Dominican in Rome
The church and convent of Santa Sabina on the Aventine hill in Rome have been home to the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) since the 13th century. At that time the church and associated buildings formed part of the holdings of the Savelli family. A Savelli Pope, Honorius III, approved the Order in 1216. He was deeply impressed with these “athletes of the faith and true light of the world.” In 1219 Honorius III gave the Order of Preachers the use of his family church. The church was given to the Order in perpetuity on June 5 1222.
Many wealthy and noble Roman families made their homes on the Aventine hill during the time of the Roman Empire, two thousand years ago. The hill which rises some 50 metres above the Tiber was home to many magnificent Roman buildings. Among these was the home of a Roman lady named Sabine, who had embraced the Christian faith.
According to many accounts she was martyred around the year 125, during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian. Her home became a shrine to the faith she professed. In 422, after the destruction wrought by Alaric and the Goths in 410, a church was built on the remains of Sabine’s home. That is the same church Honorius III handed to the Order of Preachers in 1219, the same church which has weathered the crises of centuries, the same church you see here.