|From the Janiculum Hill|
The dome on the other hand was designed by Michelangelo and is well worth the climb as the square when viewed from this height resembles a key hole, very symbolic indeed.
There are innumberable works of art that one encounters in St. Peter's. One of them is Bernini's baldachino or canopy over the papal altar.
The dome is supported by four piers with large niches at their base upon wihich rests 4 gigantic sculptures each representing the basilica's 4 major relics: St Helena with the Holy Cross, St. Longinus with the spear he used to pierce the side of Christ, St Andrew with the cross upon which he was crucified and St. Veronica with the veil she used to wipe the face of Christ.
|St. Longinus by Bernini|
The Basilica was built over St. Peter's tomb. A statue of St. Peter attracts many to take pictures and at one time pilgrims and the curious were even allowed to stroke his extended right foot.
In the crypt is where most of the popes are interred, the most recent being John Paul II.
|Tomb of John Paul II|
|Incorrupt remains of John XIII|
It can take time walking around St Peter’s. Although it is not the seat of the Pope (St. John Lateran has that honor), it is to most Catholics the most important church in Christendom. But it is no longer the largest! The Guiness Book of Records gives that honor to the Basilica of our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’voire. The basilica was built along the lines of St Peter's but one can't call it a replica. I visited this church when we lived in Boake, Cote d’Ivoire, a strange site, indeed, rising up along a sparsely inhabited stretch of highway on the way to Abidjian, Cote d’Ivoire’s capital. The church has beautiful stained glass windows, with a very African flavor. Even the mass we attended was replete with African drums and worshipping was active and lively, with singing and dancing as the norm.
|The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace|