Where in the bible?
Rome is mentioned in multiple places, including Acts 23:11 (NKJV below)
But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”
Readers can feel the presence of Rome in every line of the New Testament. Even when the setting is far away from the Italian capital, every place that appears in the New Testament falls under Roman rule.
Rome conquered much of the Mediterranean world between the writing of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Emperor Caesar Augustus’ census decree led to Jesus’ birth in a manger. From there, the connection continues, with trips to the city by early Christians and even one New Testament book titled Romans.
The city that appears so prominently in the Bible still holds tight to its Christian roots with ancient churches seemingly on every corner. Faith-based groups could stay a month in Rome and see only a mere fraction of its 900 churches.
As the home of Vatican City, Rome is considered by many Roman Catholics to be one of the holiest places. However, the Christian history of the city breaks through denominational barriers. All faith-based groups can enjoy Rome’s incredible religious art, early Christian historic sites and preserved Roman ruins.
To get a sense of the wider history of the Roman Empire, groups can visit the Capitoline Museum, the Roman Forum and the Pantheon. Each site provides insight into life during the days of early Christianity, as well as how the religion grew to become the official religion of the Roman Empire under Constantine the Great.
However, the delights of the Eternal City go beyond the past. Once travel restrictions lift, faith-based groups can choose what interests them, from art museums like the Borghese Gallery and Museum to decadent Italian meals in a piazza.
Top Attractions for Church Groups:
- Vatican City — Visitors gazing up at the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling in Vatican City gape open-mouthed at the artistic spectacle. In Vatican City, groups can admire some of the world’s most famous religious works at St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums. Groups can even book an audience with the pope for a prayer-filled event.
- Roman Forum — The destiny of large sections of Europe was frequently decided on Palatine Hill, where portions of the Roman Forum still stand. Groups can discover the fascinating history and compelling characters from the days when Rome reigned supreme.
- San Pietro in Vincoli — Though Christians can quickly become overwhelmed by the number of awe-inspiring churches in Rome, a favorite for many visitors is San Pietro in Vincoli, or Peter in Chains. Best known for its Michelangelo statue of Moses, the fifth-century basilica was built to house the shackles of St. Peter, a relic displayed under the altar.
- Catacombs of St. Callixtus — The tombs of 16 popes, dozens of martyrs and thousands of Christians lie inside these catacombs. Tours explore the tunnels and highlight details of early Christian life in Rome.
- Colosseum — Many speculate that some of the two centuries of Christian persecution in Rome took place inside the iconic Colosseum. Guided tours reveal the bloody past of the remarkably preserved amphitheater that began construction in A.D. 72.
Must-Do: Throw coins into Trevi Fountain to follow the local legend in the hope that the thrower will one day return to the Eternal City
Must-Taste: Taste the creamy flavors of gelato, a local ice cream specialty served throughout Rome
Bring It Home: Shop for the city’s abundant religious art, such as Christian-themed statues, crosses and rosaries
Photo Op: Gaze over the ancient architecture of Rome from the top of Janiculum Hill. The hill is also well known as the location of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, a fifth-century church devoted to the Roman martyr St. Cecilia.