Santa Giustina Basilica

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Justina Basilica from the west

The Roman Catholic Basilica of Santa Giustina is located in the historic city center of Padua on Prato della Valle near the Basilica of St. Anthony . It is the abbey church of an important Benedictine monastery and has the rank of a minor basilica . It is one of the largest churches in the world and is the largest Renaissance church of Veneto .


Sebastiano Ricci : Pope Gregory asks the Virgin Mary to end the plague
Paolo Veronese: Martyrdom of Saint Justina
High altar. The painting by Veronese shows the martyrdom of St. Justina

According to legend, St. Justina of Padua was executed in 304 as a 16-year-old girl under Emperor Diocletian for her belief. Opilione, probably prefect at the time of Theodoric the Great , had the first church dedicated to St. Justina built on her grave in the 5th century. The grave chapel with the grave altar of St. Prosdocimus , the first bishop of Padua, remains from this previous building as Padua's oldest early Christian monument. Already Venantius Fortunatus (600) the Justinakirche Padua mentioned as a pilgrimage destination .

Probably in the 10th century a Benedictine abbey was founded near the church. A new Romanesque abbey church was built in 1119–1123 after an earthquake and was later expanded. In the 15th century, under Abbot Ludovico Barbo , one of the co-founders of the Canon Regulars of San Giorgio in Alga , Santa Giustina was the starting point of a reform movement within the Benedictine order , the Congregation of Santa Giustina .

At the end of the 16th century, the old buildings were demolished and replaced by today's Renaissance complex with five cloisters by 1600 . Only the Cappella San Luca (1301) and the old choir (1462) have been preserved, as well as two griffins on the steps (3rd century) and some sculptures and furnishings.

Under Napoleonic rule, the abbey was abolished in 1810 and the convent buildings were converted into barracks. Since then, the famous altarpiece of St. Luke from the chapel of the same name by Andrea Mantegna has been in the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan. In 1919 the Benedictine monastery was re-established. Since then, part of the building has again housed a Benedictine abbey.

The earthquake on May 29, 2012 caused damage to the chapel of St. Luke the Evangelist next to the left apse.


The current church from the 16th century was u. a. built under the architects Andrea Briosco and Matteo da Valle. With a length of 122.5 m, it is one of the largest churches in the world (11th position after the floor markings of St. Peter's Basilica ). The quasi five-aisled basilica - the outer aisles are divided into chapels - has the floor plan of a Latin cross . The church is covered by eight domes, four large and four small domes. A copper statue of Saint Justina, the patron saint of Padua, stands on the middle, highest drum dome. On the smaller side domes are lead-clad statues of St. Prosdocimus, Benedict , Arnold of Padua (1185–1255), Abbot of the Church, Daniel . The unfinished facade is decorated with the symbols of the four evangelists . The 82 m high tower carries seven bells from the 18th century, the heaviest of which weighs 2.5 tons.


Due to the incidence of light from the numerous domes, the church interior is bright and white with the austere architecture of the gray arches. The focal point is the square domed crossing , on the four sides of which there are barrel vaults in the style of Venetian cross- domed churches of the Renaissance . In the church there are 26 chapels and altar rooms, most of which are decorated with Venetian paintings from the 17th century, 7 of them in honor of Benedictine saints in pairs in the right and left aisles.

The chapels of the left aisle, starting from the entrance, are dedicated to St. James, son of Alphaeus , Gregory the Great , with an altarpiece from 1700 attributed to Sebastiano Ricci with the intercession of Pope Gregory the Great to Mary for the end of the plague . On the altarpiece of the third chapel on the left, dedicated to Saint Daniel of Padua, legend has it that the deacon of Saint Prosdocimus, is a signed work by Antonio Zanchi (1677) Martyrdom of Saint Daniel of Padua . In the fourth chapel, consecrated to St. Placidus , Luca Giordano depicted the martyrdom of St. Placidus and his companions in 1676 , the fifth is dedicated to St. Maurus .

The alleged bones of the evangelist Luke , the companion of Paul, came to Constantinople on March 3, 357 , then probably in the 12th century to Padua , where they have been in the Basilica of Santa Giustina since 1562 in a precious sarcophagus with sides made of alabaster framed by green porphyry left transept are honored.

The highlight of the church furnishings is the painting Martyrdom of St. Justina by Paolo Veronese, completed in 1575 in the main choir chapel, in the altar of which are the remains of the saint.

