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Saint Praxedes and the Church which met in her house in Rome


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The article presents and analyzes fragments of the story of Saint Praxedes, leader of a domestic church in 1st century in Rome, and their resignification over the centuries, mainly under Pope Paschal I (9th century), in the context of church and women history. The research is based on hagiographic stories written in the 5th and 13th centuries, in visualities (re)built in the 9th and 13th centuries, and in commentaries of theorists of the areas of theology, history, and ancient and medieval arts. Exegetically and hermeneutically, it weaves "continuity webs" between Saint Praxedes' ecclesial functions as a missionary-deacon and the diaconal and apostolic missionary leadership of women in Rom 16.1-16. It contextualizes historically the reconstructions of Saint Praxedes' images, of the imagination and devotion of holy martyrs into political religious fights and conflicts, both internal (iconoclasm) and external (Islam). It elaborates and actualizes considerations about sanctity and spirituality of Christian socio-ecclesial ministries and praxis, demonstrating the indispensable participation and leadership of women.

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