The basilica is a monument to Peter, whom Jesus chose as the senior apostle, announcing that Peter is the stone on which he will build the church. Since Rome was the capital of the empire, Peter and the apostle Paul came here to carry faith in the Lord at the beginning of the first millennium. But the early Christians were persecuted for their faith and, as the church tradition says in 64 A.D. Peter was arrested and transferred to one of the vast circus arenas of the empire and tortured on an inverted cross. His body was carried outside the walls of the arena, and there, on the slope of what was called the Vatican Hill, it was buried, possibly in a small covered crypt.
St. Peter's Basilica, statue in front of the entrance, evening time
The history of the construction of the Cathedral
Almost 300 years later, Constantine I, the Christian emperor of Rome, ordered the construction of a huge church on the site of the tomb of St. Peter, which had turned by that time from a small grave into a medium-sized temple. What is interesting in the location of the Basilica is that the terrain, the hillside, the imperial circus, the Roman road, the cemetery made the construction of the church at this point almost impossible, but the emperor insisted that it should stand here, and the axis of the church, the place where the altar is located, It should be right here. Attached to the tomb of the Apostle, the first St. Peter's Basilica included an original temple on the altar floor. The basilica, a monument to Konstantin Peter, stood for about 1200 years, and was demolished to make way for a new church. But by that time, by a remarkable twist of fate, the ancient Roman cemetery under the church was completely forgotten. The secrets that it kept, including the details of the funeral of Peter, did not come to light before the 20th century.
He is like a father with his arms outstretched, as if I were invoking all my children to me - Saint Paul's Cathedral - the heart of the Catholic world. At 132 meters, his cross soars into the Roman sky. The greatest artists of the Renaissance, and, above all, Michelangelo, erected this colossal cathedral. They took stones for construction from the Coliseum and the buildings of the Roman Forum, marble slabs from the ruins of pagan temples.
Inside St. Peter's Basilica
Bernini created a colonnade around the Egyptian obelisk in the mid-16th century. The northern colonnade houses the Papal Palace - the residence of the head of the Roman Catholic Church. The obelisk stands on the ground soaked in blood. In the time of Nero, here, west of the Tiber, in front of the walls of Rome, torturers of the new religion were tortured and executed. One of them was Peter. Today, on warm days, tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world rush to his grave.
About St. Peter and his deeds
Peter is the stone on which the kingdom of faith has been established for 2000 years. Until the Middle Ages, the followers of Peter lived in the eastern part of Rome - Laterani, and only at the end of the Babylonian captivity of the church in Avignon in 1377 did the Papal residence become the Vatican. From the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, the view overlooks the governor's palace, administration building, train station and radio station - “Vatican City Radio". 96 statues of saints crown the colonnades of Bernini. How majestic all this should have seemed to the pilgrims who saw the cathedral in 1600 at the end of construction. Today he has not lost his greatness.
Entering the cathedral you seem to lose touch with the outside world. They say that the statue of Peter - the creation of the sculptor Arnolf Di Cambio, has miraculous power. The tomb of the saint is believed to be located nearby in an underground crypt. The altar of the middle space is crowned with a donor guard, created in 1624 by Bernini. Only dad has the right to serve mass here. The columns of this papal place are set above the tomb of Peter. The deepest reverence here embraces the pilgrims. Just a couple of steps, and before us is the famous Pieta, Michelangelo, which many years ago a madman smashed with a hammer. Here, in the crypt, archaeologists discovered not only the foundation of the first church, but also Greek letters indicating the burial place of the Apostle Peter.
The dome - the work of Michelangelo - has two bowls. Between the inside and the outside - a spiral staircase leading up, from here the whole of Rome is visible at a glance - and the banks of the Tiber and the Fortress of Angel.
Before the execution, the apostles Peter and Paul languished for 7 months in the Mamerta prison. Now here Church of San Giuseppe dei Faleni.
In this dungeon, according to legend, Peter converted to Christianity not only 47 other prisoners, but also both overseers. They freed him, he fled from Rome and met the gentlemen on the Appian Way. He reproachfully asked: "Where are you going, Peter?" He came back, and was crucified.
Mamertinsky dungeon was a state prison in Rome. Many famous prisoners died of starvation or were executed, in particular, the Numite king Yugurta, King Tsergetoriks, whom he captured, and dragged Caesar into Rome. Their names can be read on the memorial plaque. The bloody executions of the deposed enemies of Rome were dedicated to the god of war - Mars.