St. Peter's Basilica
|St. Peter's Basilica|
East view of St. Peter's Basilica
|builder||List of builders|
|Construction year||1506 to 1626|
|Floor space||20,139 m²|
The Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican ( Italian : San Pietro in Vaticano ) in Rome commonly mostly in German-speaking countries because of their size and importance of St. Peter (also called Basilica Sancti Petri in Vaticano , Peter's Basilica , Vatican Basilica or Templum Vaticanum ), which is Memorial Church of Apostle Simon Peter . It is located on the territory of the independent state of the Vatican City and is one of the seven pilgrimage churches of Rome. With a built-up area of 20,139 m² and a capacity of 20,000 people, St. Peter's Basilica is the largest of the papal basilicas and one of the largest and most important churches in the world.
The predecessor of today 's St. Peter's Basilica, Alt-St. Peter , was found around the year 324 by Constantine the Great over the presumed tomb of St. Peter erected. The current construction began in 1506, and was largely completed in 1626.
From the middle of the 5th century, St. Peter's Church was also the patriarchal basilica of the Latin Patriarch of Constantinople . After the dissolution of the patriarchate in 1964, this title was continued; 2006, when Pope Benedict XVI. When the title of Patriarch of the West (or the West) was dropped, it was replaced by that of a papal basilica.
Since the end of the 14th century, the popes have resided in the immediate vicinity of St. Peter's Cathedral . However, it is neither the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome nor the officially highest-ranking Roman Catholic church building - both have been the Lateran basilica since ancient times .
In the 1st century. AD. Was the mons Vatican , the Vatican hill , outside the ancient Rome on the western Tiber side opposite the built-up with public institutions Campus Martius . Emperor Caligula had a circus built on this hill . Nero added a palace and a bridge over the Tiber, of which only a few traces can be seen in the river today. As on almost all sides of ancient Rome, there were also tombs on mons Vaticanus . According to tradition, the apostle Peter was crucified upside down in the circus in 64 and found his final resting place in the immediate vicinity.
During excavations on behalf of Pius XII. around 1950 a grave road was found under today's St. Peter's Basilica. In the building of Alt-St. Peter's necropolis was filled in at the beginning of the 4th century . During the excavations, numerous grave houses ( memorials ) with stucco , wall paintings and mosaics as well as isolated Christian graves were uncovered. Bones were also found in the presumed Peter's grave, but not in the ground, but in a supporting wall on the side. The theory that the bones were kept during the last severe persecution of Christians in a loggia covered with Peter’s graffiti near the catacombs of San Sebastiano and that they were only buried in the wall under Constantine does not convince many critics to this day. While the question of the bones must therefore remain open, since the excavations it can be considered certain that the venerated site was regarded as the tomb of Peter since the beginning of the 2nd century.
Constantine Basilica (Alt-St. Peter)
Archaeological finds suggest that, after the so-called Milan Agreement in 313, the Christians showed Emperor Constantine the place that had been venerated as Peter's tomb since ancient times. Until about 324 the emperor had a monumental basilica built on the Vatican hill . In order to obtain a level construction area for the basilica on the hillside, Constantine had the graves below the venerated grave filled in the necropolis, the use of which is documented by coin finds up to 318, and the hill behind the grave removed, so that ultimately only the tomb alone stood in the apse of the future church. It was clad in precious marble and covered with a ciborium supported by six winding columns.
The five-aisled basilica with a single-nave transept was completed around 326 and consecrated by Pope Silvester I. It was enormous for its time with a total length of about 120 meters. The height of the central nave, which was divided into 22 intercolumns , was about 30 meters. The transept was 63 meters long and 25 meters high. Other sources assume a total length of 90 meters and a width of 66 meters. Alt-St. Peter more than three times larger than the Constantinian palace auditorium in Trier , which was built around 310. Numerous spoils were used in the construction, for example for the 88 columns of the nave .
In the 6th century, Pope Pelagius II began to raise the floor level in the apse around the presumed Peter's tomb. The work was completed under Gregory the Great . The aim was to be able to celebrate the Eucharist not only at the grave itself, but also above it. A corridor with a chapel was built under the newly built platform, which was to become the archetype of the ring crypt . This made it possible to walk around the grave; It was made visible from the church interior through a Confessio opening. In the course of the work, the Constantinian ciborium was also removed. The columns built into it were subsequently part of a pergola erected in front of the Confessio, together with six identical copies . Eleven of these columns are still preserved in St. Peter's Basilica today.
In the centuries that followed, the building was severely damaged by the turmoil of history and numerous armed events. In particular, when the Saracens attacked Rome in 846, many art treasures were lost to looting . The church has been restored and restored over and over again. Contemporary witnesses from the Middle Ages report a bewildering number of side altars and grave chapels within the church.
From 1451, the Constantinian basilica underwent a final comprehensive renovation under Popes Nicholas V , Pius II and Julius II . Already at this time, due to the increased space requirements, efforts were made under Nicholas V to significantly enlarge the choir of the old St. Peter's Church, which had become dilapidated during the time of the absence of the Popes . With the expansion plans for the choir and transept of Alt-St. Peter was entrusted to Bernardo Rossellino , who worked as a builder at St. Peter's Church from 1451 to 1455. According to his design, a new building for the choir and transept extending far to the west was planned, which would have given the entire building a floor plan in the form of a Latin cross . The excavation work for the foundations began as early as 1451. When Pope Nicholas V died in 1455, construction work stopped again; Nevertheless, this first work set important anchor points for the following planning.
At the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Julius II found that the 1200 year old basilica Alt-St. Peter would not have an adequate space for his monumental tomb . He therefore commissioned an expansion of the church building. However, since this was in danger of collapsing in many places, it was decided instead to build a monumental new building. In the course of this, the St. Peter's cathedral building , which still exists today, was founded.
The cost-intensive new building was largely financed by the so-called Peterspfennig and the sale of indulgences . The discussion about this type of financing later became one of the starting points of the Reformation . Later the construction was also financed by the Spaniards who donated some of the treasures captured in the newly discovered America .
In 1503 Alt-St. Peter to be removed from the west. Only the old apse with the tomb of Peter and the eastern half of the nave remained. On April 18, 1506, Julius II laid the foundation stone for the new St. Peter's Church below today's Veronica pillar.
The first draft for the new building came from Donato Bramante , who was the project manager until his death (1514). In contrast to the long-held view, his first considerations did not concern a plan over a Greek cross , but were developed over the floor plan of the old basilica with a view to a longitudinal building . Only in the further development did Bramante take up ideas from his central building studies by using the quincunx solution of the Milanese scheme (derived from his design for the sacristy of Santa Maria presso San Satiro in Milan) as the basis for a central building floor plan . During his tenure, Bramante had the crossing piers built with their large niches, the western apse, which was later partly removed, and the so-called tegurio , a large shelter over the tomb of Peter. What remained of his designs was the idea of the dome supported by four mighty pillars, which profoundly influenced the plans of the subsequent architects. Bramante's approach was not only seen positively at the time. In a treatise on the architect published in 1517, for example, it is said that he would have “destroyed all of Rome if he had been left”, and the anonymous author raises bitter reproaches for the destruction of the traditional, more than thousand-year-old Constantinian basilica. This source documents early considerations in the direction of monument protection .
After Bramante's death, Raphael , the successor planned by Bramante, Giuliano da Sangallo and Fra Giovanni Giocondo took over the duties of site manager from 1514 . Giocondo had already been Bramante's assistant from 1513, and Sangallo had also started drafting plans for St. Peter's Basilica from 1506. Both left the construction site in 1515. As a second architect, Raffael then appointed Giuliano da Sangallo's nephew, Antonio da Sangallo the Elder. J. After Raphael's untimely death (1520), he took over the role of first master builder. He appointed Baldassare Peruzzi as the second architect , who held this office until his death in 1536. In the designs of these architects, the basic shape repeatedly alternated between Greek and Latin cross. The construction itself progressed very slowly. Evidence of this time are the barrel-vaulted arches between the southern crossing and counter pillars, which Raphael designed based on the model of the Maxentius basilica . Sangallo d. J. raised the level of the floor and worked in the last years of his life until his death in 1547 on a large model of his last design for St. Peter's Basilica. It can be viewed today in one of the basilica's domes.
Michelangelo Buonarroti took over the construction management in 1547 . He received from Pope Paul III. certain special rights, such as independence from the building works to which its predecessors were subject. Michelangelo's plans for St. Peter's Basilica were based on Bramante's architecture; So he designed a central building with four apses, the floor plan of which can still be found in the western part of the basilica. The characteristic pilaster structure of the façades of the west building and the monumental main dome also go back to him. He did not live to see the completion of the dome; when he died in 1564, work on the drum had begun. His successors continued to build according to his plans and only changed them slightly. These successors were Pirro Ligorio (until 1568), from 1568 Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola (until then second architect) and from 1574 Giacomo della Porta , who held the office of builder until 1602. Under Vignola and della Porta, influenced by the reforms of the Council of Trent , the long building in the form of a Latin cross prevailed over the central building. Della Porta completed the main dome in 1591 and built the two pavilion-like secondary domes, which rise above the Cappella Clementina and the Cappella Gregoriana .
When Paul V ascended the papal throne in 1605, construction had progressed so far that it was adjacent to the remaining parts of the nave of Alt St. Peter. The discussion arose whether this old part should be removed or integrated into the new St. Peter's Basilica. Ultimately, the decision was made to demolish it. However, the condition of the old nave was previously documented through sketches and drawings.
During this time, several drafts for a new building were created, one of which was carried out by Carlo Maderno , who had been chief architect since 1603. Maderno managed the construction until 1629. Under him the nave with its chapels, the confessio , the portico and the baroque facade were built. The latter was criticized by contemporaries because of its height, because it obscures the view from St. Peter's Square to Michelangelo's dome. A bell tower was planned to the left and right of the facade . However, these were not completed and only reach the height of the facade, so that they seem to merge with that. Today's belfry is located in the left tower.
Since the papal altar lost in the crossing under the massive dome and around the eyes in the direction to steer Peter's tomb, built Gian Lorenzo Bernini from 1624 with the support of Francesco Borromini a 29 meter high canopy of bronze directly above the grave. The material for this came from the Pantheon . For the casting, Pope Urban VIII. Barberini had the antique bronze cassettes removed from the ceiling of the pronaos there in 1625 . In the same year the winding pillars of the canopy were erected, the entire work could not be completed until 1635.
In 1626 the construction was so far completed that St. Peter's Basilica could be solemnly consecrated by Pope Urban VIII on November 18th . In 1637 Bernini, who had assumed the position of chief architect after Maderno's death (1629), was commissioned by the Pope to complete the bell towers. However, his designs for the foundations were too heavy, so that cracks appeared in the facade and the south tower, which had already been started, had to be removed back to its original height in 1641. Bernini then turned to the artistic design of the basilica and the construction of the colonnades .
St. Peter's Square
St. Peter's Square, planned by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, is 240 meters wide and oval in shape. He goes on the side of St. Peter's back in a trapeze over, the Piazza Retta is called. This makes the broad facade of the basilica appear narrower and the main dome is emphasized.
In the center of St. Peter's Square is the Vatican Obelisk , which comes from the Circus of Caligula and Nero , in which, according to tradition, Peter was executed. In ancient times, this circus was located south of today's St. Peter's Basilica. The ashes of Caesar are said to be at the foot of the obelisk , which came from Egypt , and part of the cross of Christ at its top . The obelisk is 25.31 meters high, has an estimated weight of 320 tons and stands on an 8.25 meter high pedestal , the top of which is formed by four bronze lions. Its erection in 1586 on St. Peter's Square under Domenico Fontana was a technical masterpiece at the time.
The colonnades surrounding the square are 17 meters wide and symmetrical about two focal points a few meters north and south of the obelisk. At each of these focal points, a plate with the inscription “Centro del Colonnato” is embedded in the floor. If you stand on one of the slabs, all four columns of the corresponding half of the colonnade are lined up exactly one behind the other, so that the colonnade seems to consist of only one row of columns (instead of four in a row). Above the 284 arranged in 71 rows of four columns are 140 statues of Holy , each having a height of about 3 meters. They were from 1667 to 1669 under Popes Alexander VII and Clement IX. set up.
Structure and equipment
(Note: The numbering of the items of equipment by numbers in brackets corresponds to that of the floor plan and thus shows the respective location.)
The east facade of St. Peter's Basilica forms the western end of St. Peter's Square with its 115 meters wide and almost 46 meters high . It was planned by the architect Carlo Maderno , to whom almost the entire eastern part of the basilica can be traced back. Since a renovation in preparation for the jubilee year 2000, the facade appears again in its original color. Pope Paul V , who came from the Borghese family and whose coat of arms is attached to the tympanum of the temple-like triangular gable , is named by the Latin inscription on the frieze as the builder of the facade:
As the inscription reports, the facade was completed in early 1612. In the same year, however, Pope Maderno commissioned the erection of two bell towers on the side of the facade. However, their construction was discontinued at the level of the rest of the facade, so that they seem to form a unit with this. Today the bell towers are crowned by clocks designed by Giuseppe Valadier around 1790 . The two clock faces, decorated with mosaics, each have a diameter of over eight meters.
The facade is laid out as a staggered facade, so that the monumental Corinthian pilasters and columns become increasingly spacious towards the center. On the lower floor there are five entrances which are provided with bronze lattice doors and lead into the portico behind. The middle and the two outer entrances are framed by ancient Ionic columns made from Alt-St. Peter originate. There are five balconies on the second floor. From the middle of the so-called Benediction Loggia , a newly elected Pope is the first time the public and talks, as well as to the solemnities Christmas and Easter, the blessing urbi et orbi . Directly below the loggia there is a relief created by Ambrogio Buonvicino in 1614 ; it shows the handover of the keys from Jesus to Peter.
Thirteen figures about six meters high are set up above the attic of the facade and depict Jesus (in the middle), John the Baptist (left of Jesus) and all the apostles except for Peter. A figure of Peter, created by Giuseppe de Fabris , has stood together with a statue of Paul by Adamo Tadolini on the so-called Sagrato , the stair-like forecourt of St. Peter's Basilica , since 1847 .
The portico of St. Peter's Basilica was designed by Carlo Maderno and built between 1607 and 1614 and is located behind the lowest storey of the east facade. It is 71 meters wide, 14 meters deep and around 20 meters high.
On the east side of the portico, which faces St. Peter's Square, there are five entrances with bronze lattice doors. In the lunette above the central entrance is the mosaic of Navicella ( No. 1 ); a reproduction of the famous mosaic by Giotto di Bondone , created around 1260. It was originally at the rear of the entrance to the atrium of Alt-St. Peter, but was moved several times over the centuries and damaged as a result. That is why it was repeatedly restored and finally extensively renewed in 1674 by the mosaicist Orazio Manenti in the baroque style. Since then, the mosaic has been placed in its current location. It shows a ship on the Sea of Galilee in which the apostles are seated; on the right you can see Peter trying to approach Jesus standing on the water. The literary model for the picture was an episode of the Gospel of Matthew ( Mt 14 : 26-33 EU ). In the lunette, which is opposite the Navicella , a relief ( no.5 ) has been made since 1649 , from the school of Gian Lorenzo Bernini . It shows a scene from the Gospel according to John ( Joh 21,15-17 EU ) in which Jesus speaks to Peter: “Feed my sheep”. In this way, according to the Catholic interpretation, he gives him the task of pastoral office. The relief was designed around 1633 and made in 1646. The other lunettes of the portico are framed by a total of 31 figures depicting popes of martyrs. There are 32 stucco reliefs in the vaulted cap , showing scenes from the lives of the princes of the apostles Peter and Paul , based on designs by Giovanni Battista Ricci .
Two equestrian statues are set up in separate rooms at the side ends of the portico . The one on the south side ( No. 2 ) was created by Agostino Cornacchini in 1725 and depicts Charlemagne , who came to Alt-St. Peter by Pope Leo III. to be crowned emperor. The equestrian statue on the north side ( No. 8 ) was made by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and shows Constantine the Great riding into the battle of the Milvian Bridge . The sculpture was created in 1670. The room in which it is located is part of the Scala Regia , which leads into the Apostolic Palace .
In the west wall of the portico, five portals lead into the interior of St. Peter's Basilica. Except for the middle one, all doors are from the 20th century.
The wings of the southernmost portal, the so-called death portal ( No. 3 ), were created by Giacomo Manzù between 1961 and 1964 and depict several death scenes in addition to the crucifixion of Jesus; from the murder of Abel by Cain to the death of Pope John XXIII. The artist depicts the opening of the Second Vatican Council on the inside . The deceased popes are traditionally carried through the death portal, hence the name.
To the right of it is the portal of good and evil ( No. 4 ), which was completed by Luciano Minguzzi in 1977. The seven representations on the left gate wing are reminiscent of “bad” deeds, those on the right of “good”.
The middle gate, which usually remains closed and is only opened on special occasions, is the portal of the Filarete ( No. 5 ). It comes from the Florentine sculptor and architect Antonio Averlino , called Filarete, and was originally designed for Alt-St. Peter made. The door leaves show, among other things, Jesus and Mary, the apostles Peter and Paul, scenes of their martyrdoms and events from the life of the founder, Pope Eugene IV . Originally the portal was 6.30 meters high, but was then enlarged to 7.14 × 3.6 meters by Orazio Censone for today's installation . This is also indicated by an inscription in the upper area of the gate wing.
To the right of the portal of the Filarete is the portal of the sacraments ( No. 6 ), on the wings of which the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church (baptism, confirmation, confession, communion, marriage, ordination and anointing of the sick) and the proclamation of the sacraments are indicated in eight reliefs representing humanity (top left). The portal was created in 1965 by Venanzo Crocetti .
The northernmost gate in the portico is the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica ( No. 7 ). Its gate leaves were donated by the diocese of Basel in 1949 to thank Switzerland for being spared the Second World War . The design came from Vico Consorti ; the installation took place on the occasion of the Holy Year 1950. On the wings, which are 3.65 × 2.30 meters relatively small compared to the other portals in the portico of St. Peter's Basilica, 16 reliefs show scenes from the history of salvation .
