Christianity has used symbolism from its beginnings. Each saint has a reason why they led an exemplary life. Symbols have been used to tell these stories throughout the history of the Church. A number of Christian saints are traditionally represented by a symbol or iconic motif associated with their life, termed an attribute or emblem, in order to identify them; the study of these forms part of iconography in art history. They were used so that the illiterate could recognize a scene, to give each of the Saints something of a personality in art, they are carried in the hand by the Saint. Attributes vary with either time or geography between Eastern Christianity and the West. Orthodox images more contained inscriptions with the names of saints, so the Eastern repertoire of attributes is smaller than the Western. Many of the most prominent saints, like Saint Peter and Saint John the Evangelist can be recognised by a distinctive facial type – as can Christ. In the case of saints their actual historical appearance can be used.
Some attributes are general, such as the palm frond carried by martyrs. The use of a symbol in a work of art depicting a Saint reminds people, being shown and of their story; the following is a list of some of these attributes. Mary is portrayed wearing blue, her attributes include a blue mantle, crown of 12 stars, pregnant woman, woman with child, woman trampling serpent, crescent moon, woman clothed with the sun, heart pierced by sword, Madonna lily and rosary beads. Delaney, John P.. Dictionary of Saints. Garden City, NY: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-13594-7. Lanzi, Fernando. Saints and their Symbols: Recognizing Saints in Art and in Popular Images. Translated by O'Connell, Matthew J. ISBN 9780814629703. Post, W. Ellwood. Saints and Symbols. SPCK Publishing. ISBN 9780281028948. Walsh, Michael. A New Dictionary of Saints: East and West. Liturgical Press. ISBN 978-0-8146-3186-7. Whittemore, Carroll E.. Symbols of the Church. Abingdon Press. ISBN 0687183014. Calendar of saints Christian symbolism Christianization of saints and feasts Doctor of the Church Iconography List of canonizations, for a list of Catholic canonizations by date Martyrology Patron saint Weather saints "Christian Iconography".
Augusta State University. Archived from the original on 2014-03-18. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown "Hagiographies and icons for many Orthodox saints". Orthodox Church in America. "Catholic Forum Patron Saints Index". Archived from the original on 2005-05-31. "Saints' Badges or Shields". "On the Canonizations of John Paul II". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28
World War I
World War I known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history, it is one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide. On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, leading to the July Crisis. In response, on 23 July Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia. Serbia's reply failed to satisfy the Austrians, the two moved to a war footing. A network of interlocking alliances enlarged the crisis from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one involving most of Europe.
By July 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions: the Triple Entente—consisting of France and Britain—and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Russia felt it necessary to back Serbia and, after Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital of Belgrade on the 28th, partial mobilisation was approved. General Russian mobilisation was announced on the evening of 30 July; when Russia failed to comply, Germany declared war on 1 August in support of Austria-Hungary, with Austria-Hungary following suit on 6th. German strategy for a war on two fronts against France and Russia was to concentrate the bulk of its army in the West to defeat France within four weeks shift forces to the East before Russia could mobilise. On 2 August, Germany demanded free passage through Belgium, an essential element in achieving a quick victory over France; when this was refused, German forces invaded Belgium on 3 August and declared war on France the same day. On 12 August and France declared war on Austria-Hungary.
In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Alliance, opening fronts in the Caucasus and the Sinai Peninsula. The war was fought in and drew upon each power's colonial empire as well, spreading the conflict to Africa and across the globe; the Entente and its allies would become known as the Allied Powers, while the grouping of Austria-Hungary and their allies would become known as the Central Powers. The German advance into France was halted at the Battle of the Marne and by the end of 1914, the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, marked by a long series of trench lines that changed little until 1917. In 1915, Italy opened a front in the Alps. Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and Greece joined the Allies in 1917, expanding the war in the Balkans; the United States remained neutral, although by doing nothing to prevent the Allies from procuring American supplies whilst the Allied blockade prevented the Germans from doing the same the U. S. became an important supplier of war material to the Allies.
