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Old St. Peter's Basilica was the building that stood, from the 4th to 16th centuries, where the new St. Peter's Basilica stands today in Vatican City. Construction of the basilica, built over the historical site of the Circus of Nero, began during the reign of Emperor Constantine I. The name "old St. Peter's Basilica" has been used since the construction of the current basilica to distinguish the two buildings. An early interpretation of the relative locations of the Circus of Nero, and the old
The Via Cornelia was a road which ran east-to-west along the north wall of the Circus on land now covered by the southern portions of the Basilica and St. Peter's Square. A shrine was built on this site some years later. Almost three hundred years later, Old St. Peter's Basilica was constructed over this site.
The papal tombs in old St. Peter's Basilica were the final resting places of the popes, most of which dated from the fifth to sixteenth centuries. The majority of these tombs were destroyed during the sixteenth through seventeenth century demolition of old St. Peter's Basilica, except for one which was destroyed during the Saracen Sack of the church in 846. The remainder were transferred in part to new St. Peter's Basilica, which stands on the site of the original basilica, and a handful of othePontificateCommon English nameNotes440–461Leo I Saint Leo Leo the GreatTomb located in portico. First pope buried on the porch of Old Saint Peter's Basilica; translated multiple times, combined with Leos II, III, and IV circa 855; removed in the seventeenth century and placed under his own altar, below Algardi's relief, Fuga d'Attila (pictured) in the Chapel of the Madonna of Partorienti.468–483Simplicius Saint SimpliciusTomb located in portico, near tomb of Leo I. Destroyed during the demolition.492–496Gelasius I Saint GelasiusTomb located in portico496–498Tomb located in atrium. Destroyed during the demolition.
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St. Peter's Basilica, which is called "Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano" in Italian, is a large church in the Vatican City, in Rome, Italy. It is often called "the greatest church in Christendom". In Catholic tradition, St. Peter's Basilica is believed to be the burial place of Saint Peter, who was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus.
Old St. Peter's Basilicawas the building that stood, from the 4th to 16th centuries, where the new St. Peter's Basilicastands today in Vatican City. Construction of the basilica, built over the historical site of the Circus of Nero, began during the reign of Emperor Constantine I.
Talk:Old St. Peter's Basilica. This article is within the scope of WikiProject Rome, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the city of Rome and ancient Roman history on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
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St. Peter's is a church in the Renaissance style located in the Vatican City west of the River Tiber and near the Janiculum Hill and Hadrian's Mausoleum. Its central dome dominates the skyline of Rome. The basilica is approached via St. Peter's Square, a forecourt in two sections, both surrounded by tall colonnades. The first space is oval and the second trapezoid. The façade of the basilica, with a giant order of columns, stretches across the end of the square and is approached by steps on which stand two 5.55 metres (18.2 ft) statues of the 1st-century apostles to Rome, Saints Peter and Paul. The basilica is cruciform in shape, with an elongated nave in the Latin cross form but the early designs were for a centrally planned structure and this is still in evidence in the architecture. The central space is dominated both externally and internally by one of the largest domes in the world. The entrance is through a narthex, or entrance ha...
St. Peter's Basilica is one of the Papal Basilicas (previously styled "patriarchal basilicas") and one of the four Major Basilicas of Rome, the other Major Basilicas (all of which are also Papal Basilicas) being the Basilicas of St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, and St. Paul outside the Walls. The rank of major basilica confers on St. Peter's Basilica precedence before all minor basilicas worldwide. However, unlike all the other Papal Major Basilicas, it is wholly within the territory, and thus the sovereign jurisdiction, of the Vatican City State, and not that of Italy. It is the most prominent building in the Vatican City. Its dome is a dominant feature of the skyline of Rome. Probably the largest church in Christendom, it covers an area of 2.3 hectares (5.7 acres). One of the holiest sites of Christianity and Catholic Tradition, it is traditionally the burial site of its titular, St. Peter, who was the head of the twe...
Saint Peter's burial site
After the crucifixion of Jesus on Friday 7 April, AD 30, it is recorded in the Biblical book of the Acts of the Apostles that one of his twelve disciples, Simon known as Saint Peter, a fisherman from Galilee, took a leadership position among Jesus' followers and was of great importance in the founding of the Christian Church. The name Peter is "Petrus" in Latin and "Petros" in Greek, deriving from "petra" which means "stone" or "rock" in Greek, and is the literal tra...
