Church architecture refers to the architecture of buildings of Christian churches. These large, often ornate and architecturally prestigious buildings were dominant features of the towns, far more numerous were the parish churches in Christendom, the focus of Christian devotion in every town and village. In the 20th century, the use of new materials, such as steel, the history of church architecture divides itself into periods, and into countries or regions and by religious affiliation. The simplest church building comprises a single meeting space, built of locally available material, such churches are generally rectangular, but in African countries where circular dwellings are the norm, vernacular churches may be circular as well. A simple church may be built of mud brick and daub and it may be roofed with thatch, corrugated iron or banana leaves. However, church congregations, from the 4th century onwards, have sought to construct buildings that were both permanent and aesthetically pleasing.
This had led to a tradition in which congregations and local leaders have invested time and personal prestige into the building, within any parish, the local church is often the oldest building, and is larger than any pre-19th-century structure except perhaps a barn. The church is built of the most durable material available. To the two-room structure is often added aisles, a tower, chapels, in the first three centuries of the Early Christian Church, the practice of Christianity was illegal and few churches were constructed. In the beginning Christians worshipped along with Jews in synagogues and in private houses, after the separation of Jews and Christians the latter continued to worship in peoples houses, known as house churches. These were often the homes of the members of the faith. Saint Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians writes and Prisca, together with the church in their house, greet you warmly in the Lord. Some domestic buildings were adapted to function as churches, one of the earliest of adapted residences is at Dura Europos church, built shortly after 200 AD, where two rooms were made into one, by removing a wall, and a dais was set up.
To the right of the entrance a small room was made into a baptistry, some church buildings were specifically built as church assemblies, such as that opposite the emperor Diocletians palace in Nicomedia. The books of the Holy Scriptures were found, and they were committed to the flames, the utensils and furniture of the church were abandoned to pillage, all was rapine, tumult. That church, situated on rising ground, was within view of the palace, and Diocletian and Galerius stood, as if on a watchtower, disputing long whether it ought to be set on fire. The sentiment of Diocletian prevailed, who dreaded lest, so great a fire being once kindled, some part of the city might he burnt, for there were many and large buildings that surrounded the church. Then the Pretorian Guards came in battle array, with axes and other iron instruments, from the first to the early fourth centuries most Christian communities worshipped in private homes, often secretly
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite. Geologists use the marble to refer to metamorphosed limestone, however. Marble is commonly used for sculpture and as a building material and this stem is the basis for the English word marmoreal, meaning marble-like. In Hungarian it is called márvány, Marble is a rock resulting from metamorphism of sedimentary carbonate rocks, most commonly limestone or dolomite rock. Metamorphism causes variable recrystallization of the carbonate mineral grains. The resulting marble rock is composed of an interlocking mosaic of carbonate crystals. Primary sedimentary textures and structures of the carbonate rock have typically been modified or destroyed. Pure white marble is the result of metamorphism of a very pure limestone or dolomite protolith, green coloration is often due to serpentine resulting from originally magnesium-rich limestone or dolostone with silica impurities. These various impurities have been mobilized and recrystallized by the intense pressure, examples of historically notable marble varieties and locations, White marble has been prized for its use in sculptures since classical times.
This preference has to do with its softness, which made it easier to carve, relative isotropy and homogeneity, construction marble is a stone which is composed of calcite, dolomite or serpentine which is capable of taking a polish. More generally in construction, specifically the dimension stone trade, the marble is used for any crystalline calcitic rock useful as building stone. For example, Tennessee marble is really a dense granular fossiliferous gray to pink to maroon Ordovician limestone that geologists call the Holston Formation. Ashgabat, the city of Turkmenistan, was recorded in the 2013 Guinness Book of Records as having the worlds highest concentration of white marble buildings. According to the United States Geological Survey, U. S. domestic marble production in 2006 was 46,400 tons valued at about $18.1 million, compared to 72,300 tons valued at $18.9 million in 2005. Crushed marble production in 2006 was 11.8 million tons valued at $116 million, of which 6.5 million tons was finely ground calcium carbonate and the rest was construction aggregate.