After the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, the revelation that the Germans were trying to incite Mexico to make war on the United States, the U. S. declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Trained American forces would not begin arriving at the front in large numbers until mid-1918, but the American Expeditionary Force would reach some two million troops. Though Serbia was defeated in 1915, Romania joined the Allied Powers in 1916 only to be defeated in 1917, none of the great powers were knocked out of the war until 1918; the 1917 February Revolution in Russia replaced the Tsarist autocracy with the Provisional Government, but continuing discontent at the cost of the war led to the October Revolution, the creation of the Soviet Socialist Republic, the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the new government in March 1918, ending Russia's involvement in the war. This allowed the transfer of large numbers of German troops from the East to the Western Front, resulting in the German March 1918 Offensive.
This offensive was successful, but the Allies rallied and drove the Germans back in their Hundred Days Offensive. Bulgaria was the first Central Power to sign an armistice—the Armistice of Salonica on 29 September 1918. On 30 October, the Ottoman Empire capitulated. On 4 November, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to the Armistice of Villa Giusti after being decisively defeated by Italy in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. With its allies defeated, revolution at home, the military no longer willing to fight, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on 9 November and Germany signed an armistice on 11 November 1918. World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural and social climate of the world; the war and its immediate aftermath sparked numerous uprisings. The Big Four (Britain, the United States, It
Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares that a person who has died was a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the "canon", or list, of recognized saints. A person was recognized as a saint without any formal process. Different processes were developed, such as those used today in the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion; the first persons honored as saints were the martyrs. Pious legends of their deaths were considered affirmations of the truth of their faith in Christ; the Roman Rite's Canon of the Mass contains only the names of martyrs, along with that of the Blessed Virgin Mary and, since 1962, that of St. Joseph her spouse. By the fourth century, however, "confessors"—people who had confessed their faith not by dying but by word and life—began to be venerated publicly. Examples of such people are Saint Hilarion and Saint Ephrem the Syrian in the East, Saint Martin of Tours and Saint Hilary of Poitiers in the West.
Their names were inserted in the diptychs, the lists of saints explicitly venerated in the liturgy, their tombs were honoured in like manner as those of the martyrs. Since the witness of their lives was not as unequivocal as that of the martyrs, they were venerated publicly only with the approval by the local bishop; this process is referred to as "local canonization". This approval was required for veneration of a reputed martyr. In his history of the Donatist heresy, Saint Optatus recounts that at Carthage a Catholic matron, named Lucilla, incurred the censures of the Church for having kissed the relics of a reputed martyr whose claims to martyrdom had not been juridically proved, and Saint Cyprian recommended that the utmost diligence be observed in investigating the claims of those who were said to have died for the faith. All the circumstances accompanying the martyrdom were to be inquired into. Evidence was sought from the court records of the trials or from people, present at the trials.
Saint Augustine of Hippo tells of the procedure, followed in his day for the recognition of a martyr. The bishop of the diocese in which the martyrdom took place set up a canonical process for conducting the inquiry with the utmost severity; the acts of the process were sent either to the metropolitan or primate, who examined the cause, after consultation with the suffragan bishops, declared whether the deceased was worthy of the name of'martyr' and public veneration. Acts of formal recognition, such as the erection of an altar over the saint's tomb or transferring the saint's relics to a church, were preceded by formal inquiries into the sanctity of the person's life and the miracles attributed to that person's intercession; such acts of recognition of a saint were authoritative, in the strict sense, only for the diocese or ecclesiastical province for which they were issued, but with the spread of the fame of a saint, were accepted elsewhere also. The Church of England, the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion, canonized Charles I as a saint, in the Convocations of Canterbury and York of 1660.
