Santa Bibiana

Rome, Italy

Santa Bibiana is a small Baroque style church. The church façade was designed and built by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who also produced a sculpture of the saint holding the palm leaf of martyrs.

According to an ancient, not documented tradition, the church was built in 363 by Roman matron Olimpina on the house where, during the supposed persecution of emperor Julian (361-363), Bibiana, her mother Dafrosa and her sister Demetria would have suffered martyrdom.

On the other hand, according to the Liber Pontificalis the church was erected in 467 under the pontificate of Pope Simplicius. Pope Leo II (682-683) moved there the relics of Martyrs Simplicius, Faustina and Viatrix from the Generosa Catacombs. The same Pope built in the surroundings (iuxta Sanctam Vivianam) a church consecrated to Saint Paul, no longer extant. The church was restored by Pope Honorius III in 1224.

The present facade was designed and built by then 26-year-old Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1624-1626, as commissioned by Pope Urban VIII. The columns lining the nave are from the original 5th-century church.

The bodies of St Bibiana (Viviana or Vibiana), her mother Dafrosa and her sister Demetria were discovered inside a 3rd-century sarcophagus, and now rest inside an alabaster urn under the major altar. The column just inside the church is said to be the one Bibiana was strapped to.

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Details

Founded: 467 AD
Category: Religious sites in Italy

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Vasili Timonen (4 years ago)
This is actually a 5th century building, although it doesn't look it. Mass is celebrated: Weekdays 8:00 and 18:00 (19:00 in summer); Sundays and Solemnities 8:30, 10:30 and 18:00 (19:00 in summer).
DAVID SNYDER (4 years ago)
An early work by Bernini with some beautiful frescoes by Pietro da Cortona.
S. H. Miazi (5 years ago)
It's almost hidden! Very nice church.
Richard Meier (7 years ago)
A Hidden Gem. Although this small church looks unassuming from the outside, once inside one will find the exquisite work of Bernini, who reworked the interior in the 17th century. If you're staying in the Termini district, it's a "must see".
Francesco Di Paolo (8 years ago)
Small but amazing church, almost invisible from the street but inside is a jewel, especially because the statue of Bernini on the main altar depicting saint Bibiana. Don't miss this beautiful church in Rome!
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