds the first place among monastic legislative codes, and was by far the most ...

Rumania

A kingdom in the Balkan Peninsula, situated between the Black Sea, the Danube, the Carpathian ...

Rumohr, Karl Friedrich

Art historian, b. at Dresden, 1785; d. there, 1843. He became a Catholic in 1804. He was ...

Rupe, Alanus de

( Sometimes DE LA ROCHE). Born about 1428; died at Zwolle in Holland, 8 September, 1475. ...

Rupert, Saint

(Alternative forms, Ruprecht, Hrodperht, Hrodpreht, Roudbertus, Rudbertus, Robert, Ruprecht). ...

Rusaddir

A titular see of Mauritania Tingitana. Rusaddir is a Phoenician settlement whose name ...

Rusicade

A titular see of Numidia. It is mentioned by Ptolemy (IV, 3), Mela (I, 33), Pliny (V, 22), ...

Ruspe

Titular see of Byzacena in Africa, mentioned only by Ptolemy (IV, 3) and the "Tabula" of ...

Russell, Charles

(BARON RUSSELL OF KILLOWEN). Born at Newry, Ireland, 10 November, 1832; died in London, 10 ...

Russell, Charles William

Born at Killough, Co. Down, 14 May, 1812; died at Dublin 26 Feb., 1880. He was descended from the ...

Russell, Richard

Bishop of Vizéu in Portugal, b. in Berkshire, 1630; d. at Vizéu, 15 Nov., 1693. He ...

Russia

GEOGRAPHY Russia ( Rossiiskaia Imperiia; Russkoe Gosudarstvo ) comprises the greater part of ...

Russia, The Religion of

A. The Origin of Russian Christianity There are two theories in regard to the early Christianity ...

Russian Language and Literature

The subject will be treated under the following heads, viz. RUSSIAN LANGUAGE; ANCIENT POPULAR ...

Rusticus of Narbonne, Saint

Born either at Marseilles or at Narbonnaise, Gaul; died 26 Oct., 461. According to biographers, ...

Ruth, Book of

One of the proto-canonical writings of the Old Testament, which derives its name from the heroine ...

Ruthenian Rite

There is, properly speaking, no separate and distinct rite for the Ruthenians, but inasmuch as ...

Ruthenians

(Ruthenian and Russian: Rusin , plural Rusini ) A Slavic people from Southern Russia, ...

Rutter, Henry

( vere BANISTER) Born 26 Feb., 1755; died 17 September, 1838, near Dodding Green, ...

Ruvo and Bitonto

(RUBENSIS ET BITUNTINENSIS) Diocese in the Province of Bari, Aquileia, Southern Italy. Ruvo, ...

Ruysbroeck, Blessed John

Surnamed the Admirable Doctor, and the Divine Doctor, undoubtedly the foremost of the Flemish ...

Ruysch, John

Astronomer, cartographer, and painter, born at Utrecht about 1460; died at Cologne, 1533. Little ...

× Close

Ry 4

Ryan, Father Abram J.

The poet-priest of the South, born at Norfolk, Virginia, 15 August, 1839; died at Louisville, ...

Ryan, Patrick John

Sixth Bishop and second Archbishop of Philadelphia, b. At Thurles, County Tipperary, ...

Ryder, Henry Ignatius Dudley

English Oratorian priest and controversialist, b. 3 Jan., 1837; d. at Edgbaston, Birmingham, 7 ...

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2016 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2016 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.