The interior of St. Peter's Basilica has a floor space of 20,139 m² and can accommodate around 20,000 people. The inner length of the basilica, which has ten smaller secondary domes in addition to the main dome, is 186.30 meters; the transept is 137.85 meters wide.
In the interior there are 778 columns and 395 statues as well as 44 altars. The main material used was Roman travertine from Tivoli , Carrara marble , stucco and bronze . In St. Peter's Basilica, more than 20 tombs and monuments of popes and other important personalities for the Catholic Church were erected. Many of the tombs are cenotaphs and therefore do not contain any mortal remains.
Most of the altarpieces, but also the decorations in the domes, are made of mosaic. Pope Gregory XIII gave the impetus for this . who was a great admirer of this art form. Therefore he had the Gregorian chapel named after him in St. Peter's Basilica decorated with mosaics and in the course of this also founded a Scuola del Mosaico ("Mosaic School"). Their students should learn, study and cultivate this art form. In the course of time, but also for conservation and optical reasons, almost all the altar paintings in the basilica were replaced by mosaic copies or new creations in mosaic. Most of the original altarpieces are now in the Vatican art collection . If you add up all of the areas in St. Peter's Basilica decorated with mosaics, they form the largest mosaic in the world with around 10,000 m 2 .
The main nave of St. Peter's Basilica was laid out by Carlo Maderno as an extended eastern cross arm of the central building designed by Michelangelo . It is 98 meters long and 27 meters wide up to the crossing. The upper end of the main nave is a 45 meter high coffered barrel vault , which was closed in 1614 and is partly covered with gilded stucco.
The main nave is divided into four bays by monumental pillars . On the side facing the nave, Corinthian pilasters in a colossal order are hidden in front of the pillars , between which there are two niches arranged one above the other. In these niches there are larger than life statues of the founders of the order ( nos. 72–75, 90–93 ), the dance of which is continued in the other arms of the cross. The figures are based on the plans of Pope Clement IX. back and were created in the years 1706 to 2011. They have a height of 4.5 meters (in the lower niches) and 5.5 meters (in the upper niches).
Between the pillars, in the spandrels of the arches that lead to the side aisles, larger-than-life female allegories made of stucco are placed on a golden background . They symbolize the virtues of Catholicism and refer to the (former) patronage of the chapel behind. The idea for these sculptures came from Giacomo della Porta ; it was implemented between 1600 and 1650.
On the easternmost pillars of the main nave are two holy water stoups ( nos. 72, 93 ), which were created between 1722 and 1755 based on designs by Agostino Cornacchini . In their monumentality, the basins illustrate the size of the entire church space; so the putti that are draped around the basin are up to two meters high.
In front of the back of the Filarete portal, i.e. the central entrance portal, a red porphyry disk is set into the floor, which is located in Alt-St. Peter is said to have found in front of the high altar . On it, Charlemagne is said to be in 800 by Pope Leo III. have been crowned emperor.
The Second Vatican Council met in the main nave from 1962 to 1965 .
Bronze statue of St. Peter
At the western end of the main nave, at the transition to the crossing, is the famous bronze statue of St. Peter ( No. 89 ) set up. It was made by Arnolfo di Cambio towards the end of the 13th century and shows the seated Prince of the Apostles in a gesture of blessing . Possibly an ancient figure of a philosopher , which was reworked into a statue of Peter and placed above the entrance of Alt-St. Peter was attached as a model; it is now in the Vatican grottoes ( Fig. ). The right foot of the figure of Peter in the main aisle is strongly flattened, because numerous pilgrims hope for a blessing by touching the foot. Allegedly, the foot has been replaced several times over the centuries.
Next to the figure are two candlesticks with scenes from the lives of the princes of the apostles Peter and Paul. They were created by Egidio Giaroli in 1971 .
The canopy under which the statue stands is covered with mosaics imitating brocade fabric. Over the canopy, Pope Pius IX. had a portrait of himself affixed with an inscription in 1871 . He wanted to remind people that his pontificate had exceeded the length of Peter's tenure as Bishop of Rome.
The side aisles of St. Peter's Basilica consist of the vestibules of the side chapels, which are connected with passageways that run behind the pillars of the main nave. In the passageways there are grave and memorials on both sides. The vestibules are terminated at the top in elliptical domes that reach a height of over 40 meters. The inner surfaces of the domes are decorated with mosaics that refer to the respective patronage of the chapel.
In the reveals of the arches that connect the vestibule to the nave and to the chapels, relief-like medallions are attached, which are held by putti. These reliefs show all beatified or canonized popes from Peter to Benedict II . The insignia of the papacy, tiara and key, are depicted between the marble reliefs . The suggestion for this pictorial program came from Pope Innocent X ; up to the completion in 1650 more than 40 artists were involved.
In the north aisle are the chapel of Pietà ( No. 9 ), the chapel of St. Sebastian ( No. 13 ) and the Sacrament Chapel ( No. 17 ). At the western end of the side aisle is the altar of St. Hieronymus ( No. 20 ), who is already in the Cappella Gregoriana belonging to the navi piccole . The south aisle houses the baptistery ( no. 71 ), the chapel of the Passage of Mary ( no. 67 ) and the choir chapel ( no. 63 ). The conclusion to the west is the altar of the Transfiguration of Christ ( No. 59 ), which stands in the Cappella Clementina .
Chapel of the Pietà
The easternmost chapel in the north aisle is the Pietà Chapel ( No. 9 ). It is named after the Roman Pietà by Michelangelo , which is set up on its main altar and has been there since the middle of the 18th century and previously changed its location within St. Peter's Basilica several times. Before the Pietà came into the chapel, it was consecrated to the Holy Cross . The medieval crucifix that stood on the altar until then is now in a side niche of the chapel, which also houses two altars dedicated to St. Joseph and St. Nicholas are consecrated.
Michelangelo's Pietà, which is now placed in front of a simple cross, is 1.75 meters high and rests on a 1.68 meter wide base. The order for this work of art was placed in 1492 by Cardinal Jean Bilhères de Lagraulas . The artist completed the work in 1499 when he was 24 years old. There is an inscription on the chest band of Mary: MICHAEL · A [N] GELVS · BONAROTVS · FLORENT [INVS] · FACIEBA [T] ((The Florentine Michelangelo Buonarroti did this).)
Since an assassination attempt on the Pietà in 1972, in which the figure was badly damaged, the chapel has been secured with bulletproof glass . However, there are replicas of the Pietà in the sacristy of St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums , which can be seen up close.
The mosaics in the dome of the vestibule of the Pietà Chapel ( Fig. ) Were designed by Pietro da Cortona and show scenes from the Apocalypse . It shows how angels give people a sign and how the angel of salvation rejects the angel of death. In the pendentives of the dome, protagonists and prophets of the Old Testament are shown with Jeremiah , Noah , Abraham and Moses .
Above the back of the holy door ( no.7 ), which leads directly into the vestibule of the Pietà Chapel, there is a mosaic of St. Peter ( fig. ), Which Giovanni Battista Calandra created in the 17th century and which was moved to its present location in 1774.
Chapel of St. Sebastian
The middle chapel of the north aisle is dedicated to St. Dedicated to Sebastian . The picture above their altar shows the chapel patron shortly before his martyrdom : He is tied to a stake, at the top of which there is a sign with the inscription SEBASTIANVS - CHRISTIANVS . Sebastian looks up to the upper part of the picture where Christ is shown accompanied by angels. To the right of the stake, a centurion on horseback drives away a crowd that has gathered below him. An angel is depicted above the centurion, presenting Sebastian with the martyr's symbols, crown and palm branch. The mosaic is 9.30 meters high and was created around 1736. It replaced an oil painting by Domenichino , which the artist created between 1625 and 1632 and which also served as a model for the mosaic. The painting is now in the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri .
Pope John Paul II has been buried in the Sebastian Altar since his beatification in 2011 . There are also monuments to Popes Pius XI on the walls of the chapel . (right, no.12 ) and Pius XII. (left, no. 14 , fig. ) attached.
The mosaic in the dome of the vestibule of the chapel ( fig. ) Depicts a procession of martyrs to the enthroned God the Father . The spandrels of the dome, as in the vestibule of the Pietà Chapel, show figures from the Old Testament: Ezekiel , Abel , Isaiah and Zacharias . The image program was created between 1625 and 1663 based on a design by Pietro da Cortona , among others .
The Sacrament Chapel ( No. 17 ) is the westernmost chapel of the north aisle. Like the choir chapel opposite, it is separated from the rest of the church by a dining grille designed by Francesco Borromini . The chapel housed the sacristy of St. Peter's Basilica until 1638 .
The walls and the ceiling of the Sacrament Chapel are decorated with partially gilded stucco work designed by Giovanni Battista Ricci . On the main altar is the tabernacle created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1674 ( fig. ). The tower-like structure of the tabernacle, the design of which was inspired, among other things, by the Tempietto di Bramante , consists of gilded bronze, silver and lapis lazuli . It is flanked by two kneeling angels made of gilt bronze and is crowned by figures of the twelve apostles and that of the risen Christ. In the altar niche behind the tabernacle there is an oil painting by Pietro da Cortona showing the Holy Trinity . It was made between 1628 and 1632 and is one of the few altarpieces in St. Peter's Basilica that has not been replaced by a mosaic.