The altar of the Chapel of the Most Holy Sacrament in the choir dates from 1674 by Giuseppe Sardi. It is adorned by two large angels by Giusto Le Court. The frescoes in the chapel were made by Sebastiano Ricci in 1700. The beautiful marble floor was laid from yellow and pink marble from Verona between 1608 and 1615.

The Martyrs' Corridor, built in 1564, connects the Chapel of St. Prosdocimus with today's church. Remains of the early Christian church from the 5th and 6th centuries can be seen in it.


The organ was created between 1926 and 1928 by the organ builder Annibale Pugina from two existing instruments. The instrument was expanded in 1931 by Pugina and in 1973 by the organ builder Francesco Michelotto. The organ has 81 stops on four manual works and two pedal works . The instrument is distributed over three cases in the church: On the two stands in baroque cases, in addition to parts of the pedal work, the espressivo (III. Manual work) and the two solo works (IV. Manual) are located. The apse houses the positivo aperto (along with its own small pedal work), the main work (Grand 'Organo) and the other stops of the pedal work. The organ can be played from a mobile console in the church. The playing and stop actions are electric. The transmission takes place via radio.

I positivo aperto
1. Principals 8th'
2. Ottava 4 ′
3. Flauto armonico 4 ′
4th Decimaquinta 2 ′
5. Decimanona 1 13
6th Ripieno III
7th Bordone 8th'
8th. Flauto 4 ′
9. Sesquialtera II
10. Tromba 8th'

Pedals (Pos. Aperto)
11. Bordone 16 ′
12. Bordone 8th'
13. Flauto 4 ′
II Grand'Organo
14th Principals 16 ′
15th Principals 8th'
16. Ottava 4 ′
17th Duodecima 2 23
18th Decimaquinta 2 ′
19th Decimanona 1 13
20th Ripieno grave III
21st Ripieno acuto IV
22nd Cimbalo II
23. Flauto 8th'
24. Dulciana 8th'
25th Flauto 4 ′
26th Cornetto IV
27. Tromba squillo 8th'
28. Cromorno 8th'
29 Voce umana 8th'
III espressivo
30th Bordone 16 ′
31. Principals 8th'
32. Ottava 4 ′
33. Decimaquinta 2 ′
34. Ripieno IV
35. Bordone 8th'
36. Corno camoscio 8th'
37. Nazardo 2 23
38. Flautino 2 ′
39. Decimino 1 35
40. Clarinetto 8th'
41. Concerto viole III
IV Solo espressivo
42. Eufonio 8th'
43. Gamba 8th'
44. Fugara 4 ′
45. Flauto traverso 4 ′
46. Ottavino 2 ′
47. XV 2 ′
48. XIX 1 13
49. XXII 1'
50. Pienino II
51. oboe 8th'
52. Voce celeste 8th'
53. Arpa 8th'
54. Campane 8th'

IV Corale espressivo
55. Corno dolce 8th'
56. Flauto camino 4 ′
57. Flauto in XII 2 23
58. Flautino 2 ′
59. shelves 16 ′
60. Voce corale 8th'
61. Coralino 4 ′
62. Contrabbasso 16 ′
63. Subbasso 16 ′
64. Violone 16 ′
65. Basso 8th'
66. cello 8th'
67. Bordone 8th'
68. Quinta 5 13
69. Ottava 4 ′
70. Ripieno VI
71. Bombarda 16 ′
72. Tromba 8th'
73. Clarone 4 ′
74. Campane 8th'


  • Klaus Zimmermanns: Venetia - The cities and villas of the Terraferma. Cologne 2009, ISBN 978-3-7701-4356-6 , pp. 200-204.
  • Reclam's art guide. Northern Italy East . Arranged by Erich Egg , Erich Hubala u. a. Stuttgart 1965. pp. 329-337.

Web links

Commons : Basilica of Santa Giustina  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b website of the abbey ( Italian ) Retrieved on January 5, 2014.
  2. BASILICA DI SANTA GIUSTINA, s. a. No. 16 ( Italian ) Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  3. The literary and representational evidence of the translation history of the relics of Luke are diverse and contradicting; Lorenzo Bianchi, Roma e nuova Roma, impero ed ecumene cristiana offers a thorough presentation . Il significato storico-politico e storico-religioso delle traslazioni di corpi santi all'Apostoleion di Costantinopoli negli anni 356-357 (2009; Italian; PDF; 12.8 MB).
  4. Information about the organ (Italian)

Coordinates: 45 ° 23 '47 .2 "  N , 11 ° 52' 47"  E