On a recent holiday backpacking through Italy I had the chance to visit Rome for the first time, where I took this fantastic opportunity to complete the Seven Church Pilgrimage.
A book on the pilgrimage to the seven churches published in 1694 describes it as ‘a pilgrimage peradventure the most celebrated after Calvary and the Sepulchre of Christ’, and is an old medieval tradition that was revived and promoted by St Philip Neri in the sixteenth century. St Philip and his companions would set out to visit the four major basilicas of Rome, as well as the three more significant minor basilicas. They would pack picnic lunches, sing hymns, and pray litanies along the way, stopping occasionally to rest, and pausing at each of the seven basilicas for catechesis and prayer. They would start at St Peter’s walking south to St Paul’s Outside the walls beyond the city outskirts, and then across to the tomb of St Sebastian on the Appian way, back into the city to St john Lateran, up a short way to the Holy Cross of Jerusalem, heading out again to St Lawrence Outside the Walls, before finally ending in the city at St Mary’s Major.
Over the next several posts I will be sharing my journey with clips and relfections of my experience.