For comparison,2005 crushed marble production was 7.76 million tons valued at $58.7 million, of which 4.8 million tons was finely ground calcium carbonate, U. S. dimension marble demand is about 1.3 million tons. The DSAN World Demand for Marble Index has shown a growth of 12% annually for the 2000–2006 period, the largest dimension marble application is tile. In 1998, marble production was dominated by 4 countries that accounted for almost half of production of marble
The word diocese is derived from the Greek term διοίκησις meaning administration. When now used in a sense, it refers to a territorial unit of administration. This structure of governance is known as episcopal polity. The word diocesan means relating or pertaining to a diocese and it can be used as a noun meaning the bishop who has the principal supervision of a diocese. An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese, an archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or have had importance due to size or historical significance. The archbishop may have authority over any other suffragan bishops. In the Latter Day Saint movement, the bishopric is used to describe the bishop himself. Especially in the Middle Ages, some bishops held political as well as religious authority within their dioceses, in the organization of the Roman Empire, the increasingly subdivided provinces were administratively associated in a larger unit, the diocese. With the adoption of Christianity as the Empires official religion in the 4th century, a formal church hierarchy was set up, parallel to the civil administration, whose areas of responsibility often coincided.
With the collapse of the Western Empire in the 5th century, a similar, though less pronounced, development occurred in the East, where the Roman administrative apparatus was largely retained by the Byzantine Empire. In modern times, many dioceses, though subdivided, have preserved the boundaries of a long-vanished Roman administrative division, modern usage of diocese tends to refer to the sphere of a bishops jurisdiction. As of January 2015, in the Catholic Church there are 2,851 regular dioceses,1 papal see,641 archdioceses and 2,209 dioceses in the world, in the Eastern rites in communion with the Pope, the equivalent unit is called an eparchy. Eastern Orthodoxy calls dioceses metropoleis in the Greek tradition or eparchies in the Slavic tradition, after the Reformation, the Church of England retained the existing diocesan structure which remains throughout the Anglican Communion. The one change is that the areas administered under the Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop of York are properly referred to as provinces and this usage is relatively common in the Anglican Communion.
Certain Lutheran denominations such as the Church of Sweden do have individual dioceses similar to Roman Catholics and these dioceses and archdioceses are under the government of a bishop. Other Lutheran bodies and synods that have dioceses and bishops include the Church of Denmark, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, the Evangelical Church in Germany, rather, it is divided into a middle judicatory. The Lutheran Church-International, based in Springfield, presently uses a traditional diocesan structure and its current president is Archbishop Robert W. Hotes. The Church of God in Christ has dioceses throughout the United States, in the COGIC, each state is divided up into at least three dioceses that are all led by a bishop, but some states as many as seven dioceses
A seal is a device for making an impression in wax, paper, or some other medium, including an embossment on paper, and is the impression thus made. The original purpose was to authenticate a document, a wrapper for one such as a modern envelope, the seal-making device is referred to as the seal matrix or die, the imprint it creates as the seal impression. In most traditional forms of dry seal the design on the matrix is in intaglio. The design on the impression will reverse that of the matrix and this will not be the case if paper is embossed from behind, where the matrix and impression read the same way, and both matrix and impression are in relief. However engraved gems were carved in relief, called cameo in this context. The process is essentially that of a mould and these pendent seal impressions dangled below the documents they authenticated, to which the attachment tag was sewn or otherwise attached. Some jurisdictions consider rubber stamps or specified signature-accompanying words such as seal or L. S. to be the equivalent of, i. e. an equally effective substitute for.
In Europe, although coats of arms and heraldic badges may well feature in such contexts as well as on seals, the study of seals is known as sigillography or sphragistics. Seals were used in the earliest civilizations and are of importance in archaeology. In ancient Mesopotamia carved or engraved cylinder seals in stone or other materials were used and these could be rolled along to create an impression on clay, and used as labels on consignments of trade goods, or for other purposes. They are normally hollow and it is presumed that they were worn on a string or chain round the neck, many have only images, often very finely carved, with no writing, while others have both. From Ancient Egypt seals in the form of signet-rings, including some with the names of kings, have been found, seals have come to light in South Arabia datable to the Himyarite age. One example shows a name written in Aramaic engraved in reverse so as to read correctly in the impression, from the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC until the Middle Ages, seals of various kinds were in production in the Aegean islands and mainland Greece.
