Saturday, November 10, 2012

The 3 other Basilicas

St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican

Yesterday I wrote about the mother church of Rome, the Lateran Basilica. So today I briefly refer to the 3 other Basilicas of Rome, and show you photos I took of each of them this past May. St. Peter’s Basilica is the most popular church in the world, the home of the Pope and the center of Christianity. The basilica was built on the burial place of St Peter, the collective work of Donato Bramante, Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, Michelangelo, Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola, Giacomo della Porta, Carlo Maderno and Gianlorenzo Bernini. There has been a church on this site since the 4th century, but construction of the present Basilica began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626.
St Paul outside the walls
St Peter’s outside the walls was built originally by King Constantine on the burial place of St Paul. The present Basilica was finished in 1823. It has an impressive portico with a statue of Saint Paul in the middle, as well as a cloister. A circular image of each Pope is seen all around the inside of the Basilica. Impressive mosaics and paintings adorn the rest of the church.
St Mary Major
St Mary Major is the largest church dedicated to the Blessed Mother, and the present church was finished in 1740 by Ferdinando Fuga who was also commissioned to modify the interior. According to tradition, during the pontificate of Liberius, the Roman patrician John and his wife, who were without heirs, made a vow to donate their possessions to the Virgin Mary. They prayed that she might make known to them how they were to dispose of their property in her honor. On  August 5th, at the height of the Roman summer, snow fell during the night on the summit of the Esquiline Hill. In obedience to a vision of the Virgin Mary which they had the same night, the couple built a basilica in honor of Mary on the very spot which was covered with snow.

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