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You are Here: > > > > St Peter's Basilica

St Peter's Basilica

 
 
St Peter's Basilica, or the Basilica de San Pietro in Vaticano, is probably the largest church in the Christian faith. It occupies an area of 23,000 square kilometers, and can house as much as 60,000 devotees. Of the five major basilicas in Rome's Vatican City cluster, this house of worship is ranked as second.

It was named after St Peter because it was believed that the site it now stands on was the burial place of its namesake saint, St. Peter, one of Christ's twelve apostles. St Peter was also the first Bishop of Antioch, and eventually, became the first bishop of Rome. Faithful followers believe that his tomb can be found just beneath the church's baldachino and altar, and soon after, other popes have been buried in the same location.

Construction of this basilica began in 1506, and was concluded in 1626. The current site of St Peter's Basilica used to be the location of the Constantinian Basilica.

The basilica is not the ecumenical mother church, as most people are prone to believe. The fact is, the basilica is not a cathedral at all, and cannot hold the distinction of being the cathedral of the Pope. It is the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano that holds the honor of being such. However, St Peter's, because of its proximity to the Papal residence, is the venue of numerous Papal ceremonies.





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