Sunday, 19 December 2010

Rome: Part 2 - The Christmas Season at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican

When in Rome, visiting the Vatican is always a must for me, as this is the seat of my faith. Two years in a row, I have had the good fortune of coming to visit this place at this time of the year.

On the way to Vatican City

At St. Peter's Basilica, I am drawn back to the biblical history of when Peter was named as the first pope of our church, when Jesus commanded him to “Feed my lambs.... Tend my sheep.... Feed my sheep”.

On Villa Della Concilazione, entrance to the piazza with the basilica in the background, created by Benito Mussolini.

Walking towards the basilica

A perspective look at the nave of the basilica

The first thing you will notice is a crowd gathered at a side altar to the right of the church, as they view Michelangelo's "La Pieta."

Font for the holy water

Notice that on the sculpture of St. Peter the toe-details of one foot have been smoothened out as pilgrims have continued to prayerfully touch it through all these centuries.

Many biblically-themed "paintings" adorn several side altars. The original paintings were removed during the last world war and, today, they are very intricate mosaics that pilgrims get to look at. Hard to believe? Look closer and you will see very small, colored tiles used to replicate the original designs.

The Baldacchino is a masterpiece by Bernini. Directly below it, on the underground level, is the tomb of St. Peter.

The pope's coat of arms adorns the base of each column of the Baldacchino.

The main altar behind the Baldacchino, where only the pope can say mass

Ceiling detail above the main altar

The cupola

An archway from the middle part of the nave, leading to the side of the cruciform layout, where several small chapels are located.

The manger scene from last year's display, under the changing colored spotlights...

as seen in regular lighting.

This time, we decided to visit the Vatican Museum. Upon entering from the inside of the church, the Eucharistia, the list of popes really impressed upon me the solid link of the Roman Catholic Church to Jesus Christ, from His first appointment of St. Peter to the present pope.

I was eagerly looking for the manger scene display, this year, but this was all they had, so far.

Out on the piazza, a giant Christmas tree stands close to the makings of a manger scene. On Sundays, this place fills up with pilgrims from all over the world, who come to see and listen to the papal address.

We'll be back on a Sunday, then.


  1. Funny! Except for the creche, my pictures of the St. Peter's are the same exact ones as Suzanne

  2. Yogi, I love your pics and your commentaries. Indeed, you are very blessed to be able to go to St. Peter's whilst there are only a few visitors. Been there twice but missed that list of Popes. I would have loved to have seen that! I did not know that list even existed there!
    I have had the good fortune though to hear Mass at a side chapel at St. Peter's. The Mass was said in Tagalog and English by a young Filipino priest. Mass was at 7 am! Good thing our hotel was only 1/2 a block away... there at Via Aurelia.

  3. Riz, here's a link for the "List of Popes" just in case you want to see who are in it. Pope Benedict XVI is listed as 265th.



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