St. Peter's Basilica

On this Day:

On April 18, 1505, construction of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome began.

The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican (Italian: Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano), or simply Saint Peter’s Basilica (Latin: Basilica Sancti Petri), is a church built in the Renaissance style located in Vatican City, the papal enclave that is within the city of Rome, Italy. It was initially planned by Pope Nicholas V and then Pope Julius II to replace the aging Old St. Peter’s Basilica, which was built in the fourth century by Roman emperor Constantine the Great. Construction of the present basilica began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626.

Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter’s is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world by interior measure. While it is neither the mother church of the Catholic Church nor the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome (these equivalent titles being held by the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome), St. Peter’s is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines. It has been described as “holding a unique position in the Christian world” and as “the greatest of all churches of Christendom.”

Catholic tradition holds that the basilica is the burial site of Saint Peter, chief among Jesus’s apostles and also the first Bishop of Rome (Pope). Saint Peter’s tomb is supposedly directly below the high altar of the basilica, also known as the Altar of the Confession. For this reason, many popes have been interred at St. Peter’s since the Early Christian period.

St. Peter’s is famous as a place of pilgrimage and for its liturgical functions. The pope presides at a number of liturgies throughout the year both within the basilica or the adjoining St. Peter’s Square; these liturgies draw audiences numbering from 15,000 to over 80,000 people. St. Peter’s has many historical associations, with the Early Christian Church, the Papacy, the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-reformation and numerous artists, especially Michelangelo. As a work of architecture, it is regarded as the greatest building of its age. St. Peter’s is one of the four churches in the world that hold the rank of Major papal basilica, all four of which are in Rome, and is also one of the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome. Contrary to popular misconception, it is not a cathedral because it is not the seat of a bishop; the cathedra of the pope as Bishop of Rome is at Saint John Lateran (per Wikipedia).

First, a Story:

A man died and went to heaven.

As he stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge
wall of clocks behind him.

Puzzled, he asked, “What are all those clocks?”

St. Peter answered, “Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone on Earth has a
Lie-Clock. Every time you lie the hands on your clock will move.”

“Oh,” said the man, “Whose clock is that?”

“That’s Mother Teresa’s. The hands have never moved, indicating that she
never told a lie.”

“Incredible,” said the man.

“And whose clock is that one?”

St. Peter responded, “That’s Abraham Lincoln’s clock. The hands have
moved twice, telling us that Abe told only two lies in his entire life.”

The man notices some other clocks. And whose are those?

St. Peter replied, “Those are clocks for the professions.  We have clocks for the lawyers, for the engineers, for the doctors and the like.”

Oh I see said the man. He notices a blank space on the wall. “Where is that space blank?” asked the man.

“Oh” said St. Peter.  That is where the politician’s clock used to stand.  It is in Jesus’ office. He’s using it as a ceiling fan.”

Second, a Song:

Per WorldSiteGuides and “St. Peters Basilica – HD footage, information and facts on one of Romes most stunning sites; St. Peters Basilica. For centuries, this basilica has been the center for the Catholic faith and it is regarded as the most beautiful buildings ever made.”

Here is WorldSiteGuides’ video of St Peters Basilica, Rome in high definition. I hope you enjoy this!


Thought for the Day:

“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” – Jesus, per the King James Bible

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Happy Easter. Have a great day!

Dave & Colleen

© 2022 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky


  1. Hi David. Happy Easter. St Peter’s Quiz – name the Christian church that had the world’s largest dome for about 900 years before St Peters was built.

    1. Ahhh Jack – you sent me on a research mission! This is what I found:

      The main dome of the Hagia Sophia was the largest pendentive dome in the world until the completion of St Peter’s Basilica, and it has a much lower height than any other dome of such a large diameter.

      The great dome at the Hagia Sophia is 32.6 meters (one hundred and seven feet) in diameter and is only 0.61 meters (two feet) thick. The main building materials for the original Hagia Sophia were brick and mortar. Brick aggregate was used to make roofs easier to construct. The aggregate weighs 2402.77 kilograms per cubic meter (150 pounds per cubic foot), an average weight of masonry construction at the time. Due to the materials plasticity, it was chosen over cut stone due to the fact that aggregate can be used over a longer distance. According to Rowland Mainstone, “it is unlikely that the vaulting-shell is anywhere more than one normal brick in thickness”.




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