St Stephen’s Chapel

The St Stephen’s Chapel firmly welcomes the Eucharistic presence: it is the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, a privileged place for personal prayer for those who want to stand before the Lord Jesus, present in the Eucharistic mystery.

Urn with the remains of the Blessed Ottaviano
On the left side of the chapel of the Holy Sacrament, an urn protected by a grate, protects the body of the Blessed Ottaviano, covered with the bishops’ vestments. He was bishop of Savona from 1123 to 1133.
In a “period in which the bishops as a whole did not enjoy a lot of respect,” he appeared to Savona as the forerunner of a new era.
If his chastity, the concern of a true community life and liturgical service had established his reputation for holiness, his diligent and paternal charity whenever natural outbreaks and disturbances hit the population, made him so close to Savona, to hear his presence as a guarantee for their survival and therefore an integral part of their own history.
The chapel is decorated with frescoes on the ceiling with a depiction of the Blessed Ottaviano distributing bread to the poor (by Paolo Gerolamo Brusco).
Also, looking from the chapel towards the facade of the Cathedral, the big lunette window is clearly visible to the observer, stained glass, still depicting the blessed Ottaviano in the centre of Savona’s life, especially among the most difficult times, during which he strives with his generosity.

Martyrdom of St. Stephen
The great altarpiece above the altar of the Blessed Sacrament depicting the martyrdom of St. Stephen, seems to want to remember that the mystery of salvation performed by Jesus Christ finds its echo in every Christian willing to give his life for Him.
The deacon Stephen, the first martyr of the Church’s history, is the first witness of this total willingness to follow Jesus even at the cost of his own life.
It should be remembered that, in the Greek language, the term “martyr” means “witness.” Every disciple of Christ is called to be witness of the Gospel of Jesus with his own life: not always with the supreme testimony of death but certainly with the testimony of an earthly life lived according to the spirit of the Gospel.

On the side walls of the chapel there are two paintings depicting St. Francis from Assisi: a sort of homage to the “Franciscan origins” of Savona Cathedral (cf. History of the Cathedral).

This post is also available in: Italian