On the east wall of the chapel there is an altar whose mosaic depicts the ecstasy of St. Francis shows. The template for this was a painting by Domenichino from around 1630. The altar is framed by two antique, twisted columns that, together with other columns of this type, are located in Alt-St. Peter were placed in front of Peter's tomb.
The dome mosaic of the vestibule of the Sacrament Chapel ( fig. ) Was designed by Pietro da Cortona, as was that of the Sebastian Chapel . It represents the vision of the last of the seven seals . The representations in the pendentives of the dome show four scenes from the Old Testament which have bread as their theme.
The easternmost chapel in the south aisle ( No. 71 ) is the baptistery of St. Peter's Basilica. At its center is a baptismal font made from an ancient porphyry sarcophagus from Hadrian's mausoleum . Emperor Otto II was later buried in this sarcophagus . In 1600, when the atrium of Alt-St. Peter had to demolish in the course of the construction of today's basilica, the emperor's body was reburied in a simple stone coffin and moved to the Vatican grottoes. The baptismal font in its current design goes back to Carlo Fontana , who reworked the sarcophagus in 1692 and designed the bronze cover. This cover is decorated with a relief held by putti, which shows the Trinity . The Agnus Dei is depicted above it.
The picture behind the baptismal font depicts the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan ( fig. ). It was based on a painting by Carlo Maratta that hung in the chapel until 1730, when it was replaced by today's mosaic. The two pictures on the side walls of the chapel also relate to the theme of baptism . So is shown on the left, how Peter the hll. Processus and Martinianus baptize. This mosaic was based on a picture by Giuseppe Passeri . The right mosaic shows the baptism of the centurion Cornelius ( Acts 10,24-48 EU ), also by Peter. The model for this was an oil painting by Andrea Procaccini .
The mosaic in the dome of the chapel vestibule ( fig. ) Also takes up the theme of baptism: Here Jesus and God the Father and around them the three types of baptism (through water, blood - i.e. through martyrdom - and through desire) are represented. The dome pendants show allegories of the four continents that were known at the time: Europe , Africa , Asia and America . The drafts for these pictures came from Francesco Trevisani ; they were worked on from 1738 to 1746.
Chapel of the Temple Walk
The middle chapel of the south aisle is dedicated to Mary's temple passage . This subject, which is preserved in the Apocrypha, is also on the altar ( no. Shown 67) of the chapel: the mosaic that a painting by Giovanni Francesco Romanelli copied from the year 1627, shows how the three-year Maria the steps to Jerusalem Goes up the temple where she is received by a high priest . Her parents, Anna and Joachim , are shown behind Maria . The glass coffin of the canonized Pope Pius X is located under the canteen of the altar .
On the side walls of the chapel, similar to the Sebastian chapel opposite, two papal monuments are placed: on the left, that of Benedict XV. ( No. 68 , fig. ), Right a representation of John XXIII. ( No. 66 ).
In the dome of the vestibule of the temple corridor chapel ( fig. ), Scenes from the apocalypse are depicted with the motifs of Mary as an apocalyptic woman with God the Father and the struggle between good and evil . The pendants show Noah , Gideon , Balaam and Aaron . These mosaics were designed by Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari in 1704 .
The choir chapel ( No. 63 ) is the westernmost chapel in the south aisle and is similar both in its external shape and in the floor plan to the sacrament chapel opposite. The choir chapel is also separated from the rest of the church by a grid in its entrance. This lattice was created by Giuseppe Giardoni in 1758 and replaced a lattice door by Francesco Borromini .
In the choir chapel, which also for a time the Pietà by Michelangelo stood, the chapter of St. Peter holds the From 1614 on Divine from. The choir stalls, in which the chapter takes place, was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini . The ceiling and the walls of the chapel are covered with gilded stucco; Stucco reliefs created by Giovanni Battista Ricci show the mysteries of the joys of the Immaculate .
The altar mosaic crowned by a canopy ( No. 62) is dedicated to the patroness of the chapel, Maria Immaculata . It was created around 1745 based on models by Pietro Bianchi and Enrico Ennuo . In the upper part of the altarpiece, Mary is depicted in the iconography of the Immaculate Conception , enthroned on a cloud surrounded by angels. The right half of the picture shows the hll. Francis of Assisi and Anthony of Padua venerating Mary. On the left John Chrysostom is shown in the regalia of a patriarch . Relics of this saint are said to have been buried in the altar table of the choir chapel in 1626. The representation of Mary on the altarpiece was made by Pope Pius XI in 1854 . crowned on the occasion of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. For the 50th anniversary of the dogma, Pope Pius X had twelve diamond-studded stars added to the altarpiece, forming a nimbus around the head of Mary.
The mosaic in the dome of the vestibule of the chapel ( fig. ) Shows God the Father with the four apocalyptic throne creatures and the 24 elders . The prophets Daniel , Jonah , Habakkuk and King David are depicted in the pendentives of the dome . The composition of the picture goes back to Marcantonio Franceschini , among others .
Tombs and monuments in the passages of the aisles
In the passageways that connect the vestibules of the aisle chapels, there are tombs or monuments on both sides, which are mainly dedicated to various popes, but also to some important personalities for the Catholic Church.
In the easternmost passage from the north aisle on the south wall is the monument to Christine of Sweden ( No. 10 ). It was designed by Carlo Fontana in 1700 . Christine of Sweden, the daughter of the Swedish King Gustav Adolf , who fought on the side of the German Protestants in the Thirty Years' War , converted to Catholicism in Innsbruck in 1655 . This event shows the relief on the sarcophagus of the monument. On top of the sarcophagus there are two putti playing with a scepter , sword and a crown. A bronze medallion with the portrait of Christine is attached above the putti. Opposite the monument to Christine of Sweden is the tomb for Pope Leo XII. ( No. 11 ) by Giuseppe de Fabris from 1836. It shows the Pope blessing in front of the so-called Sedia gestatoria , a portable papal throne. Above it are allegories of religion (left) and justice (right).
In the middle passage of the north aisle, between the vestibules of the Sebastian and the sacrament chapels, are the tombs for Mathilde of Tuscia and Pope Innocent XII. set up. The monument to Mathilde von Tuszien ( No. 15 ) is located on the south side of the passage and was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1635 after an order from Urban VIII . The relief on the sarcophagus of the monument depicts the kneeling of Henry IV before Pope Gregory VII , which occurred against the background of the walk to Canossa . The setting, Canossa Castle , was Mathilde's residence at that time. Above the sarcophagus, she is depicted together with the tiara and keys as the guardian of the papacy. The tomb for Pope Innocent XII. ( No. 16 ) was created by Filippo della Valle in 1746 and shows the Pope between the Allegory of Mercy (left) and Justitia (right). It's on the north side of the passage.
The tomb of Pope Gregory XIII is located on the north wall of the westernmost passage in the north aisle, which connects the vestibule of the Sacrament Chapel with the Capellea Gragoriana . ( No. 18 ), which was completed by Camillo Rusconi in 1723. The relief on the sarcophagus of the tomb shows the Gregorian calendar reform that Gregory XIII. completed in 1582. On the sides of the sarcophagus are two allegories of religion. A dragon is depicted under the sarcophagus, the heraldic animal of the Boncompagni family, from which Gregory XIII. came from. A marble figure of the Pope in a gesture of blessing is enthroned above the sarcophagus. On the opposite side of the passage is the tomb of Gregory XIV ( No. 19 ). It was created by Prospero da Brescia between 1590 and 1591 and is relatively simple compared to the other papal monuments in St. Peter's Basilica: a simple sarcophagus stands in an arch. In the gable of the arch, two angels bear the Pope's coat of arms. In addition, female allegories of religion (left) and justice (right) are shown. According to tradition, the reason for the simple design is a lack of money in the papal coffers, which was caused by the expensive life of the pontiff.
The two monuments in the easternmost passage of the south aisle are dedicated to the English ruling family of the Stuarts . On the south wall of the passage is the tomb of Maria Clementina Sobieska ( No. 69 ), who was the wife of King James III of England . was. The tomb, which was designed by Filippo Barigioni in 1745 , shows a female allegory of love above the sarcophagus who, together with a putto, holds a portrait medallion of the deceased. This portrait is executed in mosaic and was created by Pietro Paolo Cristofari . Below the tomb there is access to the roof and dome of St. Peter's Basilica. Opposite, on the north side of the passage, is the so-called Monument of the Last Stuarts ( No. 70 ). This is dedicated to the husband of Maria Clementina Sobieska, King Jacob III, and his sons Charles Edward and Henry Benedict , who are also shown in the upper area of the pyramid-like monument structure. The lower area of the monument shows a closed portal, on the sides of which stand two geniuses of death.
