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April 5, 2012

St. Peter's Basilica

As part of my "online" Visita Iglesia series wherein I am featuring churches that I have visited in the Philippines and abroad, today I am featuring St. Peter's Basilica, the heart of Roman Catholicism. St. Peter's Basilica, found in the Vatican City in Rome, is definitely a sight to behold. I never knew that I would have such opportunity to see it, let alone step inside its hallowed halls. When I was in Europe a year ago, I was lucky to have found the opportunity to go to Rome when our ship docked at Civitavecchia. Together with some friends, we caught a train to Rome and spent the next 8 hours walking around The Eternal City, where Ceasars and Popes roamed.

I was very lucky as well since the trip to Rome coincidentally fell on a Wednesday and Wednesdays are usually scheduled for Papal audiences in the square. By the time we reached St. Peter's square, the Pope was about to make his entrance into the square. I fell in line and waited to see Pope Benedict XVI.

After going around Rome to visit the Trevi fountain and the Colosseum and other churches, we went back to St. Peter's where we were able to line up and enter the church itself. It was a fantastic experience for me. I was awed and at the same time almost emotional. I never imagine myself standing inside St. Peter's.

The church covers an area of 5.7 acres and has a capacity of over 60,000 people. Construction on the current basilica, over the old Constantinian edifice, began on April 18, 1506 and was completed in 1626. Although a number of architects worked on the structure, Michelangelo played a key role in saving all that was possible of Donato Bramante's original plan for the basilica, done in the High Renaissance style.

Inside, I was lucky to have seen the actual La Pieta of Michelangelo. Priceless works of art adorned the halls such as the monument for the Stuart Kings of England, the famous Baldichin and of course interior view of the Dome.

I will always cherish my experience at the St. Peter's.

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