In the Early Minoan age these were formed of stone and ivory. By the Middle Minoan age a new set for seal forms, hard stone requires new rotary carving techniques. The Late Bronze Age is the par excellence of the lens-shaped seal and the seal ring. These were a luxury art form and became keenly collected. His collection fell as booty to Pompey the Great, who deposited it in a temple in Rome, engraved gems continued to be produced and collected until the 19th century
Fresco is a technique of mural painting executed upon freshly-laid, or wet lime plaster. Water is used as the vehicle for the pigment to merge with the plaster, and with the setting of the plaster, the fresco technique has been employed since antiquity and is closely associated with Italian Renaissance painting. Buon fresco pigment mixed with water of temperature on a thin layer of wet, fresh plaster, for which the Italian word for plaster. Because of the makeup of the plaster, a binder is not required, as the pigment mixed solely with the water will sink into the intonaco. The pigment is absorbed by the wet plaster, after a number of hours, many artists sketched their compositions on this underlayer, which would never be seen, in a red pigment called sinopia, a name used to refer to these under-paintings. Later, new techniques for transferring paper drawings to the wall were developed. The main lines of a drawing made on paper were pricked over with a point, the paper held against the wall, if the painting was to be done over an existing fresco, the surface would be roughened to provide better adhesion.
This area is called the giornata, and the different day stages can usually be seen in a large fresco, buon frescoes are difficult to create because of the deadline associated with the drying plaster. Once a giornata is dried, no more buon fresco can be done, if mistakes have been made, it may be necessary to remove the whole intonaco for that area—or to change them later, a secco. An indispensable component of this process is the carbonatation of the lime, the eyes of the people of the School of Athens are sunken-in using this technique which causes the eyes to seem deeper and more pensive. Michelangelo used this technique as part of his trademark outlining of his central figures within his frescoes, in a wall-sized fresco, there may be ten to twenty or even more giornate, or separate areas of plaster. After five centuries, the giornate, which were nearly invisible, have sometimes become visible, and in many large-scale frescoes. Additionally, the border between giornate was often covered by an a secco painting, which has fallen off.
One of the first painters in the period to use this technique was the Isaac Master in the Upper Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi. A person who creates fresco is called a frescoist, a secco or fresco-secco painting is done on dry plaster. The pigments thus require a medium, such as egg. Blue was a problem, and skies and blue robes were often added a secco, because neither azurite blue nor lapis lazuli. By the end of the century this had largely displaced buon fresco
A synod /ˈsɪnəd/ historically is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. In modern usage, the word refers to the governing body of a particular church. It is used to refer to a church that is governed by a synod. The word synod comes from the Greek σύνοδος meaning assembly or meeting, synods were meetings of bishops, and the word is still used in that sense in Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Sometimes the phrase general synod or general council refers to an ecumenical council, the word synod refers to the standing council of high-ranking bishops governing some of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches. Similarly, the governance of patriarchal and major archiepiscopal Eastern Catholic Churches is entrusted to a permanent synod. The synod in the Western churches is similar, but it is distinguished by being limited to an assembly of bishops. The term is found among those Eastern Orthodox Churches that use a Slavic language, kievan Rus chronicles record the first known East Slavic church sobor as having taken place in Kiev in 1051.
Sobors were convened periodically from on, one notable assembly held in 1415 formed a separate metropoly for the church in the Grand Duchy of Lithuanian lands, such diocesan sobors may be held annually or only occasionally. However, in use and council are applied to specific categories of such meetings. A synod generally meets every three years and is designated an Ordinary General Assembly. However, Extraordinary synods can be called to deal with specific situations, there are Special synods for the Church in a specific geographic area such as the one held November 16-December 12,1997, for the Church in America. The pope serves as president of an assembly or appoints the president, determines the agenda, and summons, thereafter they continued by the hundreds into the sixth century. Those authorized by an emperor and often attended by him came to be called ecumenical, Council in Roman Catholic canon law typically refers to an irregular meeting of the entire episcopate of a nation, region, or the world for the purpose of legislation with binding force.
The pope alone has the right to convoke and dissolve an ecumenical council, he presides over it or chooses someone else to do so. The vacancy of the Holy See automatically suspends an ecumenical council, laws or teachings issued by an ecumenical council require the confirmation of the pope, who alone has the right to promulgate them. The role of the pope in a council is a distinct feature of the Catholic Church. Plenary councils, which are meetings of the episcopate of a nation, are convoked by the national episcopal conference
Gregory of Tours
Saint Gregory of Tours was a Gallo-Roman historian and Bishop of Tours, which made him a leading prelate of Gaul. He was born Georgius Florentius and added the name Gregorius in honour of his maternal great-grandfather and he is the primary contemporary source for Merovingian history. St. Martins tomb was a pilgrimage destination in the 6th century. Gregory was born in Clermont, in the Auvergne region of central Gaul, Gregory had several noted bishops and saints as close relatives, according to Gregory, he was connected to thirteen of the eighteen bishops of Tours preceding him by ties of kinship. Gregorys paternal grandmother, descended from Vettius Epagatus, the martyr of Lyons. His father evidently died while Gregory was young and his mother moved to Burgundy where she had property. Gregory went to live with his paternal uncle St. Gallus, Bishop of Clermont), under whom, Gregory received the clerical tonsure from Gallus. Having contracted an illness, he made a visit of devotion to the tomb of St.