The monumental wall tomb of Pope Innocent VIII ( No. 65 ) is located in the passage between the vestibules of the temple and the choir chapel on the northern side. It was created in bronze by Antonio Pollaiuolo and completed in 1498. The tomb consists of a sarcophagus with an image of the dead on top and a figure of the pontiff enthroned above it. It was originally in Alt-St. Peter and transferred to the new St. Peter's Basilica in the 17th century. It is the only tomb that was taken over from the inventory of the Constantinian basilica in the new church. On the opposite side of the passage there is a monument to Pope Pius X ( No. 64 ), whose bones rest in the altar of the temple passage chapel. The memorial was designed by Enrico Astorri in 1923 and shows the Pope with arms raised to heaven. Scenes from the life of Pius X are depicted on the portal below the marble figure.
In the westernmost passage of the southern aisle on the south wall is the tomb of Pope Leo XI. ( No. 60 ), designed by Alessandro Algardi in 1644 . It shows the Pope enthroned over a sarcophagus, surrounded by the female allegories of strength (left) and generosity (right). The sarcophagus is decorated with a relief showing two scenes that occurred before the beginning of Leo's pontificate, which lasted only 27 days when he was apostolic nuncio in France: the rejection of Protestantism by the French King Henry IV and the signing of the Peace of Vervins . Opposite, on the north wall of the passage, is the tomb of Pope Innocent XI. ( No. 61 ). It was created by Pierre-Étienne Monnot and shows the Pope framed by the allegories of faith (left) and strength (right). The pedestal on which the marble figure of the Pope stands shows the victory over the Turks before Vienna , which occurred during his pontificate. The corpse of Innocent XI. is laid out in the altar of the transfiguration of Christ.
The crossing of St. Peter's Basilica, together with the papal altar, forms the spatial and liturgical center of the basilica. The monumental dome by Michelangelo arches over it . Below the papal altar, above which the bronze ciborium rises, lies the presumed Peter's tomb, around which the Vatican grottoes with the Confessio are laid out. Today's design of the crossing was largely designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini .
Main dome and crossing pillar
The double-skinned, 16-sided main dome of St. Peter's Basilica goes back to the plans of Michelangelo and is considered the largest self-supporting structure in the world that was built from bricks . In 1591 the dome under Giacomo della Porta was completed seven meters higher than originally planned. It has a diameter of 42.34 meters and is 43.20 meters high (the Pantheon is 86 centimeters wider, but lower).
The drum on which the dome stands is structured from the outside by pairs of columns, behind which there are buttresses . These divert the load of the dome to the crossing piers below. There are large-format windows between the drum pillars, which ensure that the entire crossing is well lit.
The dome lantern can be reached via more than 551 steps, which can be shortened to the roof terrace with a lift (then only 302 steps). The staircase that runs between the two dome shells makes the static construction clear. A view from the drum surround into the interior of the basilica and dome shows the dimensions of the church. The lantern offers a panoramic view of the Vatican Hill, St. Peter's Square and the surrounding Rome.
Michelangelo actually planned the inner surfaces of the dome to be simple and only adorned with gold stucco cartouches. After the completion of the dome, however, this design no longer corresponded to current tastes. Therefore, the Cardinal Cesare Baronio commissioned the artist Giuseppe Cesari in 1603 to design an image program for the dome. One difficulty for the artist was to adapt the image program to the already existing ribs of the dome.
The mosaics designed by Cesari are supposed to represent a glimpse into the sky. This is indicated, among other things, by the stars that can be found on the dome ribs and in the gold background of the representations. The picture program is divided into different groups of figures, which are arranged in concentric circles . The lowest group of figures in the lunettes of the dome segments shows holy bishops who, since they have no attributes with them, cannot be assigned to any particular person. In the level above, Christ is depicted as Pantocrator on the western vertex , flanked by Mary (left) and John the Baptist (right). This arrangement is reminiscent of the form of representation of the Deesis , which can be found, among other things, on some apses of Roman churches. The other people in the second group of figures represent the twelve apostles together with Paul. His representation is to the left of that of Peter; this in turn is shown to the left of Maria. On the upper levels, angels, seraphim and cherubim are depicted in cartouches . The pictorial program finds its upper end in the vault of the lantern, which shows the blessing God the Father. At the transition to the lantern there is the dedication of the dome in Latin in blue capital letters:
The picture program is completed by the mosaics in the cartouches of the dome pendants above the crossing piers. They go back to Giovanni de Vecchi and Cesare Nebbia and were already carried out between 1598 and 1600. The mosaics show the four evangelists preaching in their gospels what is depicted in the dome above . The evangelists are shown together with their symbols (from the southwestern crossing pillar, clockwise: Matthew with winged man, John with eagle, Mark with lion and Luke with bull). The cartridges in which the mosaics are located are each approximately 8.5 meters in diameter.
The large pentagonal crossing pillars, which support the dome, the tambour and the pendentives, have a circumference of 71 meters and a diagonal of 24 meters each. They go back to the original plans of Donato Bramante and were dedicated under Bernini to the four most important relics in the Vatican: the handkerchief of Veronica , a piece of the true cross , the holy lance and the head of the apostle Andrew . The latter was transferred to Patras in 1964 . The relics are or were kept in a large safe in the respective pillar. Which relic is in which pillar is indicated by a figure about 5 meters high, which stands in a niche in the pillar side facing the papal altar. Above the niches there are balconies from which the relics can be shown for veneration. Above each of the balconies there is a relief showing the relic (with the exception of the St. Andrew's cross on the southeastern pillar) surrounded by angels. The reliefs are framed by the sinuous columns that stand in Alt-St. Peter stood in front of the high altar and formed a pergola there .
The southwestern crossing pillar houses the handkerchief of St. Veronica . It is shown in the figure created by Francesco Mochi ( No. 80 ) in the niche of the pillar. In the northwest pillar is the particle of the true cross. In its niche there is a statue of St. Helena ( No. 84 ), created by Andrea Bolgi . According to tradition, Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine , found the cross of Jesus in Jerusalem and brought it to Rome. In the niche of the northeast pillar stands the statue of St. Longinus ( No. 88 ), which was created by Bernini. Longinus is said to have stabbed his lance in Jesus' side at the crucifixion of Christ and then became a Christian. That lance should be in this pillar. In the south-eastern crossing pillar was the skull of St. Andreas, whose figure created by François Duquesnoy ( No. 76 ) stands in the niche of the pillar.
Bernini's canopy ciborium
At the place of today's papal altar , in the center of the crossing of St. Peter's Basilica directly below the main dome, the high altar of Alt-St. Peter, overbuilt with a ciborium . Following on from this, but also in order to give the Peter's tomb an optical mark in the new building, Pope Urban VIII commissioned Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1624 to design a new ciborium ( no. 82 ). In order to procure the 93 tons of bronze required for its casting, the Pope, who came from the Barberini family, had the ancient ceiling of the pronaos of the Pantheon melted down. This caused outrage among the inhabitants of Rome at the time, with the proverb Quod non fecerunt barbari, fecerunt Barberini (What the barbarians could not do, the Barberini could do) arose.
In his design, made of partly gilded bronze , Bernini, who was supported in the statics of the altar superstructure by Francesco Borromini , combined the traditional shape of the ciborium with that of a canopy . Furthermore, the artist was inspired by the sinuous columns that stand in Alt-St. Peter formed a pergola in front of Peter's tomb and which originally came from ancient Greece . Those pillars are now installed above the balconies of the crossing piers. The shafts of the columns by Bernini are also twisted and decorated with laurel and olive tendrils in the upper part. They find their conclusion in composite capitals on which the fighters of the canopy rest. In 1625 the columns were completed and could be erected on their marble pedestals in the basilica . The coat of arms of Pope Urban VIII is attached to these; Above the heraldic shields , faces pained in pain are depicted, which are supposed to represent a woman giving birth. In addition to the coats of arms on the pedestals, the bees on the pillars and on the tassels of the canopy also refer to the Barberini Pope; just like the sun masks on the fighters above the pillars, which were also a symbol of his family.
Four standing angels are depicted above the pillars at the corners of the canopy. They hold ribbons in their hands, with the help of which they seem to stretch the bronze canopy. On its underside there is a representation of the dove of the Holy Spirit in a halo; Putti are depicted on the cloth, playing with attributes of the princes of the apostles Peter and Paul and the insignia of the papacy (book, sword, tiara and key). Behind the standing angels with the ribbons rise four volutes that end together in a console . On this is a golden cross standing on a stylized globe, which forms the top of the canopy at a height of 29 meters. Bernini originally planned a figure of a risen Christ at this point , but it turned out to be too heavy for the construction.
Papal altar and ambo
The papal altar of St. Peter's Basilica stands under the canopy. It was commissioned by Pope Clement VIII in 1594 to be able to celebrate the Eucharist in the completed part of the newly built St. Peter's Basilica . Under Paul V the altar was placed in the western arm of the cross; Urban VIII had it moved to its current location, which is seven steps higher. An architrave made of Parian marble from the Nerva Forum served as the material for the altar . The cafeteria is 4.35 meters long, 2 meters wide and, together with the Stipes, 1.23 meters high; the long sides of the altar are subdivided by pilaster strips , on which a total of eight eight-pointed stars made of gilded bronze were attached, which are borrowed from the coat of arms of the client Clemens VIII. A marble three-pass cross is also embedded on the western side of the altar . On high feast days, the altar is decorated with gold-embroidered antependia in the respective liturgical color .
