San Sebastiano al Palatino

Architecture & Buildings

Europe, Italy, Rome

San Sebastiano al Palatino is a basilica church in Rome. It is devoted to Saint Sebastian, and is located on the Palatine Hill. According to legend, it is built on the site of its dedicatee's martyrdom, with the first church constructed in the 10th century, and the second (and present) church being the result of Pope Urban VIII's 1624 rebuild. That rebuild preserved the apse frescoes (of Christ between Saint Lawrence and Saint Stephen, Saint Sebastian and Saint Zoticus as deacons, and below them Our Lady flanked by angels) from the original church. Originally the church was known as Santa Maria in Pallara, after the Palladium, the ancient image of Athena from Troy which - along with some of the most sacred objects in pagan Rome - was allegedly kept in a pagan temple on the same site. American Cardinal John Foley is the church's Cardinal-Deacon, having been installed on November 25, 2007, the Feast of Christ the King, by Pope Benedict XVI at St. Peter's Basilica.