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Sabina of Rome, St.


Early Christian martyr and patron of the title church of St. Sabina. Under Pope celestine i (d. 432) the priest Peter of Illyria built a church on the Aventine hill in Rome that in the fifth century was referred to as the titulus Sabinae and became the titulus sanctae Sabinae in the sixth century. A legendary passio, also of the sixth century, describes a Sabina as a widow who together with a Christian Serapia of Antioch (feast: July 29) lived "in the town of the Vendinenses" and was martyred and buried there "ad arcum Faustini." As these locations are unknown to modern archeologists, there is a possibility of a text corruption. However, it is known that the original title of the Roman churches was frequently interpreted by later generations to signify a saint whom the Church honored, instead of the donor or the site of the original church. This confusion was perpetuated in the case of Sabina by the inclusion in the martyrology of st. jerome (475) of a virgin and martyr; thence the notice spread to the Capitulary of Würzburg, the St. Gall Sacramentary of Gelasius, and the Gregorian Sacramentary.

Feast: Aug. 29.

Bibliography: alipio da celleligure, S. Sabina di Samo (Genoa 1971). a. amore, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 9:195. Acta Sanctorum (Paris 1863) August 6:496504. Bibliotheca hagiographica latina antiquae ct mediae aetatis, 2 v. (Brussels 18981901; suppl. 1911) 7407. m. d. darsy, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienneet de liturgie, ed. f. cabrol, h. leclercq and h. i. marrou, 15 v. (Paris 190753) 15.1:218238.

[e. hoade]

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