Project of church in Colosseum | Photo: Manuele Cordisco
Colosseum is considered proof of the power and engineering genius of the ancient Romans. On the other hand, thousands of animals and people died in the arena of this monstrous building. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the amphitheatre stone was used as building blocks for other structures in the city.
In the 16th century, the chapel of Santa Maria della Pieta was built in the amphitheatre, which is still in operation today. Interestingly, in the 18th century, the sculptor and architect Carlo Fontana presented a more ambitious project – building a church on the Colosseum arena. It was to be a monument to the Christians who were to die in the arena because of their faith in Christ. Importantly, we do not have any documents that would confirm the mass execution of Christians on the sands of the Colosseum because of their faith. Of course, such cases cannot be excluded, but the image presented by the Church over the centuries is far too exaggerated, and the Colosseum has become a symbol of the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire.
Finally, for political and economic reasons, the arena church building project was abandoned.
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