Vatican City, the smallest independent nation in the world, is located in the heart of Italy’s Rome capital, considered to be the most sacred place of Roman Catholics or Christians. In 2016, pilgrims alone had 4 million people visiting Vatican City and the Holy See. The pious people wanted to come here to meet the Pope, with 762,000 people participating in papal celebrations. But the Vatican has more than one pilgrimage destination, when travel lovers can come and experience an impressive Vatican with culture, and great architecture.
I am not a Roman Catholic, but a passionate person with the beauty of architecture and the magnificence of buildings that have a long history, I am completely stunned by the cathedral and the square school in front of this religious architecture.
Designed primarily by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica is the most famous building of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world. Although this is neither the mother church of the Catholic Church nor the church of the Diocese of Rome, St. Peter is still considered one of the most sacred Catholic temples. St. Peter’s Cathedral has been described as “holding a unique position in the Christian world.”
The Catholic tradition holds that the Basilica is the burial place of Saint Peter, the head of the Apostles of Jesus and also the first bishop of Rome. The tomb of Saint Peter is said to be right under the high altar of the Basilica.
St. Peter’s Basilica is famous as a place of pilgrimage and for its liturgical functions. The Pope presided over a number of liturgies throughout the year, attracting audiences from 15,000 to more than 80,000 people, in the Basilica or adjacent St. Peter’s Square. St. Peter has many historical associations, with the early Christian Church, Pope, Protestant Reform and Catholic Reform and many artists, especially Michelangelo. As an architectural work, it is considered the greatest building in its time. St. Peter is one of the four churches in the world holding the rank of the Basilica, all four churches are in Rome. Contrary to popular misconceptions, it is not a church because it is not a bishop’s place.
I also had a chance on my second afternoon in Rome, Sunday, so I attended the liturgy of a bishop. Usually visitors mix with a large flow of people so the guard will stop and ask you what to do. If you answer in to see the ceremony, you will be allowed to sit and watch. The protection constantly reminds visitors to remain silent. In quiet space, listening to hymns and commandments in Latin, emotions are really strong even though I am not religious myself. The ceremony lasted 1 hour, but a great number of Catholics came to listen. Hearing the Pope’s ceremonies, even the people who sat were spread outside the basilica to watch the ceremony. The magnificence of St. Peter’s Basilica lies not only in architecture, but also in its religious values.