Santa Maria Sopra Minerva

The Church of St Maria sopra Minerva was built in the 8th century over the ruins of the original temple of Minerva, goddess revered as the protector of Rome, of arts and of all humanity. Now this Christian church is dedicated to the Vergin Mary. Under the high altar lies the body of another important woman, St Catherine of Siena, even if her head was returned to St Dominic’s Church in Siena.  In a lateral chapel lies the body of the great painter Beato Angelic. Just beside the main altar of the church there is another masterpiece, the statue by Michelangelo of the Risen Christ. In 1542 Pope Paul III established the Congregation of the Holy Office of the Inquisition as a permanent congregation staffed with cardinals and other officials to maintain and defend the integrity of the faith.  Arguably the most famous case tried by the Roman Inquisition involved Galileo Galilei who, in 1633 in the Church of St Maria Sopra Minerva was forced to recant his theory.