Martin at Tours. Upon his recovery, he began to pursue a career and was ordained deacon by Avitus. Upon the death of St. Euphronius, he was chosen as Bishop by the clergy and people, who had been charmed with his piety, learning and he spent most of his career at Tours, although he assisted at the council of Paris in 577. The rough world he lived in was on the cusp of the world of Antiquity. Gregory lived on the border between the Frankish culture of the Merovingians to the north and the Gallo-Roman culture of the south of Gaul, at Tours, Gregory could not have been better placed to hear everything and meet everyone of influence in Merovingian culture. Tours lay on the highway of the navigable Loire. Five Roman roads radiated from Tours, which lay on the thoroughfare between the Frankish north and Aquitania, with Spain beyond. At Tours the Frankish influences of the north and the Gallo-Roman influences of the south had their chief contact, Gregory struggled through personal relations with four Frankish kings, Sigebert I, Chilperic I, and Childebert II and he personally knew most of the leading Franks.
Gregory wrote in Late Latin which departed from classical usage frequently in syntax, the Historia Francorum is in ten books. At this date Gregory had been bishop of Tours for two years, the second part, books V and VI, closes with Chilperic Is death in 584. During the years that Chilperic held Tours, relations between him and Gregory were tense, after hearing rumours that the Bishop of Tours had slandered his wife, Chilperic had Gregory arrested and tried for treason—a charge which threatened both Gregorys bishopric and his life
A baptismal font is an article of church furniture used for baptism. The fonts of many Christian denominations are for baptisms using an immersion method, the simplest of these fonts has a pedestal with a holder for a basin of water. The materials vary greatly consisting of carved and sculpted marble, many are eight-sided as a reminder of the new creation and as a connection to the practice of circumcision, which traditionally occurs on the eighth day. Some are three-sided as a reminder of the Holy Trinity, Son, in many churches of the Middle Ages and Renaissance there was a special chapel or even a separate building for housing the baptismal fonts, called a baptistery. Both fonts and baptisterys were often octagonal, saint Ambrose wrote that fonts and baptistries were octagonal because on the eighth day, by rising, Christ loosens the bondage of death and receives the dead from their graves. Saint Augustine similarly described the day as everlasting. Hallowed by the resurrection of Christ, the quantity of water is usually small.
There are some fonts where water pumps, a natural spring and this visual and audible image communicates a living waters aspect of baptism. Some church bodies use special holy water while others use water straight out of the tap to fill the font. A special silver vessel called a ewer can be used to fill the font, the mode of a baptism at a font is usually one of sprinkling, washing, or dipping in keeping with the Koine Greek verb βαπτιζω. Βαπτιζω can mean immerse, but most fonts are too small for that application, some fonts are large enough to allow the immersion of infants, however. The earliest baptismal fonts were designed for full immersion, and were often cross-shaped with steps leading down into them, often such baptismal pools were located in a separate building, called a baptistery, near the entrance of the church. As infant baptism became common, fonts became smaller. Full-immersion baptisms may take place in a tank or pool. The entire body is immersed, submerged or otherwise placed completely under the water.
This practice symbolizes the death of the old nature, as found in Romans 6, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, baptism is always by full triple immersion, even in the case of infant baptism. For this reason, Eastern baptismal fonts tend to be larger than Western, and are shaped like a large chalice. During the baptismal service, three candles will be lit on or around the font, in honor of the Holy Trinity
Porphyry is a textural term for an igneous rock consisting of large-grained crystals such as feldspar or quartz dispersed in a fine-grained silicate rich, generally aphanitic matrix or groundmass. The larger crystals are called phenocrysts, in its non-geologic, traditional use, the term porphyry refers to the purple-red form of this stone, valued for its appearance. The term porphyry is from Ancient Greek and means purple, purple was the color of royalty, and the imperial porphyry was a deep purple igneous rock with large crystals of plagioclase. Some authors claimed the rock was the hardest known in antiquity, Imperial grade porphyry was thus prized for monuments and building projects in Imperial Rome and later. Subsequently, the name was given to any igneous rocks with large crystals, the adjective porphyritic now refers to a certain texture of igneous rock regardless of its chemical and mineralogical composition. Its chief characteristic is a difference in size between the tiny matrix crystals and the much larger phenocrysts.
