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The catacombs

“While the catacombs depict the eloquent features of Christian life in the first centuries, they are also aperennial school of faith, hope and charity.
Walking through their tunnels, we breathe an evocative and moving atmosphere. Our gaze pauses on the innumerable series of tombs and on the simplicity they have in common. On the tombs we read the baptismal names of the deceased. As we run through those names, we seem to hear as many voices answering an eschatological call, and we remember the words of Lactantius: "There are neither servants nor masters among us; there is no reason for us to call ourselves brothers, except that we consider ourselves all equals" (Divinae Instit., 5: 15).”(John Paul II, “The Christian catacombs are a school of faith, hope and love”)

"The catacombs express the solidarity that united brothers and sisters in the faith: the offerings of each one permitted the burial of all the deceased, even the poorest who could not afford the expense of purchasing and preparing a tomb. Thiscollective charity was one of the strong points of the early Christian communities and shielded them from the temptation to return to the ancient forms of religion.”(John Paul II, “The Christian catacombs are a school of faith, hope and love”)

 

 

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