To Mamertine prison

Today, Mei Li stayed at the apartment as my two destinations didn’t particularly interest her. I walked down the hill to the Tiber and across to the Pyramid metro station and took a subway to the Coliseum. 

This is the scene immediately outside the metro station.

 Maybe a half mile walk along the Roman Forum and I was at the prison.

People were buying tickets to walk in the Forum, which is to the left.

A flyover by the air force as I walked. They were expecting me?!

Today it is one of many churches in the area and you could easily miss it. But I had it marked on my map and I didn’t have to pay to enter the forum to access the prison. It was 10 euros though for admission to the prison.

There are two churches built over the gloomy underground prison cells

I spent some time in this considering the cost of following Jesus. It is uncertain whether Peter was held here, but quite possible. Enemies of Rome were held here including Goths and Gauls and traitors. Some starved to death and some were strangled. Others were taken out and publicly executed. Paul may have been imprisoned here before he was executed at the Three Fountains, and Peter before he was executed at Nero’s circus on Vatican hill.

The upper prison room

The lower cell

The prison was built in the 7th century BC, not as a prison but a place of execution and detention before execution. It was used this way until the 4th century AD.

The prison and church today

The upper cell room was added in the 2nd century. The lower cell room was served by a round hole in the floor, which is still there, though fortunately there’s a staircase for access by pilgrims today.

In the third century, Palmatius was a consul to emperor Severus, and during a major city fire suggested to the emperor that the Christians be slaughtered to appease the Roman gods. However, he soon became converted to Christ, and when he would not recant, he had committed a crime worthy of death. Palmatius was here before he was executed along with his wife, children, and his whole extended family, totaling about 40.

Abundias and Abundantius were detained here in the late 3rd century. They refused to make sacrifices to Hercules as ordered by the emperor Diocletian. They were decapitated.

There is an altar right above the prison ceiling, and above that a very nice small church for prayer.

Altar above the upper cell

Today we talk about persecution but have experienced very little of it. And yet severe persecution is steadily increasing in many third world places. To sit and think about such things down in the lower prison cell is profitable. There may well be a cost to following Jesus. Even today, and even in Hutchinson.

Chapel above the prison and museum


Jesus said in Matthew 25 that Christians should expect persecution and even death because of Him. And the pressures of persecution will cause such division in the Body that some will betray and hate other Christians. In fact, MOST others will grow cold in their love for Christ because of the increase of wickedness. But we who are serious about following Jesus are to stand firm to the end regardless, and be saved. How committed to Jesus are you today? 


2 thoughts on “To Mamertine prison

  1. I enjoyed this post as we did not tour this… BUT …What about your health?
    We have all been praying for you and then not a word on how you are feeling or how the Doctor visit
    went. Talk about martyrs in Italy! How are you feeling?


    • Doing reasonably well but still on two meds and a device to hold me until I can see a specialist back home. We board ship tomorrow for a 12 day sail homeward. I will be working on my 2017 sermon planning at sea. Thanks for your correspondence on the blog!


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