The Arciconfraternita di San Giovanni Decollato detta della Misericordia was founded on 1488 to assist and comfort those condemned to death invite them to repent, give them the last rites and bury their bodies.

On 1490 Pope Innocent VIII approved the confraternity and granted them land on which to build a church.

In 1540 it obtained a privilege to set free one of the condemned every year on August 29 with a solemn ceremony.

The famous members of the Arciconfraternita were Michelangelo, St.Roberto Bellarmino and different popes and cardinals.