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Susanna, St.


Roman martyr, first mentioned by the pagan poet Claudius Claudianus in 401 (Monumenta Germaniae Historica [Berlin 1826 ], Auctores antiquissimi 10.340), if the reference is authentic, which can be doubted. In the martyrology of st. jerome she is recorded on August 11 "ad duas domos," beside the Diocletian Baths, where the Church of St. Susanna still stands. A "Titulus of Gaius" is mentioned in the Roman Synod of 499; and in that of 595 it is recorded as that of Susanna. In the sixth century the name of Susanna appears in a legendary passio, according to which Susanna was the daughter of the priest Gabinius, brother of Bishop Gaius, and cousin of the Emperor Diocletian. When asked in marriage by the emperor's son, she refused and was beheaded.

This does not determine the identity of Susanna venerated in the Titulus. L. Duchesne proposed the Susanna of Daniel 13, and denies the historical existence of the martyr Susanna. No itinerary or other document except the passio speaks of her tomb. Lanzoni and H. Delehaye suggested the Susanna mentioned in Luke 8.3; while Franchi de'Cavalieri maintained that she was confused with a nonmartyr, daughter of the priest Gabinius and buried in the same titulus; the invasion of the Goths destroyed the tomb and the cult (537). This hypothesis has been rejected by A. Amore. The evidence thus far adduced indicates that at the titulus "ad duas domos" there was a tomb of a Susanna, the daughter of the priest Gabinius, and it was believed that she was a martyr. The modern church, a 17th-century partial reconstruction by Cardinal Carlo Moderno, is conducted by the Paulist Fathers as the Church for American Catholics in Rome.

Feast: Aug. 11.

Bibliography: Bibliotheca hagiographica latina antiquae et mediae aetatis, 2 v. (Brussels 18981901; suppl. 1911) 2:7937. Acta Sanctorum Aug. 2:624632. l. duchesne, Mélanges d'archéologie et d'histoire 36 (191617) 2742. l. rÉau, Iconographie de l'art chrétien, 6 v. (Paris 195559) 3.3:124041. f. lan zoni, Revista di archeologia cristiana 2 (Rome 1925) 228234. h. delehaye, Les Origines du culte des martyrs (2d ed. Brussels 1933) 435. p. franchi de'cavalieri, "S. Susanna el il Titulus Gai," Note agiografiche 7 (Studi e Testi 49; Rome 1928) 185202. a. amore, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765); suppl., Das Zweite-Vatikanische Konzil: Dokumente und Kommentare, ed. h. s. brechter et al., pt. 1 (1966) 9:1196; Antonianum 39 (1964) 3742;.

[e. hoade]

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