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Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Ground Up: Early 4th Century Christian Necropolis in Pecs, Hungary

During the 4th century, Pecs was a Roman town known as Sopianae. The inhabitants of Sopianae were known to bury their death in a nearby necropolis. At this time, Christians were no longer being persecuted in Rome for their religion. Consequently, the ruler Constantine had also converted to Christianity on his death bed and the edict of Milan in 312 CE allowed the religion of Christianity to diverge into different parts of the world.

Constantine's conversion led to increased protection for those that were previously persecuted, therefore they were often promoted to higher rankings in the community. Christianity spread throughout the Roma Empire and Sopianae became a prominent center, if not one of the most important, of the Christian world.

The tombs of Sopianae lay undiscovered up until the 18th century when archaeologists found them. They still continue to excavate the area, looking for clues about 4th century life in Sopianae. Hundreds of tombs have been found, as well as many burial chambers. Surprisingly, the tombs have remained in pristine condition, intricately painted by murals depicting Bible stories. The tombs represent everyday life and the images found on the walls in the burial chambers depict contemporary Christian rituals.

The murals themselves are an excellent representation of the earliest days of Christianity. In fact, parts of the Basilica of St. Peter are constructed atop many of the tombs, dating back to the 11th century. The Basilica of St. Peter continues the tradition of Christian worship-a site that exhibits signs of human occupation stretching back several millennia before the birth of Christ.

Today, the early Christian Necropolis is a protected by UNESCO as part of the World Heritage List.

Video Footage of the Christian Necropolis

Also check out:

The people living at the foot of the Mecsek Hills in the south-west of Hungary in the 4th century A.D.—Romans intermingled with Celts and Illyrians— were already familiar with the Te Deum. This beautiful hymn of praise says "When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers." (Tu devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.)The Early Christian Necropolis of Pécs @The Hungarian Quarterly

213 kilometers South from Budapest lies Pécs, where the complex of early Christian monuments were found. The burial hall and its painted chambers can be visited since2000. The unique Early Christian sepulchral art and architecture of the northern and western Roman provinces is exceptionally well and fully illustrated by the Sopianae cemetery at Pécs. About Hungary


1 Comment:

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