The spread of Christianity in the Cimina area is linked, in its initial phase, to the Holy Martyr Eutizio (III-IV century), who, on a tuff hill not far from the town of Soriano, had catacombs built, to the burial of the dead.
Info: Parroccha S. Paolo della Croce (in S. Eutizio)
Via del Convento 18, Loc. S. Eutizio M, snc – 01038 Soriano nel C. (VT)
Tel. 0761/745064 – 320/3184839
CATACOMBS OF SAINT EUTIZIO
HISTORY AND DESCRIPTION
The spread of Christianity in the Cimina area is linked, in its initial phase, to the Holy Martyr Eutizio (III-IV century), who, on a tuff hill not far from the town of Soriano, had catacombs built, to the burial of the dead. The set of crypts, tunnels and sepulchral environments currently visible, however, constitutes only a part of the original catacomb complex, which is not very extensive; the other is still underground. It was the Passionist Father Germano Ruoppolo who noticed this and reported the discovery, at the end of the nineteenth century, a discovery supported by excavations carried out in 1959, which brought to light a vast sepulchral complex.
it is possible to access the catacombs via two entrances: one located on the square next to the sanctuary, the other inside the crypt which houses the remains of the saint. The external door is surmounted by a plaque that briefly introduces the history of the sepulchral area. Going down from the internal access to the church, you reach a small room where commemorative slabs are placed, the most recent dating back to 1996. A Renaissance arcosolium has a painting depicting Saint Eutizio at the top. The back wall of the first underground chamber shows a plaque, placed in memory of the ninth fiftieth anniversary of the discovery of the body of the Martyr (1496-1946) and flanked by two display cases bearing ex voto. An ancient marble slab extends higher over much of the masonry; it is a fragmentary Latin epigraph from the Roman period, which belonged to an “Augustus” (commemorative monument of Augustus and some members of his family), located in a nearby, but undefined, “Pagus Stellatinus”, as stated in the epigraph itself. In this first room there is a smaller sepulchral room than the previous one, where a sarcophagus and a cylindrical stone pile, dated 1615, are kept. Paying attention again to the first underground room, you can see sculpted marble fragments of a ciborium of the IX century, consisting of two columns with foliage capitals and a stretch of arch with a bas-relief depicted part of a peacock and an architrave with an inscription engraved, from which it is deduced that the church was embellished with marble artifacts by a bishop named Stephen. A door leads to other catacombs, as can be learned from the inscription “Coemeterium” at the top. Inside the cemetery there is a space, which is accessed via an iron gate, reserved for sepulchral niches arranged on several floors. The larger classroom, from which small corridors wind, is occupied by an interesting arcosolium, on which traces of paint can be perceived. On the left end there is an altar, surmounted by an eighteenth-century painting depicting St. Eutizio with the palm of martyrdom and an angel. Other Baroque-style paintings, such as a Crucifixion and figure of a Saint, decorate the walls of the catacombs. A further room houses some sarcophagi, containing human skeletons and bones. This space, crossed by a large round arch, which divides the room from the external entrance, preserves ancient capitals. In a small tunnel at the bottom, a stone sarcophagus is kept, in which the so-called “water of S. Eutizio” is collected, a dripping emanating from the above vault, which is attributed miraculous properties.
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