Santa Sabina, Rome

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Santa Sabina is the best surviving example of an early Christian church in Rome. It dates from about 430, including its magnificent cypress doors carved with biblical scenes.

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Santa Sabina
Piazza Pietro d'Iliria
Rome, Italy
41.884534° N, 12.479804° E
Date Published
October 8, 2013
Last Updated
April 11, 2015


  • Construction begins on the church of Santa Sabina atop the Aventine Hill in Rome, on the site of the Temple of Juno Regina (whose columns are reused in the church). The church is an expansion of a Roman house-church owned by a woman named Sabina. The new church is funded by the presbyter Peter of Illyria, who recorded his name in a dedicatory inscription that can still be seen in the church.

  • Completion of Santa Sabina in Rome.

  • Restoration of Santa Sabina under Pope Leo III (795-816).

  • The archpresbyter Eugenius II makes some improvements to Santa Sabina in Rome, adding the marble furniture of the chancel and enshrining the relics of three saints in the high altar: Alexander, Theodolus and Eventius.

  • Santa Sabina is given to the newly-created Dominican Order, in whose care it remains today.

  • Major remodeling of Santa Sabina's interior in the Renaissance style under Pope Sixtus V (1585-90).

  • Restoration of Santa Sabina in Rome, which includes reversing the Renaissance makeover of the 1580s, reconstructing all the original windows and piecing together the marble chancel furniture from fragments found in the pavement.


  1. The Churches and Catacombs of Early Christian Rome: A Comprehensive Guide Includes guide to panels of cypress door, with biblical references, and a translation of mosaic inscription.