Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII was head of the Catholic Church from 20 February 1878 to his death. He was the oldest pope, had the third-longest confirmed pontificate, behind that of Pius IX and John Paul II, he is well known for his intellectualism and his attempts to define the position of the Catholic Church with regard to modern thinking. In his famous 1891 encyclical Rerum novarum, Pope Leo outlined the rights of workers to a fair wage, safe working conditions, the formation of labor unions, while affirming the rights of property and free enterprise, opposing both Marxism and laissez-faire capitalism, he promoted both the rosary and the scapular. Leo XIII issued a record of eleven Papal encyclicals on the rosary earning him the title as the "Rosary Pope". In addition, he approved two new Marian scapulars and was the first pope to embrace the concept of Mary as Mediatrix, he was the first pope to never have held any control over the Papal States, after they had been dissolved by 1870. He was buried in the grottos of Saint Peter's Basilica before his remains were transferred to the Basilica of Saint John Lateran.
Born in Carpineto Romano, near Rome, he was the sixth of the seven sons of Count Ludovico Pecci and his wife Anna Prosperi Buzzi. His brothers included Giovanni Battista Pecci; until 1818 he lived at home with his family, "in which religion counted as the highest grace on earth, as through her, salvation can be earned for all eternity". Together with his brother Giuseppe, he studied in the Jesuit College in Viterbo, where he stayed until 1824, he was known to write his own Latin poems at the age of eleven. In 1824 he and his older brother Giuseppe were called to Rome. Count Pecci wanted his children near him after the loss of his wife, so they stayed with him in Rome, attending the Jesuit Collegium Romanum. In 1828, 18-year-old Vincenzo decided in favour of secular clergy, while his brother Giuseppe entered the Jesuit order, he studied at the Academia dei Nobili diplomacy and law. In 1834, he gave a student presentation, attended by several cardinals, on papal judgements. For his presentation he received awards for academic excellence, gained the attention of Vatican officials.
Cardinal Secretary of State Luigi Lambruschini introduced him to Vatican congregations. During a cholera epidemic in Rome he assisted Cardinal Sala in his duties as overseer of all the city hospitals. In 1836 he received his doctorate in theology and doctorates of Canon Law in Rome. On 14 February 1837, Pope Gregory XVI appointed the 27 year old Pecci as personal prelate before he was ordained priest on 31 December 1837, by the Vicar of Rome, Cardinal Carlo Odescalchi, he celebrated his first mass together with his priest brother Giuseppe. Shortly thereafter, Gregory XVI appointed Pecci as legate to Benevento, the smallest of papal provinces, including about 20,000 people; the main problems facing Pecci were a decaying local economy, insecurity because of widespread bandits, pervasive Mafia or Camorra structures, which were allied with aristocratic families. Pecci arrested the most powerful aristocrat in Benevento, his troops captured others, who were either killed or imprisoned by him. With the public order restored, he turned to the economy and a reform of the tax system to stimulate trade with neighboring provinces.
Pecci was first destined for Spoleto, a province of 100,000. On 17 July 1841, he was sent to Perugia with 200,000 inhabitants, his immediate concern was to prepare the province for a papal visitation in the same year. Pope Gregory XVI visited hospitals and educational institutions for several days, asking for advice and listing questions; the fight against corruption continued in Perugia. When it was claimed that a bakery was selling bread below the prescribed pound weight, he went there, had all bread weighed, confiscated it if below legal weight; the confiscated bread was distributed to the poor. In 1843, only thirty-three years old, was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Belgium, a position which guaranteed the Cardinal's hat after completion of the tour. On 27 April 1843, Pope Gregory XVI appointed Pecci Archbishop and asked his Cardinal Secretary of State Lambruschini to consecrate him. Pecci developed excellent relations with the royal family and used the location to visit neighbouring Germany, where he was interested in the resumed construction of the Cologne Cathedral.
