2012-03-26

Fifth Sunday of Lent


On the Fifth Sunday of Lent, pilgrims return to the Vatican Hill after Saturday of Week I, the site of Peter's burial. After a grand church was built by Constantine in 330, it gradually came to ruins. The new Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican was commissioned in 1506, and it took 120 years to finish the construction.


You have to be inside the basilica to feel its great size, because otherwise proportionally it just looks like a Renaissance church. The baldachin over the main altar is 7-storey high. There are 44 altars, 11 domes, 778 columns, 395 statues and 135 mosaics inside the basilica. The fa├žade itself is 45 m x 110 m big, which is longer than a standard FIFA football field.

Most do not know that St. Peter's Basilica is no longer the largest church in the world, but the second largest one. Which is the largest?


The interior of the basilica houses many precious relics and tombs of saints. Among the most important are the tomb of St. Peter (underneath the papal altar), St. Veronica's veil and tombs of 91 popes. Displayed here is the symbolic chair of Peter.

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