Since the papal Pentecost Mass in 2011, a new ambo ( No. 78 ) has been used in St. Peter's Basilica , which is placed on the left in front of the canopy for the liturgy. It is a gift for the 60th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI. been. The lectern was made in baroque shapes from walnut in the Petzuch carpenter's workshop in Munich . It is decorated with three reliefs carved from linden wood depicting St. Peter (left), St. Show Paul (right) and the Annunciation to Mary (center). The reliefs were created by the wood sculptor Georg Bergmeister from Ortisei in the South Tyrolean Val Gardena . The gilding work comes from the master gilder and barrel painter Josef Mittlböck-Jungwirth from Schönau in the Rottal-Inn district.
Confessio and Vatican Grottoes
In front of or under the canopy and the papal altar is the Confessio ( No. 87 ) of St. Peter's Basilica, which was laid out by Carlo Maderno from 1615 under Pope Paul V. According to tradition, here, directly under the altar, the tomb of St. Peter are located. The place of the presumed grave is marked in the west wall of the Confessio by the so-called pallia niche. This is where the pallia are kept, which are laid out annually for the newly appointed Metropolitans on the Solemnity of Peter and Paul . At the far end of the niche there is a mosaic from the 9th century showing Christ as Pantocrator ; on its side walls there are portraits of the Apostles Peter and Paul. To the side of the niche are two gilded bronze figures that also represent the princes of the apostles. They were designed by Ambrogio Buonvicino around 1616 . In the eastern part of the Confessio there is a 16-step double staircase that leads to the upper church. On some feast days the Pope descends over them to the tomb of Peter. The Confessio is lined with 92 oil lamps, which, like the valuable marble incrustations on the walls, are intended to illustrate the sanctity of the place.
Opposite the Confessio are the Vatican grottoes, which, like the Confessio, are located on the original floor level of the Constantinian basilica and were only created by raising the floor level under Antonio da Sangallo . Five national chapels are arranged around St. Peter's grave, which also forms the spatial center here as in the upper church. There are also numerous papal tombs in the grottoes. Last was here John Paul II in the earlier grave of John XXIII. buried in the immediate vicinity of the Confessio.
The cross arms of St. Peter's Basilica go back to the plans of Michelangelo and lead from the crossing in the cardinal directions north, west and south. This gives the basilica, together with the central nave, a floor plan in the shape of a Latin cross ; the north and south cross arms together form the transept . All cross arms are structured in a similar way to the main nave; here, too, in the niches between the pilasters on the side pillars, there are figures of the founders of the order ( nos. 85, 86, 26, 30 and nos. 81, 83, 37, 41 and nos. 77, 79, 49, 53 ) and in the The interweaving of the arches leading to the chapels of the navi piccole , as in the nave, depict female allegories of virtues.
Each of the cross arms is divided into two yokes and ends in an apse , which is formed into a five- eighth end by pilasters . In the dome of the apse round stucco reliefs are mounted, depicting scenes from the Lives of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Below each of the three large apse windows is a column-flanked conche , in which either an altar or a papal tomb is set up.
Western cross arm
The apse of the western arm of the cross is dominated by the altar of the Cathedra Petri , on the sides of which two papal tombs are placed. In the conche to the left of the altar is the tomb of Pope Paul III. ( No. 40 , fig. ), A work by Guglielmo della Porta , who completed it in 1549. It consists of an elevated monumental figure of the Pope, in front of whose pedestal two allegories are draped. These are supposed to symbolize justice and prudence and bear the faces of the mother and sister of the deceased Pope.
To the right of the cathedra is the tomb of Pope Urban VIII created by Bernini ( No. 38 , fig. ), On which the artist worked from 1623 to 1644. It is similar to the tomb of Paul III opposite. built up; The tomb of Urban VIII is also dominated by a figure of the deceased Pope enthroned on a raised plinth. A skeleton is depicted in front of the base, which writes the name of the different on a parchment. The skeleton is framed by the allegories of love (left) and justice (right).
In the apse calotte, three stucco reliefs show the martyrdoms of Peter (left) and Paul (right) as well as Peter’s calling to be a disciple of Jesus on the Sea of Galilee (center).
At the top of the western apse is the altar of the Cathedra Petri ( No. 39 ), created in 1666 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and some of his students . In the center of this monumental altar structure is a kind of throne, which is decorated with reliefs by Johann Paul Schor . This throne forms the bronze mantle for a chair made of wood and ivory, which is presumably the bishop's throne , the cathedra , of St. Peter is said to have been; It is more likely, however, that it is a chair from the 9th century that was made for the coronation of Charles the Bald . This chair could then have been bequeathed to the Pope or St. Peter's Church after the coronation ceremony. The volutes on which the bronze throne stands are held by four monumental figures of the Doctors of the Church (from left to right) Ambrosius , Athanasius , John Chrysostom and Augustine , some of which are gilded.
A 25-meter-high angelic glory, made of gilded stucco and bronze, which is also a work by Bernini, rises above the altar structure. In its center there is a Alabaster window which the Heiliggeist shows pigeon ( Fig. ).
In the course of the liturgical reform in the early 1980s, the historic altar bar in front of the Cathedra was demolished and replaced by a free-standing popular altar on an organically shaped bronze structure. Under Pope Benedict XVI. this altar was removed again and a free-standing altar with a gilded, openwork antependium with depictions of the apostles Peter and Paul was erected instead .
Northern arm of the cross
The First Vatican Council was held in the northern arm of the cross of St. Peter's Basilica from 1869 to 1870 . In the conches of its apse, as in the opposite southern cross arm, three altars are set up.
The middle altar ( No. 28 ) is dedicated to the martyrs Processus and Martinianus , whose bones are also kept in the table of this altar; they were transferred to the basilica in the 9th century. The altarpiece shows the martyrdom of both of them through torture . It is based on a painting by Valentin de Boulogne ( Fig. ), Which was previously attached to this place and was transferred to today's mosaic from 1709. In two mosaic medallions, which are attached to the side of the altar, the hll. Portrayed Antonius Maria Claret (left) and Joaquina von Vedruna (right). The pictures were taken around 1988.
In the left conche of the apse is the altar of St. Erasmus ( No. 29 ), whose altarpiece goes back to Nicolas Poussin ( fig. ). At the end of the 1730s, it was transferred to the mosaic copy that is now installed above the altar and shows the legendary martyrdom of the altar patron: Erasmus is tied up on a bench, beneath him are episcopal vestments and a miter . While a man pulls the saint's intestines from the slashed belly, which is wound up on a winch by another, a priest tries to persuade Erasmus to worship an idol (a figure of Heracles ). The medallions next to the altar show the hll. Vladimir I (left) and Olga of Kiev (right).
In the right conche of the apse is the altar of St. Wenceslaus ( No. 27 ). The altarpiece shows the saint in regal garb, looking up at an angel. The murder of Wenceslaus by his brother is depicted on a relief in the background of the picture. The model for today's mosaic from 1743 was a painting by Angelo Caroselli ( Fig. ), Which he created around 1630. The mosaic medallions on the side of the altar show the hll. Cyril and Method .
Southern cross arm
The middle altar ( No. 51 ) in the apse of the southern arm of the cross is dedicated to St. Dedicated to Joseph . The altarpiece shows him as the patron saint of the church: Joseph stands in front of a stone cathedra with the baby Jesus in his arms. Below him kneel an angel with a ship as a symbol for the church and a young man with a palm branch, a symbol for humanity. The dome of St. Peter's Basilica can be seen in the background. The mosaic dates from 1963 and was designed by Achille Funi . Relics of the apostles Simon and Judas Thaddäus were buried in the altar table as early as 1628 . They were also shown on the original altar sheet, which remained there until 1821. Today the saints are remembered by the oval mosaic medallions on both sides of the altar, which were made in the mid-19th century.
In the place of the mosaic of St. From 1924 to 1963 Joseph was that of the crucifixion of St. Peter, which is now above the altar in the left conche ( no. 52 ) of the apse. The picture had already experienced several dislocations beforehand. The model for the mosaic, which was actually created for the sacristy of the basilica, was a picture by Guido Reni from 1605 ( Fig. ). The dark-colored work shows the erection of the cross, to which the prince apostle is attached upside down at the same time. The altar table houses the sarcophagus of the canonized Pope Leo IX . Next to the altar two mosaic medallions have been attached since the 1980s, which depict the hll. Laurentius Ruiz (left) and Antonio Maria Gianelli (right) pose.
The right altar ( No. 50 ) is dedicated to St. Dedicated to Thomas . The altar mosaic was designed by Vincenzo Camuccini in 1822 . It shows how the saint touched the wound on the side of the risen Christ among the apostles. The bones of the canonized Pope Boniface IV lie under the canteen of the Thomas altar . The medallions next to the altar show the hll. Magdalena Gabriela von Canossa (left) and Maria Mazzarello (right).
As navi piccole ( "small naves ") are referred to the sections of dealing, which is located behind the Vierungspfeilern and thus connects the cross arms. To the east of the navi are the side aisles of the nave, which end there to the west. The north-eastern section of the gallery is called the Cappella Gregoriana , the north-western section as the chapel of St. Archangels Michael and Petronilla , the southwest part as the Chapel of the Madonna of the Column and the southeast part as the Cappella Clementina . Each of these chapels is crowned by a dome; A pavilion- like dome rises above the domes of the two eastern chapels , which serves purely optical purposes.
