Santa Maria in Trestevere
As Jim notes in his introduction to the photo journal, Merton traveled to Rome in 1933 when he was 18 years old and was especially drawn to the ancient churches and the art from Christianity’s first millennium.
“I was fascinated by these Byzantine mosaics. I began to haunt the churches where they were to be found, and ... all the other churches [among them Saints Cosmas and Damian, Santa Maria Maggiore, Santa Sabina, the Lateran, and Santa Costanza] that were more or less of the same period.... Without knowing anything about it, I became a pilgrim.” (Seven Story Mountain)
Jim’s own pilgrimage through these same churches is extraordinary, with references to the particular Churches and icons that Merton mentioned in his autobiography. The Flickr photo journal is here.
Jim Forest is the author of a number of books about Merton, and the recent, “Praying with Icons”. Thanks, Jim, for sharing your photographs, they are wonderful!