Old St. Peter's Basilica
Old St. Peter's Basilica was the 4th-century church begun by the Emperor Constantine the Great between 319 and 333 AD. It was of typical basilical form, a wide nave and two aisles on each side and an apsidal end, with the addition of a transept or bema, giving the building the shape of a tau cross. It was over 103.6 metres (340 ft) long, and the entrance was preceded by a large colonnaded atrium. This church had been built over the small shrine believed to mark the buria...
The plan to rebuild
By the end of the 15th century, having been neglected during the period of the Avignon Papacy, the old basilica had fallen into disrepair. It appears that the first pope to consider rebuilding, or at least making radical changes was Pope Nicholas V (1447–55). He commissioned work on the old building from Leone Battista Alberti and Bernardo Rossellino and also had Rossellino design a plan for an entirely new basilica, or an extreme modification of the old. His rei...
Pope Julius' scheme for the grandest building in Christendom was the subject of a competition for which a number of entries remain intact in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence. It was the design of Donato Bramante that was selected, and for which the foundation stone was laid in 1506. This plan was in the form of an enormous Greek Cross with a dome inspired by that of the huge circular Roman temple, the Pantheon. The main difference between Bramante's design and that of...
Michelangelo took over a building site at which four piers, enormous beyond any constructed since ancient Roman times, were rising behind the remaining nave of the old basilica. He also inherited the numerous schemes designed and redesigned by some of the greatest architectural and engineering minds of the 16th century. There were certain common elements in these schemes. They all called for a dome to equal that engineered by Brunelleschi a century earlier and...
Dome: successive and final designs
The dome of St. Peter's rises to a total height of 136.57 metres (448.1 ft) from the floor of the basilica to the top of the external cross. It is the tallest dome in the world. Its internal diameter is 41.47 metres (136.1 ft), slightly smaller than two of the three other huge domes that preceded it, those of the Pantheon of Ancient Rome, 43.3 metres (142 ft), and Florence Cathedral of the Early Renaissance, 44 metres (144 ft). It has a greater diameter by approximate...
Pope Urban VIII and Bernini
As a young boy Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680) visited St. Peter's with the painter Annibale Carracci and stated his wish to build "a mighty throne for the apostle". His wish came true. As a young man, in 1626, he received the patronage of Pope Urban VIII and worked on the embellishment of the Basilica for 50 years. Appointed as Maderno's successor in 1629, he was to become regarded as the greatest architect and sculptor of the Baroque period. Bernini's works at St. Pet...
To the east of the basilica is the Piazza di San Pietro, (St. Peter's Square). The present arrangement, constructed between 1656 and 1667, is the Baroque inspiration of Bernini who inherited a location already occupied by an Egyptian obelisk which was centrally placed, (with some contrivance) to Maderno's facade. The obelisk, known as "The Witness", at 25.5 metres (84 ft) and a total height, including base and the cross on top, of 40 metres (130 ft), is the second largest standing obelisk, and the only one to remain standing since its removal from Egypt and re-erection at the Circus of Nero in 37 AD, where it is thought to have stood witness to the crucifixion of St Peter. Its removal to its present location by order of Pope Sixtus V and engineered by Domenico Fontana on 28 September 1586, was an operation fraught with difficulties and nearly ending in disaster when the ropes holding the obelisk began to smoke from the friction....
Tombs and relics
There are over 100 tombs within St. Peter's Basilica (extant to various extents), many located beneath the Basilica. These include 91 popes, St. Ignatius of Antioch, Holy Roman Emperor Otto II, and the composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. Exiled Catholic British royalty James Francis Edward Stuart and his two sons, Charles Edward Stuart and Henry Benedict Stuart, Cardinal Bishop of Frascati, are buried here, having been granted asylum by Pope Clement XI. A...
St. Peter's Basilica has many treasures. These include Christian relics, the tombs of popes and many other important people, famous artworks which are mostly sculpture and other interesting things. The Egyptian obelisk stands in the centre of the piazza. The fountains of Maderna and Bernini are lit up at night.
St. Peter's Basilica, also called the Vatican Basilica, is a major pilgrimage site, being built over the burial place of Saint Peter. It is used for most of the main religious ceremonies in which the Pope takes part. The Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls, is also known as the Ostian Basilica, because it is on the road that led to Ostia. It is built over the burial place of Saint Paul.
- related to: Old St. Peter's Basilica wikipedia
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