In 1844, upon his initiative, a Belgian College in Rome was opened, where 102 years in 1946, the future Pope John Paul II would begin his Roman studies. He spent several weeks in England with Bishop Nicholas Wiseman reviewing the condition of the Catholic Church in that country. In Belgium, the school question was debated between the Catholic majority and the Liberal minority. Pecci encouraged the struggle for Catholic schools, yet he was able to win the good will of the Court, not only of the pious Queen Louise, but of King Leopold I Liberal in his views; the new nuncio succeeded in uniting the Catholics. At the end of his mission, the King granted him the Grand Cordon in the Order of Leopold. In 1843, Pecci had been named papal assistant. From 1846 to 1877 he was considered a successful Archbishop-Bishop of Perugia. In 1847, after Pope Pius IX granted unlimited freedom for the press in the Papal States, popular in the first years of his episcopate, beca
Old St. Peter's Basilica
Old St. Peter's Basilica was the building that stood, from the 4th to 16th centuries, where the new St. Peter's Basilica stands today in Vatican City. Construction of the basilica, built over the historical site of the Circus of Nero, began during the reign of Emperor Constantine I; the name "old St. Peter's Basilica" has been used since the construction of the current basilica to distinguish the two buildings. Construction began by orders of the Roman Emperor Constantine I between 318 and 322, took about 40 years to complete. Over the next twelve centuries, the church gained importance becoming a major place of pilgrimage in Rome. Papal coronations were held at the basilica, in 800, Charlemagne was crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire there. In 846, Saracens damaged the basilica; the raiders seem to have known about Rome's extraordinary treasures. Some holy – and impressive – basilicas, such as St. Peter's Basilica, were outside the Aurelian walls, thus easy targets, they were "filled to overflowing with rich liturgical vessels and with jeweled reliquaries housing all of the relics amassed".
As a result, the raiders pillaged the holy shrine. In response Pope Leo IV built the Leonine wall and rebuilt the parts of St. Peter's, damaged. In 1099, Urban II convened a council including St Anselm. Among other topics, it repeated the bans on lay investiture and on clergy's paying homage to secular lords. By the 15th century the church was falling into ruin. Discussions on repairing parts of the structure commenced upon the pope's return from Avignon. Two people involved in this reconstruction were Leon Battista Alberti and Bernardo Rossellino, who improved the apse and added a multi-story benediction loggia to the atrium facade, on which construction continued intermittently until the new basilica was begun. Alberti pronounced the basilica a structural abomination: I have noticed in the basilica of St. Peter's in Rome a crass feature: an long and high wall has been constructed over a continuous series of openings, with no curves to give it strength, no buttresses to lend it support... The whole stretch of wall has been pierced by too many openings and built too high...
As a result, the continual force of the wind has displaced the wall more than six feet from the vertical. At first Pope Julius II had every intention of preserving the old building, but his attention soon turned toward tearing it down and building a new structure. Many people of the time were shocked by the proposal, as the building represented papal continuity going back to Peter; the original altar was to be preserved in the new structure. The design was a typical basilica form with the plan and elevation resembling those of Roman basilicas and audience halls, such as the Basilica Ulpia in Trajan's Forum and Constantine's own Aula Palatina at Trier, rather than the design of any Greco-Roman temple. Constantine went to great pains to build the basilica on the site of Saint Peter's grave, this fact influenced the layout of the building; the Vatican Hill, on the west bank of the Tiber River, was leveled. Notably, since the site was outside the boundaries of the ancient city, the apse with the altar was located in the west so that the basilica's façade could be approached from Rome itself to the east.
The exterior however, unlike earlier pagan temples, was not lavishly decorated. The church was capable of housing from 3,000 to 4,000 worshipers at one time, it consisted of five aisles, a wide central nave and two smaller aisles to each side, which were each divided by 21 marble columns, taken from earlier pagan buildings. It was over 350 feet long, built in the shape of a Latin cross, had a gabled roof, timbered on the interior and which stood at over 100 feet at the center. An atrium, known as the "Garden of Paradise", stood at the entrance and had five doors which led to the body of the church; the altar of Old St. Peter's Basilica used several Solomonic columns. According to tradition, Constantine took these columns from the Temple of Solomon and gave them to the church; when Gian Lorenzo Bernini built his baldacchino to cover the new St. Peter's altar, he drew from the twisted design of the old columns. Eight of the original columns were moved to the piers of the new St. Peter's; the great Navicella mosaic in the atrium is attributed to Giotto di Bondone.
