Europe: Day 10: Sabbath in Rome

We woke up at 8am today to hit church at 10am.  We were out the door at 8:45.  We walked to the Spanish steps again and took the subway to the end of the line,  Bastini.  At Bastini, was another 20 minute walk uphill to church.  At church, we were greeted by many Italian and English-speaking members.  We were given headphones, and one of the missionaries sat in the back and translated everything for us.  This was my first experience with translation in the church.  I was very grateful for the accommodations they made for us.   The Sunday school lesson was on sacrifice and how our lives should be living sacrifices.  Also, that merely the act of doing something is not a sacrifice because it was not necessarily made sacred.  For true sacrifice, the intent of the act must also be for the Lord.  Great talk.

The ward was much bigger than we expected.  It looked like the chapel was filled with maybe over a 100-150 members.  Afterwards, we met up with a local member, Gabrielle, who described his experience with the world cup.  Italy just won the world cup a week before.  He said it was one of the most exciting events of his life.  Afterwards he drove around holding the Italian flag and others were doing the same thing.  When they would see each other, they would erupt in a patriotic yell all over town.

After church, we came straight home to change out of our church clothes due to the hot weather.  I still had to wear pants because we were going to visit various churches. 

We first visited the Pantheon.  This is the best surviving building from ancient Rome.  It was converted into a church at some point, but keeps much of its original splendor.  It’s amazing that the Roman people were able to make this structure without any modern technology like computers back 2000 years ago.  The dome is perfectly round and is the inspiration for most domes that we know about including the dome on Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Capitol Building.  Inside the dome, the pattern of reliefs also reminded me of the domes at MIT.

Next, we visited a church where Caravelli had painted several scenes of Matthew.  One was him getting called to as an Apostle, another was of him writing the book of Matthew, and the final scene was his martyrdom.  We also visited a church, where legend has it that Galileo visited right before attending the Inquisition to renounce his theory that the earth revolved around the sun. 

After our tour of local churches, we went to the Diocletian Baths.  These were public baths in Ancient Rome.  An enormous building that allowed thousands of Romans to take baths together.   It seemed like it was more of a public pool.  It said that many Romans would visit the bath daily.  I can certainly see why with the heat.  As with anything else splendid in Ancient Rome, this heathen structure was turned into another church.  The church was admittedly magnificent.  In this church was also a Brass Rod embedded in the marble floor.  It was a Meridian that pointed north.  There was a hole in the ceiling that caused a laser like sunbeam to be cast down on various places on the line depending on the season.  There were astrological signs next to parts of the line that would be visible in the corresponding seasons.  This church also housed a statue of Jesus by Rafael.

Finally, we took the subway to the Villa Borghese which is like the Central Park of Rome.  It was a bit anticlimactic until we got to the roller bladers.  There was one old man (probably in his 50’s or 60’s) that would tie a pair of ropes parallel to the ground about 1.5 feet above the ground, and about 10 feet apart.  At first, I thought he was going to try and jump over both ropes (which would be quite a feat for even a young man.  It ended up that he would speed toward the rope as fast as he could, then do the splits, skidding across the ground and ducking underneath both ropes as he spun around.  I can not express my disbelief when I first saw this.  I think Tenille got it on video.  Ask her to see the clips. 

We got home fairly early today (around 8:30) and talked to Caleb via Messenger.  They are going to the boat today which made Tenille nervous as Caleb has a dangerous affinity for water.  Tenille also did our laundry , the old school way in the sink, then we hung up all our clothes.  I finally got to use my boy scout knots.  I used a clove hitch and a taut line.  It may not be the right knots, but it looks like it’s doing the job.  We’ll see if the clothes are still off the ground tomorrow.


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