19 SeptemberApse Spire-G36

The story of San Sabazio is related to that of Saints and Martyrs Trofimo and Dorimedonte (Trophimus and Dorimedont), who were killed during the reign of Emperor Aurelius Probus (276-282). Scholars consider the passio, which relates the story of the three, as doubtful, both due to the many affinities with other stories of passios, and for the relative peace experienced by Christians under Emperor Aurelius Probus. The story goes that Trofimo and Sabazio were in Antioch when the emperor’s edict was issued, requiring Christians to make sacrifice to pagan gods. Having refused to follow this practice, they were arrested, tried and tortured so ferociously that Sabazio died. Trofimo survived and was imprisoned, receiving the visits of Dorimedonte, a Christian senator who was soon imprisoned with him for refusing to burn incense to Castor and Pollux. They were both beheaded. Combining reality and legend, the story of these three saints bears witness to the increasing number of conversions to Christianity on the part of eastern princes and rulers, even including a Senator. The empire was being transformed from the inside, and would not be able to stop a faith issuing from palaces, villas, universities and squares, from Persia to Portugal. The statue currently on Spire G36 is a copy made in 1987, whose author is unknown. Perhaps it is a marble work of the Fabbrica. This theory is also underpinned by documents of the Archives, which inform us that the original statue of San Sabazio Martyr, a 19th century work by Giuseppe Buzzi, was carried to the marble workers’ site in 1907 to be copied.