Vatican City Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
As a Christian believer , seeing St. Peter's Square from afar gave outright mixed emotions. I felt honoured and privileged. I was touched and humbled in more ways than one. Outside the basilica, people were not minding the heat of the sun as they queue the longest lines I have ever seen in my life.
Stepping inside St. Peter's Basilica, the grandness of the church itself was exceptional. Knowing that I was right inside one of the holiest sites in the world gave a deep sense of respect for my beliefs and my church. The intense admiration I felt could not be contained.
The massive structure and it's grandeur does not only speak for itself, the saintliness can be felt all thoughout the place.
Within the gigantic pillars supporting this magnificent structure, there are numerous chapels (Chapel of the Column, Clementine Chapel and Presentation Chapel...) and altars (Altar of St. Joseph, St Thomas...). The whole church is filled with renaissance monuments, statues, trimmings, and sculptures in meticulous motifs/details and maintained in utmost attention. Each step I took was a journey through time.
Something magical filled me at the site of Michaelangelo's designed dome (cupola) as it glares direct light upon Baldacchino (the papal altar). Designed by Bernini, the Baldacchino compliments the dome as if they were predesigned from the beginning. Looking up, when I saw the inscription at the cupola, I knew then that those words must be the basis of the church, not only by the sheer size of each letters encircling the dome base, but because those words were the truth spoken by God. Indeed I was told that it was the message on Matthew 16:18-19 ('You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.... I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven').
I headed to the roof of the dome through the lift. My amazement was never-ending. Up there, I saw how tall (2m high) the letters were on the inscriptions. I learned that each and every image on the cupola was carefully assembled using mosaic. Nothing was painted.
I visited the tomb of St Peter along with tombs of other popes. As I travelled the stairs of The Confessio, I landed right in front of Baldacchino. It was astonishing to see it just a few steps away than from the tourists viewing area (the pope was giving a mass the ff day, thus the altar area was enclosed with a barrier). Saying it was grand, would not suffice.
And finally before heading out, I came closer to the bronze statue of St. Peter, where his right foot was visibly faded by the ritual touch and kisses of pilgrims from all over the world. Traditions were observed and tribute was paid.
My visit to St. Peter's Basilica was made more meaningful. It was because I was so much more than a tourist. I was a pilgrim.