The Cappella Gregoriana is located in the northeast of the navi piccole and connects the central and north aisles with the north arm of the cross. It was the first chapel of the newly built St. Peter's Basilica, which was consecrated on June 11, 1580 . Before that, Pope Gregory XIII. , after whom the chapel is named, commissioned Giacomo della Porta to furnish it. Spolia from the Temple of Romulus , Castel Sant'Angelo and the Caracalla Baths were used for the decoration with African marble .
On the main altar of the chapel ( No. 23 ) is the miraculous image of the Madonna dei Soccorso (“Mother of Perpetual Help”). With the solemn installation of the miraculous image in 1578, the chapel was completed. The fresco of Maria with child comes from Alt-St. Peter and was placed in this prominent place in the new basilica, as it was believed to be the oldest image of Mary in Rome. As far as we know today, however, it was not created until the early 12th century. The baroque framing of the Madonna by cherubim and marble inlay goes back to Sebastiano Torrigiani. In the table of the altar of the Madonna dei Soccorso there are relics of St. Gregory of Nazianz .
On the east side of the Longinus pillar, at the end of the north aisle, is the altar of St. Jerome ( No. 20 ). The mosaic above the altar is based on a painting by Domenico Zampieri and was created between 1730 and 1732. It shows the last communion of the church father Hieronymus, who is dressed in a penitential robe, crouching in front of an altar. In the center of the picture is St. Ephrem is shown handing out a host to Jerome , behind which another priest hands the wine . To the left of Jerome is his saint , a lion. The bones of Pope John XXIII, who was canonized in 2014, have been resting under the canteen of the altar since 2001 . ( Fig. ).
The tomb of Gregory XVI is located diagonally across from the Hieronymus altar, on the east wall of the chapel . ( No. 22 ) by Luigi Amici from 1854. On the north wall of the chapel there is another tomb ( No. 24 ) dedicated to Benedict XIV . It was designed by Pietro Bracci and shows the late Pope between allegories of wisdom and altruism.
Opposite the tomb of Benedict XIV, on the north side of the Longinus pillar, is the altar of St. Blasius ( No. 25 ). The altar mosaic, a copy of a picture by Pierre Subleyras , was created between 1741 and 1751. It shows the altar patron celebrating a mass; the emperor Valens depicted in the foreground is so moved by this that he sinks to the ground unconscious. In the altar table of the Blasius altar there are relics of St. Josaphat Kunzewitsch .
Chapel of St. Archangels Michael and Petronilla
The grave of Pope Clement XIII is on the north wall of the chapel . ( No. 31 ), which Antonio Canova completed in 1792. It shows the pontiff surrounded by allegories of religion , death , love and hope . Two sleeping lions are depicted at the foot of the tomb.
Opposite, on the north side of the Helena pillar, is the Altar of Navicella ( No. 32 ). Its altarpiece, like the mosaic of the same name in the portico of St. Peter's Basilica, is about the salvation of Peter from distress by Jesus. The model for the mosaic above the altar, which was created between 1720 and 1727, was a painting by Giovanni Lanfranco from 1628.
On the northern wall of the chapel, to the left of the tomb of Clement XIII, is the altar of St. Archangel Michael ( No. 33 ). The current mosaic above the altar was preceded by an older one designed by Giuseppe Cesari . It had the same motif as the current mosaic from 1758, which is based on a picture by Guido Reni ( Fig. ): The conquering of the demon by the archangel .
On the west wall of the chapel is the altar of St. Petronilla ( No. 34 ), which has also housed the remains of the chapel and altar patron since 1606. The altar mosaic was created from 1730 after a painting by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri from 1623 ( Fig. ). The work is divided into two levels: the lower part shows the entombment of Petronilla; above one sees the saint kneeling on a cloud before Christ in the type of an apotheosis .
To the left of the Petronilla altar, also on the west wall of the chapel, stands the grave monument of Pope Clement X ( No. 35 ). It shows the Pope between the allegories of mildness and good-naturedness; a relief depicts the opening of the holy gate in 1675.
Opposite the tomb is the altar of the raising of Tabitha ( No. 36 ). The literary basis of the altarpiece was an episode of the Acts of the Apostles ( Acts 9,36-41 EU ). The picture shows the moment immediately after the resurrection: Peter extends his right hand to Tabita, who is standing up from her deathbed. The mosaic was created in the late 1750s based on a template by Placido Costanzi . The altar is now partially covered by an element of the great organ of St. Peter's Basilica.
Chapel of the Madonna of the Pillar
The southwestern part of the navi piccole is called the Chapel of the Madonna of the Column . It connects the western with the southern cross arm.
The chapel was named after the miraculous image of the Madonna of the Column (Italian Madonna della Colonna ), which has been attached to the south wall of the chapel above the altar of the same name ( No. 46 ) since 1607 . Similar to the Madonna di soccorso in the Cappella Gregoriana , the fresco of the Madonna from the column comes from Alt-St. Peter. The name of the miraculous image comes from the fact that the image in the Constantinian basilica was originally attached to a column in the central nave. The structure of the altar was designed by Giacomo della Porta . At the end of the Second Vatican Council , in 1964, Paul VI. Mount the title Mater Ecclesiae above the altar . The bones of three Popes rest in the altar table: Leo II , Leo III. and Leo IV . Since 1981, a large-format mosaic copy of the Madonna from the column has been attached to a facade of the Apostolic Palace facing St. Peter's Square ( Fig. ). With this Pope John Paul II wanted to remind of the assassination attempt on St. Peter's Square.
On the west wall of the chapel is the tomb of Pope Alexander VIII ( No. 42 ). This was created in 1725 by Carlo Arrigo Conte di San Martino in different types of marble.
Opposite the tomb, on the western side of the Veronica pillar, is the Altar of the Healing of the Lame ( No. 43 ). His altar mosaic shows a scene from the Acts of the Apostles ( Acts 3,2-7 EU ) in which Peter shakes hands with a paralyzed beggar sitting in front of the Jerusalem temple . The paralyzed man is then cured of his ailment. The apostle John is shown next to Peter, who was also present according to the Acts of the Apostles. The mosaic goes back to a painting by Francesco Mancini and was created in the 1750s.
To the left of Alexander VIII's grave, also on the west wall of the chapel, is the altar of Pope Pope Leo I the Great ( no. 45 ), who is also buried in this altar. Above the altar there is a large-format relief created by Alessandro Algardi . It shows the encounter between Leo I. with the Hun king Attila , who was on a campaign in Italy. According to a legend, the princes of the apostles Peter and Paul appeared at the meeting and moved Attila to retreat. This is shown in the upper area of the relief.
To the west of the altar of the Madonna of the Column, also on the southern wall of the chapel, stands the tomb of Pope Alexander VII designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini ( No. 47 ). It was unveiled in 1672 and was the artist's last major work. It shows the Pope surrounded by the virtues of wisdom, truth, love and justice. Under a draped marble cloth, a life-size bronze skeleton holds the praying pontiff an expired hourglass as a symbol of transience .
Opposite the tomb, on the southern side of the Veronica pillar , is the Sacred Heart Altar ( No. 48 ). The painting The Fall of Simon Magus by Francesco Vanni ( fig. ), Which is now in the Vatican Museums, was originally installed above this altar . At the beginning of the 20th century, plans arose to dedicate an altar in St. Peter's Basilica to the Heart of Jesus. In the course of this, Pope Benedict XV. the artist Carlo Muccioli in 1918 to create a picture that shows the apparition of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to St. Margareta Maria Alacoque represents. This later served as a template for the mosaic completed in 1925, which is now installed above the altar. It shows the saint kneeling in front of an altar from which Jesus is floating towards her on clouds. A burning heart is depicted on his chest.
The Cappella Clementina forms the southeastern section of the navi piccole . It connects the southern cross arm with the central and southern aisles. The chapel was named after Pope Clement VIII , who was largely responsible for its furnishings. His coat of arms is depicted several times in the dome of the chapel ( fig. ).
On the south wall of the chapel is the tomb for Pope Pius VIII ( No. 54 ), which was completed by Pietro Tenerani in 1866. It shows the Pope surrounded by Peter, Paul and the blessing Christ. Below, flanked by depictions of the virtues of wisdom and justice, is an entrance to the sacristy of St. Peter's Basilica.
Opposite the tomb, on the southern side of the Andrea pillar, is the so-called " Altar of Lies " ( No. 55 ). The original altarpiece, on which Cristoforo Roncalli worked from 1599 to 1604, later served as a template for the mosaic created between 1721 and 1728, which is now placed above the altar. It represents an episode from the Acts of the Apostles ( Acts 5 : 1-11 EU ): Ananias and Saphira withhold part of a sum of money from the apostles and then fall dead to the ground. The mosaic shows the dead Saphira lying next to the apostles. In the background you can see Ananias being carried to the grave.
