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Catacomb of St. Januarius: 19th century illustration of the catacomb frescoes
By far the largest and best preserved of the Neapolitan catacombs is that of S Gennaro or St Januarius, patron saint of Naples. It was originally the tomb of a private family, expanding to accommodate a larger community in later years. The remains of the saint were brought to Naples by Bishop Giovanni I (reigned 413-432), and for ca. 400 years the catacomb was the centre of the cult of S Gennaro. In 831, however, the relics were removed to Benevento, and the catacomb declined in use until it was abandoned in the 13th century. It is constructed on two levels, the passages lined with the usual arcosolia and loculi (shelf-like burial spaces). Important features include the "small basilica" of S Agrippino and the so-called "Bishop's crypt", which contains images, in mosaic and in paint, of early Neapolitan bishops. Painted images survive throughout the catacomb, some having been restored in the 20th century.