21 April 2010


The view from the roof of the Dom in Vatican City, St Peter's Basilica. Looking down onto St Peter's Square and out across the city of Rome. Christmas 2008. 

In the 1st century AD this site was known as the Circus of Nero, where Nero and Caligula killed and buried hundreds of christians. It is believed this is where St Peter was martyred and buried and in the year 324 Emperor Constantine began construction of a great basilica over the tomb.  The shrine of St Peter is still the main focus of the church today.  

St Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Catholic church in the world and can hold up to 60, 000 people. It is regarded the holiest of holy christian sites. 

The Basilica has the most spectacular dome which was designed by Michelangelo. The Dome rises to a height of 136m from the floor and is beautifully decorated with intricate mosaics.  Giant gold letters run around the inside of the dome in a message from St Veronica to St Helen and say ''Hinc una fides mundo refulgent" (From here a single faith shines throughout the world); and from St. Longinus to St. Andrew: "Hinc sacerdotii unitas exoritur" (From here is born the unity of the priesthood). It is a spectacular site.

From the roof top of the Basilica you can see that St Peter's Square and the surrounding buildings are shaped to represent a key, as it was St Peter who received the Keys to the kingdom of Heaven from Christ. Beautiful, isn't it. 

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