In the Roman Catholic Church, both Latin and constituent Eastern churches, the act of canonization is reserved to the Apostolic See and occurs at the conclusion of a long process requiring extensive proof that the candidate for canonization lived and died in such an exemplary and holy way that they are worthy to be recognized as a saint. The Church's official recognition of sanctity implies that the person is now in Heaven and that they may be publicly invoked and mentioned in the liturgy of the Church, including in the Litany of the Saints. In the Roman Catholic Church, canonization is a decree that allows universal veneration of the saint in the liturgy of the Roman Rite. For permission to venerate locally, only beatification is needed. For several centuries the Bishops, or in some places only the Primates and Patriarchs, could grant martyrs and confessors public ecclesiastical honor. Only acceptance of the cultus by the Pope made the cultus universal, because he alone can rule the universal Catholic Church.
Abuses, crept into this discipline, due as well to indiscretions of popular fervor as to the negligence of some bishops in inquiring into the lives of those whom they permitted to be honoured as saints. In the Medieval West, the Apostolic See was asked to intervene in the question of canonizations so as to ensure more authoritative decisions; the canonization of Saint Udalric, Bishop of Augsburg by Pope John XV in 993 was the first undoubted example of Papal canonization of a saint from outside of Rome. Thereafter, recourse to the judgment of the Pope was had more frequently. Toward the end of the eleventh century the Popes judged it necessary to restrict episcopal authority regarding canonization, therefore decreed that the virtues and miracles of persons proposed for public veneration should be examined in councils, more in general councils. Pope Urban II, Pope Calixtus II, Pope Eugene III conformed to this discipline. Hugh de Boves, Archbishop of Rouen, canonized Walter of Pontoise, or St. Gaultier, in 1153, the final saint in Western Europe to be canonized by an authority other than the Pope: "The last case of canonization by a metropolitan is said to have been that of St. Gaultier, or Gaucher, bbot of Pontoise, by the Archbishop of Rouen.
A decree of
In religion, a relic consists of the physical remains of a saint or the personal effects of the saint or venerated person preserved for purposes of veneration as a tangible memorial. Relics are an important aspect of some forms of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and many other religions. Relic derives from the Latin reliquiae, meaning "remains", a form of the Latin verb relinquere, to "leave behind, or abandon". A reliquary is a shrine. In ancient Greece, a city or sanctuary might claim to possess, without displaying, the remains of a venerated hero as a part of a hero cult. Other venerable objects associated with the hero were more to be on display in sanctuaries, such as spears, shields, or other weaponry; the sanctuary of the Leucippides at Sparta claimed to display the egg of Leda. The bones were not regarded as holding a particular power derived from the hero, with some exceptions, such as the divine shoulder of Pelops held at Olympia. Miracles and healing were not attributed to them; the bones of Orestes and Theseus were supposed to have been stolen or removed from their original resting place and reburied.
On the advice of the Delphic Oracle, the Spartans searched for the bones of Orestes and brought them home, without which they had been told they could not expect victory in their war against the neighboring Tegeans. Plutarch says that the Athenians were instructed by the oracle to locate and steal the relics of Theseus from the Dolopians; the body of the legendary Eurystheus was supposed to protect Athens from enemy attack, in Thebes, that of the prophet Amphiaraus, whose cult was oracular and healing. Plutarch narrates transferrals similar to that of Theseus for the bodies of the historical Demetrius I of Macedon and Phocion the Good The bones or ashes of Aesculapius at Epidaurus, of Perdiccas I at Macedon, were treated with the deepest veneration; as with the relics of Theseus, the bones are sometimes described in literary sources as gigantic, an indication of the hero's "larger than life" status. On the basis of their reported size, it has been conjectured that such bones were those of prehistoric creatures, the startling discovery of which may have prompted the sanctifying of the site.
The head of the poet-prophet Orpheus was supposed to have been transported to Lesbos, where it was enshrined and visited as an oracle. The 2nd-century geographer Pausanias reported that the bones of Orpheus were kept in a stone vase displayed on a pillar near Dion, his place of death and a major religious center; these too were regarded as having oracular power, which might be accessed through dreaming in a ritual of incubation. The accidental exposure of the bones brought a disaster upon the town of Libretha, whence the people of Dion had transferred the relics to their own keeping. According to the Chronicon Paschale, the bones of the Persian Zoroaster were venerated, but the tradition of Zoroastrianism and its scriptures offer no support of this. In Hinduism, relics are less common than in other religions since the physical remains of most saints are cremated; the veneration of corporal relics may have originated with the śramaṇa movement or the appearance of Buddhism, burial practices became more common after the Muslim invasions.