Porphyries may be aphanites or phanerites, that is, the groundmass may have invisibly small crystals as in basalt, or crystals easily distinguishable with the eye, most types of igneous rocks display some degree of porphyritic texture. Porphyry deposits are formed when a column of rising magma is cooled in two stages, in the first, the magma is cooled slowly deep in the crust, creating the large crystal grains with a diameter of 2 mm or more. In the second and final stage, the magma is cooled rapidly at relatively shallow depth or as it erupts from a volcano, the term porphyry is used for a mineral deposit called a copper porphyry. The different stages of cooling that create porphyritic textures in intrusive and this enrichment occurs in the porphyry itself, or in other related igneous rocks or surrounding country rocks, especially carbonate rock. Collectively, these type of deposits are known as porphyry copper deposits, rhomb porphyry is a volcanic rock with gray-white large porphyritic rhomb- shaped phenocrysts embedded in a very fine-grained red-brown matrix.
The composition of rhomb porphyry places it in the classification of the QAPF diagram. Rhomb porphyry lavas are known from three rift areas, the East African Rift, Mount Erebus near the Ross Sea in Antarctica. Plinys Natural History affirmed that the Imperial Porphyry had been discovered at a site in Egypt in AD18. This particular Imperial grade of porphyry came from a quarry in the Eastern Desert of Egypt. After the fourth century the quarry was lost to sight for many centuries, as early as 1850 BC on Crete in Minoan Knossos there were large column bases made of porphyry. Porphyry was used for the blocks of the Column of Constantine in Istanbul, list of rock textures Quartz-porphyry Sarcophagi of Helena and Constantina Tyrian purple Pictures of the Mons Porphyrites, Red Sea, Egypt. Rhomb porphyry lavas at the Wayback Machine Flash showing rhomb porphyry formation at the Wayback Machine
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, straddling the Arno just before it empties into the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the city of the Province of Pisa. Although Pisa is known worldwide for its tower, the city of over 90,834 residents contains more than 20 other historic churches, several medieval palaces. Much of the architecture was financed from its history as one of the Italian maritime republics. The origin of the name, Pisa, is a mystery, while the origin of the city had remained unknown for centuries, the Pelasgi, the Greeks, the Etruscans, and the Ligurians had variously been proposed as founders of the city. Archaeological remains from the 5th century BC confirmed the existence of a city at the sea, trading with Greeks, the presence of an Etruscan necropolis, discovered during excavations in the Arena Garibaldi in 1991, confirmed its Etruscan origins. Ancient Roman authors referred to Pisa as an old city, strabo referred Pisas origins to the mythical Nestor, king of Pylos, after the fall of Troy.
Virgil, in his Aeneid, states that Pisa was already a center by the times described. The Virgilian commentator Servius wrote that the Teuti, or Pelops, the maritime role of Pisa should have been already prominent if the ancient authorities ascribed to it the invention of the naval ram. Pisa took advantage of being the port along the western coast from Genoa to Ostia. Pisa served as a base for Roman naval expeditions against Ligurians, Gauls, in 180 BC, it became a Roman colony under Roman law, as Portus Pisanus. In 89 BC, Portus Pisanus became a municipium, Emperor Augustus fortified the colony into an important port and changed the name in Colonia Iulia obsequens. It is supposed that Pisa was founded on the shore, due to the alluvial sediments from the Arno and the Serchio, whose mouth lies about 11 kilometres north of the Arnos, the shore moved west. Strabo states that the city was 4.0 kilometres away from the coast, currently, it is located 9.7 kilometres from the coast. However it was a city, with ships sailing up the Arno.
