Friday, June 24, 2011

St. Peter's Basilica - Vatican

Sunday At the Vatican
St. Peter's Basilica Dome

After completing our self-guided tour of the  Vatican Museums, we continued our Vatican visit inside St. Peter's Basilica. Just a short walk from the museum exit, you'll walk through columns and archways to the entrance of the Basilica. Stepping inside, don't be surprised if your breath is taken away, as you are filled with awe of what lies before you.

The most important basilica in the Christian world, the St. Peter's Basilica, was built in Rome in honor of Saint Peter, the first Apostle and the first Pope and leader of the Church.

Upon this "rock", I will build my Church

These words, spoken by Jesus Christ, gave Peter, the foundation "stone" (in Italian "Pietra"), authority as the first Pope.  After escaping from prison, Peter headed to Rome where he became Bishop and then reigned as Pope for 25 years.  He would later be crucified and canonized as a saint.   Learn more about St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's is an extraordinary museum in it's own right with magnificent marble columns and works of art such as Michelangelo's vast dome and the Pieta, which means "Compassion" in Italian.  It is impossible to estimate the value of these priceless works of art.

Bernini's canopy (Baldacchino) 
above St. Peter's tomb

Looking through Bernini's canopy, which is above St. Peter's tomb, you can see the alter where we were fortunate to attend holy mass during our visit.  Despite being in Italian, we were able to follow the service.   This was truly one of the highlights of our visit to the Vatican.

Unfortunately, we were unable to visit the underground crypts during our visit to St. Peter's Basilica.   We had hoped that following mass, they would have opened the crypt, but that wasn't the case.

These are just a few pictures of the interior of St. Peter's Basilica.   We have many more posted on our Facebook Fan Page:

St. Peter's Square is also a site to behold - there are more pictures in the album above also.

We continued our Vatican visit with the special exhibit in tribute to the Beatification of John Paul II.   This is a free temporary exhibit.

Read more about this in our next blog post:

Special Vatican Exhibit Pope John Paul II

More Photo Albums:

Pope John Paul II Exhibit Photo Album

Vatican Museum Line
Vatican Museum Part 2


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