Saturday, October 24, 2020

The Grave of St Peter and the Ancient Vatican Basilica

Here are a couple of interesting things I recently stumbled across about the grave of St Peter and the basilica originally built over it by the Emperor Constantine in 320s. The first video gives a detailed explanation of each archeological phase of the site, from the original burial to the time of the first church’s construction. The site was rediscovered by excavations that began after the death of Pope Pius XI in February of 1939, when his tomb was being installed in the Vatican grottos. Workman accidentally broke through the floor, revealing open spaces underneath it whose existence was until that point unknown.

The second video is a “sketch” made with a modern architect’s model-drawing program, which shows how the ancient basilica would have been built step-by-step. (A lot of time is devoted to the large courtyard in front of the basilica.)

This video, which I have shared before, gives a good sense of the interior, although not of the decorations.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: