To aptly describe St. Peter’s Basilica might be to achieve the impossible.
I entered St. Peter’s Basilica as a skeptic and a Roman Catholic. As a convert, those are listed in the order of which came first. Why does a church need worldly goods that are so valuable? Why does the church not sell off all of those lovely things to feed the poor? Well, I absolutely no longer feel that way. As Jesus says, the poor will always be with us. The statues and the mosaics are there to tell a story. The grandeur of the altar is there to signify its importance. When these masterpieces of art were conceived, most people were illiterate. Now, I think it’s a safe bet to say the majority of the people passing through St. Peter’s Basilica are able to read – in their native language. The Roman Catholic Church is a universal church reaching to literally every corner of the world. She has pilgrims flocking to St. Peter’s and the other grand basilicas in Rome from every language imaginable. If you are not Catholic, you should absolutely still go. You will be hard pressed to find a greater collection of history, art, and beauty in the world than what you will find in Rome. If you are Catholic, take this time to make what will likely be the most moving pilgrimage you will ever experience. Attend Mass, make time for Adoration, go to Confession, pray your Rosary, recognize and appreciate both the spiritual and the physical ties this city has to offer dating back to the life and times of Christ. Don’t just walk through St. Peter’s Basilica or the city of Rome, experience them.
Exterior of St. Peter’s Basilica
Bernini’s Baldachinno, the Papal Altar in St. Peter’s Basilica above the tomb of St. Peter
The Basilica is shaped like a cross, this is the ‘top’ behind the Baldachinno
Dome above the Baldachinno
The Cherub Holy Water fountains = size perspective
The Holy Door of St. Peter’s, only opened in Jubilee years
Area roped off for Adoration
The Pieta, magnificent in person
Statue of St. Peter, you may kiss or rub his toe if you wish
One of many smaller altars
Look closely. There is not a single PAINTING in the Basilica. They are all mosaics. *Tiny* tiles so detailed they look like paintings. Truly amazing.
Just as many posts could be written about St. Peter’s Basilica alone as there are mosaic tiles. There is also the Vatican Grottos where the tombs are; cameras are not allowed in there unfortunately. I promise to only post a few of this Basilica but it’s too grand for only one post. Be looking for them this week.