Hedvig Ehrenheim (University of Stockholm)
In the earliest documents concerning
first congregation here (fourth century AD), the parish is called titulus
Lucinae (the titlechurch
of Lucina). Later, under pope Sixtus III (432-440) a basilica was built
on the site, and consecrated to the saint Laurentius. The two names however
continued to exist side by side, and eventually the church becomes San
Lorenzo in Lucina.
In the early sources of Christian
Rome there is also mention of a saint called Lucina.
One of the first mentions is in the
sixth century Liber Pontificalis in the biography of pope Cornelius
(251-253), where a matron by the name of Lucina helped pope Cornelius
to move the bodies of the apostles Peter and Paul from the burial place
ad Catacumbas by the via Appia. The body of Paul was buried
in the estate of Lucina by the via Ostiensis.
There are further a number of
passiones of the Roman martyrs which include a matron called Lucina,
who at periods varying from the times of Nero (first century AD) to the
Church Peace in 312 helps to bury the bodies of martyrs, at different locations
around Rome. In some
references it is also said that this same person donated her house as a
The totally eleven sources relating
to the saint Lucina are of a "legendary" character. The opinion among
scholars varies from that there existed three different persons called
Lucina, and that there existed one, that later gave rise to all the different
stories about her.
In this part of the project the different
sources relating to the titulus Lucinae and the saint Lucina will
be sorted out. It is impossible in our time, with the contradictory evidence
we have, to say for certain if a Lucina existed, or how many Lucinae there
were. It is nevertheless interesting to see the rôle played by
wealthy women in the creation of congregations and churches in the early
history of Christian Rome, and how a saint was created.