The Chiesa di Santa Maria in Palmis, better known as Chiesa del Domine Quo Vadis (literally, the Church of "Lord, Where Are You Going?") is a small church on the Appian Way in Rome.
History of the Domine Quo Vadis Chapel
The Chiesa del Domine Quo Vadis is located on the spot where tradition says Saint Peter had a vision of the risen Christ while fleeing persecution in Rome. According to the apocryphal Acts of Peter, Peter was surprised to see Jesus and asked him:
And Jesus answered:
This convinced Peter to turn around and face crucifixion himself in Rome.
Evidence for the presence of the Apostle Peter in this area, where he is said to have lived, includes an epigraph in the catacombs of Saint Sebastian that reads "Domus Petri" (house of Peter) and an epigram by Pope Damasus I (366-384): "You that are looking for the names of Peter and Paul, You must know that the saints have lived here".
There has been a sanctuary on this spot since at least the 9th century, perhaps even earlier. The first sanctuary may have been a Christian version of an already existing temple - the church is located just in front of the sacred Campus dedicated to Rediculum, the "God of the return."
This campus hosted a sanctuary for the cult of the god that received devotion by travelers before their departure, especially by those who were going to face long and dangerous journeys towards far places like Egypt, Greece or the East (and the travelers who returned always stopped to thank the god of the happy outcome of the journey).
The position of the sanctuary in Campus Rediculi was ideal, first of all because the ancient Appian way was the most important among the Roman "consular" roads, secondarily because from this location the traveller could give the last look to the walls of Rome.
The current church dates from 1637.
What to See at the Domine Quo Vadis Chapel
The Chiesa del Domine Quo Vadis is on the Appian way (Via Appia), about 800 m from the St. Sebastian Gate (Porta San Sebastiano), where the Via Ardeatina branches off the Appian Way.
The two footprints on a marble slab at the center of the church (copy of a relief conserved in the nearby Basilica of San Sebastiano) are said to have been miraculously left by Jesus. The official name of the church is Chiesa di Santa Maria in Palmis, where palmis refers to the soles of Jesus' feet.
There was an inscription above the front door on the façade, saying:
Pope Gregory XVI found it so inappropriate (effectively being advertising) that he ordered its removal in 1845.
In 1983 Pope John Paul II defined the chapel as "a place that has a special importance in the history of Rome and in the history of the Church."
Quick Facts on the Domine Quo Vadis Chapel
|Names:||Chiesa del Domine Quo Vadis · Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Piante · Domine Quo Vadis · Domine Quo Vadis Chapel · Santa Maria in Palmis · St. Mary in Palmis|
|Dates:||9th C; rebuilt 1637|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||41.866492° N, 12.503730° E|
|Address:||Via Appia Antica 51|
|Lodging:||View hotels near the Domine Quo Vadis Chapel|
- Domine Quo Vadis - Wikipedia (some text incorporated under GFDL)
- Domine Quo Vadis - The Churches of Rome
- Photos of the Domine Quo Vadis Chapel - here on Sacred Destinations
Map of the Domine Quo Vadis Chapel, Rome
Below is a location map and aerial view of the Domine Quo Vadis Chapel. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.