The giant mosaic, commissioned by Cardinal Jacopo Stefaneschi, occupied the whole wall above the entrance arcade facing the courtyard. It depicted St. Peter walking on the waters; this extraordinary work was destroyed during the construction of the new St. Peter's in the 16th century, but fragments were preserved. Navicella means "little ship" referring to the large boat which dominated the scene, whose sail, filled by the storm, loomed over the horizon; such a natural representation of a seascape was known only from ancient works of art. The nave ended with an arch, which held a mosaic of Constantine and Saint Peter, who presented a model of the church to Christ. On the walls, each having 11 windows, were frescoes of various people and scenes from both the Old and New Testament; the fragment of an eighth-century mosaic, the Epiphany, is one of the rare remaining bits of the medieval decoration of Old St. Peter's Basilica; the precious fragment is kept in the sacristy of Santa Maria in Cosmedin.
It proves the high artistic quality of the destroyed mosaics. Another one, a standing madonna, is on a side altar in the Basilica of San Marco in Florence. Since the crucifixion and burial of Saint Peter in
Pope Urban VII
Pope Urban VII, born Giovanni Battista Castagna, was Pope from 15 to 27 September 1590. His twelve-day papacy was the shortest in history. Giovanni Battista Castagna was born in Rome in 1521 to a noble family as the son of Cosimo Castagna of Genoa and Costanza Ricci Giacobazzi of Rome. Castagna studied in universities all across Italy and obtained a doctorate in civil law and canon law when he finished his studies at the University of Bologna. Soon after he became auditor of his uncle, Cardinal Girolamo Verallo, whom he accompanied as datary on a papal legation to France, he served as a constitutional lawyer and entered the Roman Curia during the pontificate of Pope Julius III as the Referendary of the Apostolic Signatura. Castagna was chosen to be the new Archbishop of Rossano on 1 March 1553, he would receive all the minor and major orders culminating in his ordination to the priesthood on 30 March 1553 in Rome, he received episcopal consecration a month after at the home of Cardinal Verallo.
He served as the Governor of Fano from 1555 to 1559 and served as the Governor of Perugia and Umbria from 1559 to 1560. During the reign of Pius IV he settled satisfactorily a long-standing boundary dispute between the inhabitants of Terni and Spoleto. Castagna would participate in the Council of Trent from 1562 to 1563 and served as the president of several conciliar congregations, he was appointed as the Apostolic Nuncio to Spain in 1565 and served there until 1572, resigning his post from his archdiocese a year later. He served as the Governor of Bologna from 1576 to 1577. Among other positions, he was the Apostolic Nuncio to Venice from 1573 to 1577 and served as the Papal Legate to Flanders and Cologne from 1578 to 1580. Pope Gregory XIII elevated him to the cardinalate on 12 December 1583 and he was appointed as the Cardinal-Priest of San Marcello. After the death of Pope Sixtus V a conclave was convoked to elect a successor. Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany had been appointed a cardinal at the age of fourteen, but was never ordained to the priesthood.
At the age of thirty-eight, he resigned the cardinalate upon the death of his older brother, Francesco in 1587, in order to succeed to the title. Ferdinando's foreign policy attempted to free Tuscany from Spanish domination, he was opposed to the election of any candidate supported by Spain. He persuaded Cardinal Alessandro Peretti di Montalto, grand-nephew of Sixtus V to switch his support from Cardinal Marco Antonio Colonna, which brought the support of the younger cardinals appointed by the late Sixtus. Castagna, a seasoned diplomat of moderation and proven rectitude was elected as pope on 15 September 1590 and selected the pontifical name of "Urban VII". Urban VII's short passage in office gave rise to the world's first known public smoking ban, as he threatened to excommunicate anyone who "took tobacco in the porchway of or inside a church, whether it be by chewing it, smoking it with a pipe or sniffing it in powdered form through the nose". Urban VII was known for his charity to the poor.
