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Enter into the shadows of the Roman catacombs where early Christians attended Mass and hid in fear from Roman soldiers seeking their death for refusing to renounce the Christian Faith.
You’ll read dramatic acts of faith and courage as Fr. James Spencer Northcote, the world-renowned 19th-century expert on the catacombs, relates the intense belowground life of the catacombs.
For over three centuries, Christians buried their dead in often elaborate crypts hollowed out for them underground by fossors — designated diggers whose status was just below that of deacons and priests.
With scores of maps and illustrations in these pages, you’ll see that the architecture of many crypts was as elaborate as buildings above-ground, creating under the streets and fields of Rome a second-city—indeed, a Christian city in the very heart of pagan Rome—graced with broad underground tunnels and large rooms where assemblies could be held.
In good times and in bad, during peace and during persecutions, the catacombs were central to the vibrant life of the early Church, whose history is here retold from its creation to its eventual decline, loss, and then, hundreds of years later, its rediscovery.