Santa Prassede (Praxedes)
Santa Prassede (Praxedes), 9th Century, Rome
Speakers: Richard Bowen (Courtesy of Context Travel), Beth Harris and Steven Zucker
Santa Prassede (also know as Praxedes) was the sister of Santa Pudenziana and the child of Saint Pudens (tradition holds that Saint Peter was a house guest of Pudens and that Pudens, in turn, was Peter's first convert).
The Basilica of Saint Praxedes (Basilica Santae Praxedis) as we see it today, probably dates from the reign of Pope Paschal (817-824) though some hold that it dates from the earlier Pope Hadrian (c. 780). Nevertheless, there have been significant renovations over time and most recently in the 19th century.
According to tradition this site originally held a structure dedicated to Praxedes that was commissioned by Pope Pius in 150. No evidence of this original structure has yet been found. Tradition also holds that the present basilica replaced a 5th-century church that contained the bones of the martyred sisters.
The oldest mosaics in the church were commissioned by Pope Paschal (817-824) and includes those on the triumphal arch, apse and in the the chapel of Saint Zeno, built by Paschal to hold the body of his mother, Theodora.