Years ago, as a student at this monastery, I learned that the monastery garden, on the hill just above the Coliseum, was once the garden of Nero, the cruel emperor who put Christians to death after the great fire of 64 AD had destroyed most of the city.
His famous Golden House was adjacent to the garden. Nero blamed the Christians, then a small community in the city, for setting the fire. He had some of them crucified (Peter, the apostle was among them), some beheaded (Paul) and some burned to death. The historian Tacitus says that some were killed in Nero’s gardens.
Was it here, I wondered?
If it were, isn’t this a good place to follow the Stations of the Cross which recall Christ’s journey to Calvary?
The Christians caught in Nero’s persecution followed Jesus in their death.
We all do, in some way.