However one prominent example is the preserved body of the 11th century religious philosopher and proponent of Qualified Non-Dualism Swami Ramanuja in a separate shrine inside Sri Rangam Temple. In Buddhism, relics of the Buddha and various sages are venerated. After the Buddha's death, his remains were divided into eight portions. Afterward, these relics were enshrined in stupas; some relics believed to be original remains of the body of the Buddha still survive, including the much-revered Sacred Relic of the tooth of the Buddha in Sri Lanka. A stupa is a building created for the relics. Many Buddhist temples have stupas and the placement of relics in a stupa became the initial structure around which the whole temple would be based. Today, many stupas hold the ashes or ringsel of prominent/respected Buddhists who were cremated. In rare cases the whole body is conserved, for example in the case of Dudjom Rinpoche, after his death his physical body was moved a year from France and placed in a stupa in one of his main monasteries near Boudhanath, Nepal in 1988.
Pilgrims may view his body through a glass window in the stupa. The Buddha's relics are considered to show people that enlightenment is possible, to remind them that the Buddha was a real person, to promote good virtue. One of the earliest sources that purports to show the efficacy of relics is found in 2 Kings 13:20–21: 20 Elisha died and was buried. Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. 21 Once while some Israelites were burying a man they saw a band of raiders. When the body touched Elisha's bones, the man stood up on his feet. Cited is the veneration of Polycarp's relics recorded in the Martyrdom of Polycarp. With regard to relics that are objects, an cited passage is Acts 19:11–12, which says that Paul's handkerchiefs were imbued by God with healing power. In the gospel accounts of Jesus healing the bleeding woman and again at Gospel of Mark 6:56, those who touched Jesus's garment were healed; the practice of venerating relics seems to have been taken for granted by writers like Augustine, St. Ambrose, Gregory of Nyssa, St. Chrysostom, St. Gregory Nazian
The Eucharist is a Christian rite, considered a sacrament in most churches, as an ordinance in others. According to the New Testament, the rite was instituted by Jesus Christ during the Last Supper. Through the Eucharistic celebration Christians remember both Christ's sacrifice of himself on the cross and his commission of the apostles at the Last Supper; the elements of the Eucharist, sacramental bread and sacramental wine, are consecrated on an altar and consumed thereafter. Communicants, those who consume the elements, may speak of "receiving the Eucharist", as well as "celebrating the Eucharist". Christians recognize a special presence of Christ in this rite, though they differ about how and when Christ is present. While all agree that there is no perceptible change in the elements, Roman Catholics believe that their substances become the body and blood of Christ. Lutherans believe the true body and blood of Christ are present "in, under" the forms of the bread and wine. Reformed Christians believe in a real spiritual presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Others, such as the Plymouth Brethren and the Christadelphians, take the act to be only a symbolic reenactment of the Last Supper and a memorial. In spite of differences among Christians about various aspects of the Eucharist, there is, according to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "more of a consensus among Christians about the meaning of the Eucharist than would appear from the confessional debates over the sacramental presence, the effects of the Eucharist, the proper auspices under which it may be celebrated"; the Greek noun εὐχαριστία, meaning "thanksgiving", appears fifteen times in the New Testament but is not used as an official name for the rite. Do this in remembrance of me"; the term "Eucharist" is that by which the rite is referred to by the Didache, Ignatius of Antioch and Justin Martyr. Today, "the Eucharist" is the name still used by Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Lutherans. Other Protestant or Evangelical denominations use this term, preferring either "Communion", "the Lord's Supper", "Memorial", "Remembrance", or "the Breaking of Bread".
