St Agnes: Patron Saint of Chastity
The Baroque church of Sant' Agnese in Agone was commissioned by Pope Innocent X (r. 1644-55) and stands on the site of a much older church dedicated to St Agnes, who, according to popular belief, was martyred on this spot. There is a solitary statue of the saint perched high up on the facade of the church.
St Agnes (c.291 - c.304) was martyred when she was only twelve or thirteen years old. Her attribute is a lamb, probably on account of the similarity of her name to the Latin agnus (lamb). However, this is a false derivation, for Agnes comes from the Greek word meaning chaste.
St Agnes is the patron saint of maidens and virgins. Her feast day is on January 21st.
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My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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