He subsidized Roman bakers so they could sell bread under cost, restricted the spending on luxury items for members of his court. He subsidized public works projects throughout the Papal States. Urban VII was against nepotism and he forbade it within the Roman Curia. Urban VII died on 27 September 1590, shortly before midnight, of malaria in Rome, he was buried in the Vatican. The funeral oration was delivered by Pompeo Ugonio, his remains were transferred to the church of S. Maria sopra Minerva on 21 September 1606, his estate was valued at 30,000 scudi and it was bequeathed to the Archconfraternity of the Annunciation to use as dowries for poor young girls. List of popes Media related to Urbanus VII at Wikimedia Commons
Santa Maria in Trastevere
The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere. The basic floor plan and wall structure of the church date back to the 340s, much of the structure to 1140-43; the first sanctuary was built in 221 and 227 by Pope Callixtus I and completed by Pope Julius I. The church has large areas of important mosaics from the late 13th century by Pietro Cavallini; the inscription on the episcopal throne states that this is the first church in Rome dedicated to Mary, mother of Jesus, although some claim that privilege belongs to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. It is one of the oldest churches in the city. A Christian house-church was founded here about 220 by Pope Saint Callixtus I on the site of the Taberna meritoria, a refuge for retired soldiers; the area was made available for Christian use by Emperor Alexander Severus when he settled a dispute between the Christians and tavern-keepers, according to the Liber Pontificalis "I prefer that it should belong to those who honor God, whatever be their form of worship."
In 340, when Pope Julius I rebuilt the titulus Callixti on a larger scale, it became the titulus Iulii in commemoration of his patronage and one of the original 25 parishes in Rome. The church underwent two restorations in the fifth and eighth centuries and in 1140-43 it was re-erected on its old foundations under Pope Innocent II. Innocent II razed the church along with the completed tomb of the Antipope Anacletus II, his former rival. Innocent II arranged for his own burial on the spot occupied by the tomb; the richly carved Ionic capitals reused along its nave were taken either from the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla or the nearby Temple of Isis on the Janiculum. When scholarship during the 19th century identified the faces in their carved decoration as Isis and Harpocrates, a restoration under Pius IX in 1870 hammered off the offending faces; the predecessor of the present church was built in the early fourth century and that church was itself the successor to one of the tituli, Early Christian basilicas ascribed to a patron and literally inscribed with his name.
Although nothing remains to establish with certainty where any of the public Christian edifices of Rome before the time of Constantine the Great were situated, the basilica on this site was known as Titulus Callisti, based on a legend in the Liber Pontificalis, which ascribed the earliest church here to a foundation by Pope Callixtus I, whose remains, translated to the new structure, are preserved under the altar. The inscriptions found in Santa Maria in Trastevere, a valuable resource illustrating the history of the Basilica, were collected and published by Vincenzo Forcella; the present nave stands on the earlier foundations. The 22 granite columns with Ionic and Corinthian capitals that separate the nave from the aisles came from the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla, as did the lintel of the entrance door. Inside the church are a number of 12th and late 13th-century mosaics. Below are mosaics on the subject of the Life of the Virgin by Pietro Cavallini. Above is the mosaic representation of the "Coronation of the Virgin".
The "Coronation of the Virgin" sits atop an apse vault, depicts Pope Innocent II holding a model of the church. Domenichino's octagonal ceiling painting, Assumption of the Virgin fits in the coffered ceiling setting that he designed; the fifth chapel to the left is the Avila Chapel designed by Antonio Gherardi. This, his Chapel of S. Cecilia in San Carlo ai Catinari are two of the most architecturally inventive chapels of the late-17th century in Rome; the lower order of the chapel is dark and employs Borromini-like forms. In the dome, there is an opening or oculus from which four putti emerge to carry a central tempietto, all of which frames a light-filled chamber above, illuminated by windows not visible from below; the church keeps a relic of her head, as well as a portion of the Holy Sponge. Among those buried in the church are the relics of Pope Callixtus I, Pope Innocent II, Antipope Anacletus II, Cardinal Philippe of Alençon and Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio; the Romanesque campanile is from the 12th century.
