Initiation to Christian Archaeology: Weekend English-language course in Rome (November 2018 – March 2019)

Initiation to Christian Archaeology: English-language program for 2018-2019 (also held in Italian)
Moderator: Professor Fabrizio Bisconti, Superintendent of Catacombs for the Vatican.
Instructors: Olof Brandt, Carlo Dell'Osso, Stefan Heid, Lucrezia Spera, Gabriele Castiglia, Chiara Cecalupo, and Giovanna Ferri.

The course "Initiation (introduction) to Christian Archaeology" was launched at the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology (PIAC) in Rome in 1960 to disseminate knowledge of the early Christian monuments of Rome along with important references to the other regions of the Orbis christianus antiquus. As an overview of the origins and the development of the first Christian communities up to the time of Pope Gregory the Great (590-604), the course contributes to the formation of instructors of Church History and teachers and students of related subjects.
The classes meet on Saturdays from November to March and include on-site visits to catacombs, churches and museums in Rome and environs, giving students the chance to study monuments and collections that are not so well known and often closed to the general public. Each student will be given a card – distributed by the PIAC – valid for the year of the course (though not for access to the Institute library), along with a badge – provided separately by the PCAS (Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology) – to be used until the end of the academic year for free admission to all the catacombs open to public (S. Callisto, S. Sebastiano, Domitilla, Priscilla, S. Agnese, S. Cristina di Bolsena, S. Gennaro di Napoli, S. Senatore ad Albano). Also, the card and the badge entitle the bearer to a 10% discount on the PIAC publications. 

The course is open to college students and others in possession of at least a high school diploma. The course registration period is from October 1st to November 5th, 2018, during the PIAC's office hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 9 A.M. – 6 P.M.; Thursday and Friday, 9 A.M. – 2 P.M. Two passport photos are required and the course tuition is 300 euros. The fee for the final
exam and diploma is 60 euros.

Contact information: Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology - Via Napoleone III, 1 – I-00185 Rome - Tel. +39.06.44 65 574 – Fax +39.06.44 69 197 email: – Website:

Calendar of Lessons and Visits

Saturday 10 November, h. 9.30-11.30 A.M. C. DELL’OSSO: Course overview and Introduction
to Christian Archaeology
Saturday 17 November, h. 9.30-11.30 A.M. G. CASTIGLIA: From Classical to Christian Town
Saturday 24 November, h. 9.30-11.30 A.M. G. CASTIGLIA: The Catacombs: Origins and Typologies

Saturday 1 December, h. 9.30-11.30 A.M. L. SPERA: The Christianisation of Rome and visit to the Crypta Balbi museum
Saturday 15 December, h. 9.30-11.30 A.M. S. HEID, Roman Hagiography and Liturgy

Saturday 12 January, h. 9.30-11.30 A.M. C. DELL’OSSO: Patristic Sources
Saturday 19 January, h. 9.30 A.M. Visit to the Coemeterium Maius
Saturday 26 January, h. 9.30-11.30 A.M. C. CECALUPO: Funerary Laws and Rites

Saturday 2 February, h. 9.30-11.30 A.M. O. BRANDT: The Development of Christian Architecture
Saturday 9 February, h. 9.30 A.M. Visit to the necropolis of Isola Sacra
Saturday 16 February, h. 9.30 A.M. Visit to the church of Santa Pudenziana
Saturday 23 February, h. 9.30-11.30 A.M. G. CASTIGLIA: Origins and Development of Christian Epigraphy

Saturday 2 March, h. 9.30 A.M. Visit to the cloister and lapidary of San Lorenzo fuori le mura
Saturday 9 March, h. 9.30-11.30 A.M. G. FERRI, Reading Ancient Images. Paintings,
Mosaics, Sarcophagi
Saturday 16 March, h. 9.30 A.M. Visit to the catacombs of Via Anapo
Saturday 23 March, h. 8.30 EXAMS