In the 90s AD, a complex was built in the city. During the years of the Roman Empire, Pisa did not decline as much as the cities of Italy, probably thanks to the complexity of its river system. After Charlemagne had defeated the Lombards under the command of Desiderius in 774, Pisa went through a crisis, politically it became part of the duchy of Lucca
A sacrament is a Christian rite recognised as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites, many Christians consider the sacraments to be a visible symbol of the reality of God, as well as a means by which God enacts his grace. Sacraments signify Gods grace in a way that is observable to the participant. The Catholic Church recognises seven sacraments, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, many Protestant denominations, such as those within the Reformed tradition, identify two sacraments instituted by Christ, the Eucharist and Baptism. The Lutheran sacraments include these two, often adding Confession as a third sacrament, the English word sacrament is derived indirectly from the Ecclesiastical Latin sacrāmentum, from Latin sacrō, from sacer. This in turn is derived from the Greek New Testament word mysterion and these seven sacraments were codified in the documents of the Council of Trent, which stated, CANON I.
During the Middle Ages, sacraments were recorded in Latin, even after the Reformation, many ecclesiastical leaders continued using this practice into the 20th century. On occasion, Protestant ministers followed the same practice, since W was not part of the Latin alphabet, scribes only used it when dealing with names or places. In addition, names were modified to fit a Latin mold, for instance, the name Joseph would be rendered as Iosephus or Josephus. The Catholic Church indicates that the sacraments are necessary for salvation, the Church applies this teaching even to the sacrament of baptism, the gateway to the other sacraments. It states that Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and all those who, even without knowing Christ and the Church, still sincerely seek God and strive to do his will can be saved without Baptism. The Church in her liturgy entrusts children who die without Baptism to the mercy of God, in the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, the sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us.
The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions, the Church teaches that the effect of the sacraments comes ex opere operato, by the very fact of being administered, regardless of the personal holiness of the minister administering it. The sacraments presuppose faith and through their words and ritual elements, strengthen, through each of them, Christ bestows that sacraments particular grace, such as incorporation into Christ and the Church, forgiveness of sins, or consecration for a particular service. The Eastern Orthodox tradition does not limit the number of sacraments to seven, however it recognizes these seven as the major sacraments, which are completed by many other blessings and special services. Some lists of the sacraments taken from the Church Fathers include the consecration of a church, monastic tonsure, more specifically, for the Eastern Orthodox the term sacrament is a term which seeks to classify something that may, according to Orthodox thought, be impossible to classify.
According to Orthodox thinking God touches mankind through material means such as water, bread, incense, altars, how God does this is a mystery
Santa Costanza is a 4th-century church in Rome, Italy, on the Via Nomentana, which runs north-east out of the city. It is a building with well preserved original layout and mosaics. It has been built adjacent to a church, now in ruins. Santa Costanza and the old Saint Agnes were both constructed over the earlier catacombs in which Saint Agnes is believed to be buried. According to the view, Santa Costanza was built under Constantine I as a mausoleum for his daughter Constantina, also known as Constantia or Costanza. Fact is that the veneration of Constantina as Santa Costanza is only known from the 16th century onward, the larger of the two porphyry sarcophagi there would belong to Helena, and the smaller to Constantina, the opposite of what has been traditionally thought. The mausoleum is of form with an ambulatory surrounding a central dome. The fabric of Santa Costanza survives in essentially its original form, the vaults of the apses and ambulatory display well preserved examples of Late Roman mosaics. A key component which is missing from the scheme is the mosaic of the central dome.
In the sixteenth-century, watercolours were made of this central dome so the scheme can be hypothetically reconstructed. Santa Costanza is located a minutes walk to the side of the Via Nomentana, the road follows the ancient Roman route which runs north-east from Rome to Nomentum or Mentana. The basilica was originally a hall rather than a church in the modern sense. Of the original Basilica of St Agnese, only about a third of the outer wall survives, from the north side and the apse at the eastern end. This was assumed to be the structure that survives, but excavations in 1992 discovered an earlier building beneath, and the existing building is now dated to it around 350 AD, in the reign of Helenas husband, the Emperor Julian. Constantina had died in 354, and her sarcophagus was originally placed in the earlier building. The structure of Santa Costanza reflects its function as the mausoleum of one or both Constantines two daughters and Helena, rather than as the church it became much later.
The centralized design put direct physical emphasis on the person or place to be honored and was popular for mausoleums and it is built of brick-faced concrete and its structure is basically two rings supported by columns placed around a vertical central axis. The upper ring sits on the columns while the lower ring encloses a circular ambulatory whose space flows between the columns into the axial cylinder and this design essentially creates two spaces or two worlds, that of the ambulatory and that of the upper dome