Near the top, a niche protects a mosaic of the Child. The mosaics on the façade are believed to be from the 12th century, they depict the Madonna suckling the Child, flanked by 10 women holding lamps. This image on the façade showing Mary nursing Jesus is an early example of a popular late-medieval and renaissance type of image of the Virgin; the motif itself originated much earlier, with significant seventh-century Coptic examples at Wadi Natrun in Egypt. The façade of the church was restored in 1702 by Carlo Fontana, who replaced the ancient porch with a sloping tiled roof — seen in Falda's view above — with the present classicizing one; the octagonal fountain in the piazza in front of the church, which appears in a map of 1472, was restored by Carlo Fontana. Ancient sources maintain that the titulus S. Mariae was established by Pope Alexander I around 112. Traditions give the names of the early patrons of the tituli and have retrospectively assigned them the title of cardinal: thus at that time, the cardinal-patron of this basilica, these traditions assert, would have been Saint Calepodius.
Pope Callixtus I confirmed the titulus in 221. Callisti et Iuliani. By the 12th century, cardinal deacons as well as the presbyters had long be
Scala Regia (Vatican)
Scala Regia is a flight of steps in the Vatican City and is part of the formal entrance to the Vatican. It was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini; the official entrance to the Apostolic Palace is the Portone di Bronzo at the north side of St Peter's Square. The door opens to the Scala Regia, which leads up to the Sala Regia, which in turn connects to the Sistine Chapel and the Pauline Chapel. Tourists are allowed to climb the staircase to enter the Sala Regia; the Scala Regia was built by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger in the early 16th century and was restored by Gian Lorenzo Bernini from 1663 to 1666. The site for the stairs, a comparatively narrow sliver of land between church and palace, is awkwardly shaped with irregular converging walls. Bernini used a number of theatrical, baroque effects in order to exalt this entry point into the Vatican; the staircase proper takes the form of a barrel-vaulted colonnade that becomes narrower at the end of the vista, exaggerating the distance. Above the arch at the beginning of this vista is the coat of arms of Alexander VII, flanked by two sculpted angels.
At the base of the stairs, Bernini placed his equestrian statue of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great. It is meant to display the event, before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge when at Saxa Rubra north of Rome along the Tiber, Constantine sees a vision of the cross with the words In Hoc Signo Vinces; the phrase appears prominently placed as a motto on a ribbon unfurled with a passion cross to its left, beneath a window over the Scala Regia, adjacent to the statue of Constantine. Emperors and other monarchs, having paid respects to the Pope, descended the Scala Regia, would observe the light shining down through the window, with the motto, reminiscent of Constantine's vision, be reminded to follow the Cross. In Bernini's statue of Constantine, he is awed and his horse rears, as Constantine realizes that he will win only with the power of the Christ; the moral of this story would not have been lost upon royal visitors to the pope, or for that matter, Cardinals accompanying a deceased pontiff's cortege, who are meant to see the leader of the church as the embodiment of the divine power that over-rules the kings of the world.
