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Excavation sheds light on importance of ancient city near Rome

Rome, Italy, Aug 4, 2017 / 03:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Just eleven miles east of Rome lies the site of excavations of another ancient city, one which thrived in the last few centuries before Christ, but, overshadowed by Rome, eventually died out – though not before having its own thriving Christian community.

The city, Gabii, was first occupied by small groups of settlers in the early Iron Age (9th-8th century B.C.). It eventually grew into a full-fledged city with walls and large public buildings, peaking around the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C.

Evidence shows that it then began to shrink, probably because of competition from Rome, but archeologists working on the site have recently uncovered the remains of a tower of a church, and believe the city to have been a center for Christianity, if an unusual one, in the early centuries of the Church.

“We know that there was a thriving Christian community and that it had a bishop as early as the 5th century, which is kind of unusual for a community of this size,” said Nicola Terrenato, a professor for the University of Michigan and coordinator of the excavations.

“So it probably means that even if it was a small community it was considered very important because of the glory that Gabii had in the past,” he told CNA.

The Diocese of Gabii was suppressed in 1060, but it was made a titular see in the late 20th century. The Titular Bishop of Gabii is currently Sebastian Taltavull Anglada, who is auxiliary bishop of Barcelona.

Read more at Catholic News Agency. 

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