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St. Paul at St. Peter's Square, Vatican City

St. Paul at St. Peter's Square, Vatican City

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Amit Banerjee


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St. Paul at St. Peter's Square, Vatican City

St. Paul at St. Peter's Square, Vatican City


Paul the Apostle (Paulos, c.5 – c. 67), original name Saul of Tarsus, was a Christian missionary who took the gospel of Christ to the first-century world. He is generally considered one of the most important figures of the Apostolic Age. In the mid-30s to the mid-50s, he founded several churches in Asia Minor and Europe. Paul used his status as both a Jew and a Roman citizen to advantage in his ministry to both Jewish and Roman audiences.

A native of Tarsus, the capital city in the Roman province of Cilicia, Paul wrote that he was "a Hebrew born of Hebrews", a Pharisee, and one who advanced in Judaism beyond many of his peers. He zealously persecuted the early followers of Jesus of Nazareth and violently tried to destroy the newly forming Christian church. Paul's dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus radically changed the course of his life.

Neither the Bible nor other sources say how or when Paul died, but Ignatius, probably around 110, writes that Paul was martyred. Christian tradition holds that Paul was beheaded in Rome during the reign of Nero around the mid-60s at Tre Fontane Abbey (Three Fountains Abbey). By comparison, tradition states that Peter, who was not a Roman citizen, was given the more painful death of being crucified upside-down.

During Nero’s great Christian persecution in 64 A.D., Saint Peter was martyred, crucified and buried in Caligula’s Circus, as one reads in the Liber Pontificalis (I, 118), 'via Aurelia iuxta palatium Neronianum, in Vaticanum' (In the Vatican, in Via Aurelia opposite Nero’s Palace). Eusebius of Caesarea (4th century) quotes a letter written by Gaius to Proclus, in which the presbyter invites his friend to Rome, claiming, 'in the Vatican and in Via Ostiense, you will find the trophies of those who founded this Church.' For this reason, the 2nd century aedicule which was intended to protect Saint Peter’s shrine, and which was discovered during the excavations in the Vatican necropolis, was called 'Gaius’s Trophy'. After Constantine’s Edict of Milan (313 A.D.) Christians were allowed to construct places of worship. Constantine himself authorized the building of the basilica in 324. It was intended to enclose 'Gaius’s Trophy' and to allow Peter’s tomb to become the centre of the structure. Consecrated in 329, the great basilica appeared as a longitudinal building with a nave, four aisles and a transept. Outside, a staircase led to the four-sided portico in front of the basilica, known also as Paradise, with a fountain in the middle for the ablutions of the catechumens. Charlemagne, king of the Franks, was crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in this basilica on Christmas eve in the year 800. Pilgrims gathered in the basilica from the early 14th century, having travelled on foot from all over Europe to reverence the tomb of the 'Prince of the Apostles'.

When the Popes abandoned Rome during the Avignon schism (1309-1377), the basilica, which was one thousand years old by then, was showing signs of wear and deterioration. Although we have little information about these problems, we know for a fact that in the mid 15th century, Pope Nicholas V asked the architect Bernardo Rossellino to draw up a project for a new choir, outside the Constantinian apse. It was built to a height of about 1.5 metres. By the early 16th century, the need to choose between restoring St Peter’s or rebuilding it completely was unavoidable, so much so that the new Pope Julius II, elected in October 1503, decided to entrust this task to Donato Bramante in 1505, one of the greatest architects of his time.

St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica Sancti Petri, Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano) is a Late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City. Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter's is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and remains one of the largest churches in the world. While it is neither the mother church of the Roman Catholic Church nor the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, St. Peter's is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic sites. It has been described as 'holding a unique position in the Christian world' and as 'the greatest of all churches of Christendom'.



St. Paul at Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Rome
St. Paul at Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Rome
Amit Banerjee




St. Peter's Basilica and St. Peter's Square, Vatican City
St. Peter's Basilica and St. Peter's Square, Vatican City
Amit Banerjee





http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_of_Tarsus



http://www.vaticanstate.va/content/vaticanstate/en/monumenti/basi
lica-di-s-pietro.html



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatican_City

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