This theme is repeated in Vatican artworks such as Giulio Romano’s fresco of The Battle of Milvian Bridge, located in the Sala di Costantino as well as the marble relief in St. Peter's of Algardi’s Fuga d’Attila. Pope Clement IX installed a sculpture of Charlemagne in the opposite portico of St. Peter's Basilica as a pendant to that of Constantine. Index of Vatican City-related articles Pevsner, Nikolaus. An Outline of European Architecture. Penguin Scala Regia
The Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the pope, in Vatican City. Known as the Cappella Magna, the chapel takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV, who restored it between 1477 and 1480. Since that time, the chapel has served as a place of both functionary papal activity. Today, it is the site of the process by which a new pope is selected; the fame of the Sistine Chapel lies in the frescos that decorate the interior, most the Sistine Chapel ceiling and The Last Judgment by Michelangelo. During the reign of Sixtus IV, a team of Renaissance painters that included Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Cosimo Rosselli, created a series of frescos depicting the Life of Moses and the Life of Christ, offset by papal portraits above and trompe-l'œil drapery below; these paintings were completed in 1482, on 15 August 1483 Sixtus IV celebrated the first mass in the Sistine Chapel for the Feast of the Assumption, at which ceremony the chapel was consecrated and dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Between 1508 and 1512, under the patronage of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo painted the chapel's ceiling, a project which changed the course of Western art and is regarded as one of the major artistic accomplishments of human civilization. In a different climate, after the Sack of Rome, he returned and, between 1535 and 1541, painted The Last Judgment for Popes Clement VII and Paul III; the fame of Michelangelo's paintings has drawn multitudes of visitors to the chapel since they were revealed five hundred years ago. While known as the location of Papal conclaves, the primary function of the Sistine Chapel is as the chapel of the Papal Chapel, one of the two bodies of the Papal household, called until 1968 the Papal Court. At the time of Pope Sixtus IV in the late 15th century, the Papal Chapel comprised about 200 people, including clerics, officials of the Vatican and distinguished laity. There were 50 occasions during the year on which it was prescribed by the Papal Calendar that the whole Papal Chapel should meet.
Of these 50 occasions, 35 were masses, of which 8 were held in Basilicas, in general St. Peter's, were attended by large congregations; these included the Christmas Easter masses, at which the Pope himself was the celebrant. The other 27 masses could be held in a smaller, less public space, for which the Cappella Maggiore was used before it was rebuilt on the same site as the Sistine Chapel; the Cappella Maggiore derived its name, the Greater Chapel, from the fact that there was another chapel in use by the Pope and his retinue for daily worship. At the time of Pope Sixtus IV, this was the Chapel of Pope Nicholas V, decorated by Fra Angelico; the Cappella Maggiore is recorded as existing in 1368. According to a communication from Andreas of Trebizond to Pope Sixtus IV, by the time of its demolition to make way for the present chapel, the Cappella Maggiore was in a ruinous state with its walls leaning; the present chapel, on the site of the Cappella Maggiore, was designed by Baccio Pontelli for Pope Sixtus IV, for whom it is named, built under the supervision of Giovannino de Dolci between 1473 and 1481.
The proportions of the present chapel appear to follow those of the original. After its completion, the chapel was decorated with frescoes by a number of the most famous artists of the High Renaissance, including Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Pietro Perugino, Michelangelo; the first mass in the Sistine Chapel was celebrated on 15 August 1483, the Feast of the Assumption, at which ceremony the chapel was consecrated and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The Sistine Chapel has maintained its function to the present day, continues to host the important services of the Papal Calendar, unless the Pope is travelling. There is a permanent choir, the Sistine Chapel Choir, for whom much original music has been written, the most famous piece being Gregorio Allegri's Miserere. One of the functions of the Sistine Chapel is as a venue for the election of each successive pope in a conclave of the College of Cardinals. On the occasion of a conclave, a chimney is installed in the roof of the chapel, from which smoke arises as a signal.
If white smoke,which is created by burning the ballots of the election, appears, a new Pope has been elected. If a candidate receives less than a two-thirds vote, the cardinals send up black smoke—created by burning the ballots along with wet straw and chemical additives—it means that no successful election has yet occurred; the first papal conclave to be held on the Sistine Chapel was the conclave of 1492, which took place from August 6 from August 11 of the same year and in which Pope Alexander VI known as Rodrigo Borja, was elected. The conclave provided for the cardinals a space in which they could hear mass, in which they could eat and pass time attended by servants. From 1455, conclaves have been held in the Vatican. Since 1996, John Paul II's Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici gregis requires the cardinals to be lodged in the Domus Sanctae Marthae during a papal conclave, but to continue to vote in the Sistine Chapel. Canopies for each cardinal-elector were once used during conclaves—a sign of equal dignity.
After the new Pope accepts his election, he would give his new name. Until reforms instituted by Saint Pius X, the canopies were of different colours to designate which Cardinals had been appointed by which Pope. Paul