761 Church built on site of paternal home of Popes Stephen II and Paul I. (The site had certainly previously been built upon in imperial times. Conjectures include that it may have been the actual spot where the Naumachia of the Campus Martius, the artificial lake for naval exercises, was situated or that it was part of the Emperor Aurelian’s Temple of the Sun). to house relics of the martyrs from the catacombs which were outside the Roman Aurelian Walls, to save them from being pillaged. The church was dedicated to Popes St. Sylvester I, Stephen I and Denis. The church and monastery were entrusted to Greek monks following the Rule of St. Basil, succeeded by Benedictines (sometime between the 10th and 12th centuries) who built the bell-tower and did some restoration work.
799 (April 25th) Pope Saint Leo III attacked outside the church of San Silvestro and, according to one version dragged inside, attacked again and imprisoned there, before being transferred to the monastery of St. Erasmus, from which he was freed.
858 (April 24th) Election of Pope Saint Nicholas I (Nicholas the Great) in San Silvestro.
1192/1194 Date from when 'in Capite', referring to the relic of the head of St. John the Baptist, first recorded as part of the church's title
1285 Church and monastery entrusted to Poor Clare nuns.
1517 Church designated a titular church for a cardinal, with the title of Cardinal Priest of San Silvestro in Capite.
1593-1601 Restoration of the monastery and construction of the new church
1680-1696 Baroque decoration of the interior of the church, including the construction of the elliptical cupola and the six side chapels, featuring works by artists including Orazio Gentileschi, Ludovico Gimignani, Francesco Trevisani, Cristofero Roncalli ("Il Pomarancio") and Giacinto Brandi.
1796 (July 11th, for 7 or 8 days) The eyes of the Our Lady in the paintings of the Immaculate Conception (chapel on left nearest the high altar) and of the Descent of the Holy Spirit (the opposite chapel on the right) are seen to move. The same phenomenon happened over six months with 26 different images of Our Lady in Rome. After serious investigation by the competent Church authorities of the time these phenomena were accepted as authentically supernatural.
1870 (Sept. 19th) Relics of the Veil of Edessa and the head of St. John the Baptist transferred to the Vatican for safekeeping.
Church and monastery used for a period as a barracks by the nationalist forces of Mazzini and Garibaldi.
1871 Expropriation of the monastery by the Italian State (with three successive royal decrees of 4 March 1871, 26 January 1873 and 31 October 1873), becoming the Central Post Office in 1879
1885 Designated by Pope Leo XIII as the church for people of the English language in the Diocese of Rome and entrusted to the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottine Priests and Brothers).
1904 Relic of the head of St. John the Baptist returned to the church from the Vatican
1906 Excavation of the present crypt.
1909 Meeting in the Chapter Room of the church during which the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottine Priests and Brothers) divided into 4 Provinces (Italian, German, American & Irish), with San Silvestro in Capite, as the church for English-speaking people in Rome, entrusted to the Irish Province.
1949 Official opening of the San Silvestro Center for English-speaking people by Mons. Giovanni-Battista Montini, who became Pope Paul VI in 1963.
1976 (October) Opening of the LINK Community
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