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The Vatican : Past And Present

1513 words - 7 pages

One of the most important and the largest monument and public space is the St. Peter’s Basilica ("St. Peter's Basilica" ). It initially built by the emperor Constantine on top of St. Peter’s grave (SCTJM 2006) . It was done when Pope Sylvester I was the head of the church ("St. Peter's Basilica" 2014). What we see right now the renovated version of St. Peters. Once the old church started to deteriorate Pope Nicolas V declared it to be unsafe and requested Bernardo Rossellino to rebuild the church. After Pope Nicolas V died Pope Julio II decided to continue with the idea ("St. Peter's Basilica" ). Thus in 1506 AD the construction of the new church began under the leadership of Donato Bramante (Hayes 2010). Through the construction of the basilica it had many lead architect work on it. The leaderships flowed from Bramante to Raphael to Fra Giocondo to Giuliano da Sangallo to Baldassare Peruzzi to Antonio da Sangallo and finally Michelangelo (("St. Peter's Basilica" 2014). Then in 1626 AD new church was opened("St. Peter's Basilica" ). The architects who worked on the basilica made sure the final product portrays the magnificence of the Catholic Church. Along with that they also added symbolic architecture on the interior and exterior of the Basilica. From the placing of the pillars to the minute details as the bee on the Altar of the Confession holds deep symbolic and theological meanings (Croisette 2014).
Starting from the exterior, the Basilica has many symbolic structures and statues. One example is the piazza lined by colonnades- also known as St. Peter’s square. It shaped in a manner that makes it look like an arm stretched out to welcome. The architect himself explained the idea as “the motherly arms of the church”. It is symbolically portraying that the church is welcoming everyone regardless of their own belief, and actions (Nguyen 2005). The Catholic Church holds the name the Universal Church, which means many different rites and nationality under one Church. The visitors are then welcomed by the 140 saints lined up on top of the colonnades ("St. Peter's Basilica") . The lined up in a specific order too. Beginning with St. Macrinaon on to the right and followed by saints who created the different orders of priesthood. On the far left there is the statue of St. Paul and St. John (Hayes 2010). While the Piazza held the catholic symbolism in it, it also served another purpose. The open semicircle connected the Basilica to Castel Sant’Anglo. The popes and architects wanted the two places to connect it would fulfill “ need to unite the Vatican more directly with the center of Rome” (McClendon 1989).
Then the viewers are attracted to the dome initially designed by Michael Angelo (Hayes 2010). The dome symbolizes the universality of the church and God’s abiding presence ((Tighe 2009). The balcony that is on the Façade is where the announcement of “Habemus Papum” is made. The balcony has also has a relief that symbolizes Christ giving the...

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