To the left of the tomb of Pius VIII, also on the south wall of the chapel, is the altar of St. Gregory I the Great ( No. 56 ), who also houses the remains of this saint. The picture above the altar is based on a painting by Andrea Sacchi completed in 1667 , which was transferred to today's mosaic copy between 1770 and 1772. It is an episode of a legend according to which envoys from the wife of Emperor Theodosius asked Pope Gregory for a relic . When he “only” presented them with a touch relic in the form of a cloth, the ambassadors considered it worthless. To prove to them that a touch relic is as good as a first-class relic , Gregor stabbed the cloth during a mass, which then miraculously began to bleed.
The tomb for Pope Pius VII ( No. 57 ) is located on the eastern wall of the chapel . It was created in 1840 by the Protestant Bertel Thorvaldsen and shows the pontiff enthroned in classicist coolness and symmetry, framed by two allegories of wisdom and strength.
On the west side of the Andrea pillar, where the south aisle ends, is the altar of the Transfiguration of Christ ( No. 59 ). The original altarpiece was replaced in 1768 by a mosaic copy of Raphael's Transfiguration , which had been worked on for eight years. In the upper area it shows Christ in the presence of three disciples (Peter, John and James the Elder ), together with the prophets Moses and Elijah floating in a light. The lower part shows how the disciples try to heal a possessed boy. In the table of the altar is the glass sarcophagus of the canonized Pope Innocent XI .
Sacristy and treasury
The building, which houses the sacristy and the treasury of St. Peter's Basilica, was erected as a free-standing structure on the south side of the basilica between 1776 and 1784. It was planned by Carlo Marchionni . In addition to the main room, above the altar of which there is a mosaic created after the painting of the Entombment of Caravaggio , there is a museum in the treasury. The exhibits include the tomb of Sixtus IV by the brothers Piero and Antonio Pollaiuolo , a weathercock from Alt-St. Peter, the sarcophagus of Iunius Bassus , the Crux Vaticana of Justin II, a copy of the Cathedra Petri and numerous liturgical vestments and implements. The visitor entrance to the sacristy is under the tomb of Pius VIII ( No. 54 ).
In the connecting passage between the sacristy and St. Peter's Basilica, which is accessible to visitors, there is a marble plaque ( Fig. ) That names all the popes who are said to have been buried in St. Peter's Basilica and in the Vatican grottoes.
The tapes that are attached to the friezes of the main nave, crossing and cross arms were created in several stages. Most of the texts are in Latin and refer to the special positions of Peter and St. Peter's Church. The letters on the tapes are 1.4 meters in size.
The oldest is the inscription on the frieze of the drum of the main dome. It was installed between 1605 and 1606 and reflects the commission Jesus gave to his disciple Peter, which is written in the Gospel of Matthew ( Mt 16:18 EU ):
Pius IX In preparation for the first Vatican Council in the years from 1867 to 1870, additional tapes were attached, some of which remained unfinished and were not completed until 1935. Since then there is the inscription in the western cross arm on the left side:
On the opposite page, these words are reproduced again in ancient Greek :
The friezes of the crossing piers facing the papal altar are also decorated with ribbons. The inscriptions on the two western pillars, the Veronica and the Helena pillar read:
Opposite the eastern pillars dedicated to Longinus and Andreas are:
There are several organs in St. Peter's Basilica. The moving main organ was built between 1953 and 1962 by the Italian company Tamburini using the pipework of a Walcker predecessor . It is placed behind the pillars of the western cross arm and has 80 registers on five works . Two more organs from the organ builder Nicola Morettini and the organ builder Tamburini are located in the choir chapel. In 1981, a mobile Walcker organ was given to John Paul II by Helmut Schmidt . Since the Christmas celebrations in 2017, a digital organ from the US company Allen Organ Company has been used for the major papal masses .
James Edward Goettsche has been titular organist of St. Peter's Basilica since 1989 .
The six-part bell of St. Peter's Basilica is behind the top left window of the east facade, below the clock. Here three bells are visible: the largest bell, the Campanone , in the middle and next to it the two smallest, Campanella and Ave Maria . Behind it are the other bells: Campanoncino , Rota and above these two the Predica .
The ringing order of the six bells distinguishes between the rhythmic striking of the hammer mechanism a doppio and the (swinging) ringing a slancio . Before the bell system was electrified in 1931, the chime and bell were done by hand. The following chimes have been used:
- Angelus chimes three times a day: Campanone - a doppio (three hits, four hits, five hits, one hit)
- Ringing in on Sunday at 7 a.m. and after the Angelus around 12.15 p.m.: Predica , Campanoncino and Campanone - a doppio
- Vespers on Sundays approx. 30 minutes before the start for around 15 minutes: Campanella - a slancio (5 minutes), then Predica and Campanoncino - a doppio (5 minutes), then Campanone , Campanoncino and Predica - a doppio (5 minutes)
- After the Angelus prayer on feasts and high feasts (around 12.15 p.m.): Campanella , Ave Maria , Predica and Rota - a slancio
- For worship celebrations approx. 45 minutes before the start for around 15 minutes: Campanella , Ave Maria , Predica and Rota (on festivals and high festivals also with the Campanoncino )
- After the papal blessing Urbi et orbi on Christmas and Easter , in Christmas mass and at Gloria on Easter vigil , after the Angelus on Solemnity Peter and Paul and after the election of a new Pope: all six bells - a slancio
- When a Pope dies : Campanone - a slancio
The clock strikes on the three bells in the sound window (6, 5 and 1) below the dial. The quarter hours are struck alternately on the two campanels , whereupon the number of hours started is looked up on the campanone .
Overview of technical data:
( HT ± 1 ⁄ 16 )
|1||Campanone, Valadier||1785||Luigi Valadier||2,316||8,950||e 0 +5|
|2||(Il) Campanoncino (Mezzana, Benedittina)||1725||Innocenzo Casini||1,772||3,640||b 0 -6|
|3||(Campana della) Rota||13th century||Guidotto Pisano||1,361||1,815||d 1 -6|
|4th||(Campana della) Predica||1909||Giovanbattista Lucenti e figli||1,085||830||f 1 -8|
|5||(Campanella prima), Ave Maria, Chiachierina, Pia||1932||Daciano Colbachini e figli||750||250||h 1 -5|
|6th||Campanella (seconda), Clementina||1825||Luigi Lucenti||730||235||c 2 -3|
In the southwestern crossing pillar hangs a small triple bell from the 15th century, which is used for blessing with the Holy Lance on Quarter Saturday in Lent and with the Veronica's handkerchief on Passion Sunday for the station masses.
In the Vatican Gardens is the Grande Campana del Giubileo, cast by Marinelli in 1999 on the occasion of the anniversary year 2000 . The bell, which weighs around five tons and sounds g 0, is rigidly suspended and can be celebrated.
St. Peter's Basilica is one of the largest churches in the world. Since the criteria for the size of a building vary depending on the enumeration and perspective and depend either on the built-up area, the height of the building or the volume, it is not necessarily mentioned in the first place. St. Peter's Basilica has the longest nave with a length of 186.36 meters; the largest covered area of a church building has nearly 22,400 m 2 , the Mezquita in Córdoba . The Ulm Minster has the greatest total height of a church at 161.53 meters .
In order to clarify the length of St. Peter's Basilica and to enable a clear comparison with other church buildings, star-shaped markings are made on the floor of the main nave. Measured from the apse of the western arm of the cross, these show the inner lengths of 31 large churches located in different parts of the world.
(Note: The length measurements given here correspond to those shown on the floor of St. Peter's Basilica. They do not necessarily have to correspond to the real dimensions of the building in question.)
Around 1500 there were still numerous Gothic churches under construction in the northern Alpine region . In the Italian church building, however, the renaissance had come into fashion in the early 15th century . One reason why the architecture of the Renaissance also found its way north of the Alps in the course of the 16th century and replaced the Gothic was, among many other factors, Donato Bramante's designs for St. Peter's Church. The later deviations from Bramante's plan, i.e. the combination of the central dome building and basilical longitudinal orientation as well as the lavish design, set standards for many church buildings of the Baroque period in addition to the important building of Il Gesù .
Some church buildings of the modern age directly receive the architecture of St. Peter's Basilica. For example, the Kazan Cathedral in Saint Petersburg was to become a replica of St. Peter's Basilica in the 19th century; however, the designs were considerably redesigned by the builder responsible. Julius Raschdorff was also inspired by St. Peter's Basilica in his plans for the Berlin Cathedral, which was completed in 1905 . The Basilica Notre-Dame de la Paix in Yamoussoukro , Ivory Coast, is also modeled on St. Peter's Basilica . The Basilica of St. Agatha and Barbara in Oudenbosch in the Netherlands is a four times smaller copy of St. Peter's Basilica; however, its facade is modeled on that of the Lateran basilica . The Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral in Montreal , completed in 1894, is also a scaled-down replica.
In 2007, St. Peter's Basilica was visited by an average of 20,000 people every day. This makes it one of the most visited sights in Europe.
Before entering the basilica, visitors must pass extensive security checks. Attention is also paid to appropriate clothing; Shoulders and knees should always be covered when visiting St. Peter's Basilica. However, the head must not be covered, as St. Peter's Basilica is a sacred place.
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