The paintings of the Main Altar:
the icon of Santa Maria in Vallicella

On Sundays and Solemnities, the painting of Our lady by Rubens slides away by means of a hidden mechanism, revealing beneath the ancient icon.
The image was originally found on an outside wall of the old church. One day a disappointed gambler threw a stone on the image and from the cheek of the Virgin drops of blood began to fall. From that moment the miraculous image became an object greatly the people of Rome. At the request of St. Philip, the painting was transported to the interior of the still unfinished Chiesa Nuova. The icon was placed in the Chapel of the Purification until the work on the main altar and the paintings by Rubens were completed. With the passage of time, this icon has become the emblem of the Congregation of Oratory.


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