The House Of Pudens -- By: Egbert C. Smyth

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 032:125 (Jan 1875)
Article: The House Of Pudens
Author: Egbert C. Smyth


The House Of Pudens

Rev. Egbert C. Smyth

Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens and Linus and Claudia. So writes the apostle Paul to Timothy. Of Eubulus nothing farther is known. Linus appears in the catalogues of Roman bishops. Around the names of Pudens and Claudia cluster many traditions and conjectures. Some of these it is worth while to consider.

According to Baronius, an eminent Roman Catholic historian of the sixteenth century, Pudens was of senatorial rank, and the father of two sons and two daughters, Novatus and Timotheus, Praxedis and Pudentiana. His house was situated at the foot of the Viminal hill, near the Esquiline, and was the place where Christians were in the habit of assembling.

In certain ancient documents, called the Acts of Pastor, it is recorded that Pudens, after the death of his wife, desired that his house should be consecrated as a church, and that this was done; that subsequently, at his daughters’ request, a baptistery was constructed there; that these daughters gathered together their slaves, both from the city and from their country possessions, and gave liberty to those who were Christians, and exhorted those who were not to faith in the holy law of Christ, and that the act of manumission was celebrated in the title (church) established by Pudens; that there, also, in a time of persecution, Praxedis and Pudentiana sheltered those who through their instrumentality had become believers; and that afterwards, when the latter, and her brother Novatus also, were dead, his property, with the consent of Timotheus, passed into the hands of Praxedis, by whose request the thermae, or baths, of Novatus, which are described as spacious and no longer in use, were consecrated as a church, in the name of Pudentiana, by Pius (bishop of the church in Rome, a.d. 139–155). In this place, it is farther reported, Pius also consecrated a baptistery. Here, moreover, afterwards, when a great persecution arose, numbers of Christians were concealed by Praxedis, and nourished with

food and with the word of God. Pudens and his daughters, it is also narrated, were buried in the cemetery of Priscilla on the Via Salaria.

Anastasius, librarian of the Vatican in the ninth century, also asserts that Pius dedicated the thermae of Novatus as a church, in honor of Pudentiana. The same fact is said to be affirmed by Damasus in the latter part of the fourth century. These may be mere repetitions.

The Acts of Pastor locate the house of Pudens in the Vicus Patricius which corresponds with the modern Via di S. Pudentiana. On this street still stands a church, which is reputed to be the oldest in Ro...

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