“This Feast gives us the occasion to highlight the meaning and value of the Church,” said Pope Benedict XVI on the occasion of the dedication in 2009.
Newsroom (19/11/2021 08:30, Gaudium Press) On 18 November, the Catholic Church celebrates the dedication of the Roman Basilicas of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Built in Rome, these temples contain the mortal remains of these two outstanding Christian Apostles: St. Peter and St. Paul.
St. Peter’s Basilica
The Basilica of Saint Peter, which is located at the Vatican in the heart of Rome, was built by order of the Emperor Constantine in the year 323. It stands upon the tomb of the Apostle Peter, the first Pope of the Church.
The construction of the current St. Peter’s Basilica was begun by Pope Nicholas V in 1454, and was completed under Pope Urban VIII, some 170 years later.
Pope Urban V consecrated the new Basilica of St. Peter on 18 November, 1626, which happened to be the same date on which the old Basilica was consecrated.
The New Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica is majestic. Everything in it is large, and yet one does not feel diminished or inferior when inside of this magnificent structure. Everyone is welcomed here. The basilica is 212 metres long and 140 metres wide, with its dome standing 133 metres high. In comparison, no Catholic temple is greater in dimensions than Saint Peter’s.
Saint Paul Outside the Walls
St. Paul’s Basilica was also born of the will of the first Christian Emperor, Constantine. The Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls is so named because it is actually located outside the walls that surrounded ancient Rome.
After St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Paul’s Outside the Walls is the largest temple in Rome. In 1823, a fire nearly completely destroyed it. What was left of it was added to its ashes, and with a great deal of good will and effort, it was reborn. It was Pope Leo XIII who began its reconstruction, and it was consecrated again on 10 December 1854 by Pope Pius IX.
In the Basilica dedicated to the Saint who was considered “The Apostle”, there is an exhibition of mosaics depicting all the Popes from St. Peter to the present one, Pope Francis. Pope Benedict XVI, in 2009, on the occasion of this celebration, stated that “this Feast gives us the opportunity to highlight the meaning and value of the Church“. (EPC)
Compiled by Sandra Chisholm