Latter-day Saints call it "Sacrament". The Lord's Supper, in Greek Κυριακὸν δεῖπνον, was in use in the early 50s of the 1st century, as witnessed by the First Epistle to the Corinthians: When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk; those who use the term "Eucharist" use the expression "the Lord's Supper", but it is the predominant term among Evangelical and Pentecostal churches, who avoid using the term "Communion". They refer to the observance as an "ordinance"; those Protestant churches avoid the term "sacrament".'Holy Communion' are used by some groups originating in the Protestant Reformation to mean the entire Eucharistic rite. Others, such as the Catholic Church, do not use this term for the rite, but instead mean by it the act of partaking of the consecrated elements; the term "Communion" is derived from Latin communio, which translates Greek κοινωνία in 1 Corinthians 10:16: The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?
The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? The phrase appears in various related forms five times in the New Testament in contexts which, according to some, may refer to the celebration of the Eucharist, in either closer or symbolically more distant reference to the Last Supper, it is the term used by the Plymouth Brethren. The "Blessed Sacrament" and the "Blessed Sacrament of the Altar" are common terms used by Catholics and some Anglicans for the consecrated elements when reserved in a tabernacle. "Sacrament of the Altar" is in common use among Lutherans. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the term "The Sacrament" is used of the rite. Mass is used in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Churches, by many Anglicans, in some other forms of Western Christianity. At least in the Catholic Church, the Mass is a longer rite which always consists of two main parts: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, in that order; the Liturgy of the Word consists of readings from scripture (the
A patron saint, patroness saint, patron hallow or heavenly protector is a saint who in Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism or Eastern Orthodoxy, is regarded as the heavenly advocate of a nation, craft, class, family or person. Saints become the patrons of places where they were born or had been active. However, there were cases in Medieval Europe where a city which grew to prominence and obtained for its cathedral the remains or some relics of a famous saint who had lived and was buried elsewhere, thus making him or her the city's patron saint – such a practice conferred considerable prestige on the city concerned. In Latin America and the Philippines and Portuguese explorers named a location for the saint on whose feast or commemoration they first visited the place, with that saint becoming the area's patron. Professions sometimes have a patron saint owing to that individual being involved somewhat with it, although some of the connections were tenuous. Lacking such a saint, an occupation would have a patron whose acts or miracles in some way recall the profession.
For example, when the unknown profession of photography appeared in the 19th century, Saint Veronica was made its patron, owing to how her veil miraculously received the imprint of Christ's face after she wiped off the blood and sweat. The veneration or "commemoration" and recognition of patron saints or saints in general is found in Roman Catholicism, Eastern Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, among some Lutherans and Anglicans. Catholics believe that patron saints, having transcended to the metaphysical, are able to intercede for the needs of their special charges, it is, however discouraged in most Protestant branches such as Calvinism, where the practice is considered a form of idolatry. Although Islam has no codified doctrine of patronage on the part of saints, it has been an important part of both Sunni and Shia Islamic tradition that important classical saints have served as the heavenly advocates for specific Muslim empires, cities and villages. Martin Lings wrote: "There is scarcely a region in the empire of Islam which has not a Sufi for its Patron Saint."
As the veneration accorded saints develops purely organically in Islamic climates, in a manner different to Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christianity, "patron saints" are recognized through popular acclaim rather than through official declaration. Traditionally, it has been understood that the patron saint of a particular place prays for that place's wellbeing and for the health and happiness of all who live therein. However, the Wahhabi and Salafi movements within Sunnism have latterly attacked the veneration of saints, which they claim are a form of idolatry or shirk. More mainstream Sunni clerics have critiqued this argument since Wahhabism first emerged in the 18th century; the critiques notwithstanding, widespread veneration of saints in the Sunni world declined in the 20th century under Wahhabi and Salafi influence. Calendar of saints Guardian angel List of blesseds List of saints Patron saints of ailments and dangers Patron saints of occupations and activities Patron saints of places Patron saints of ethnic groups Saint symbolism Catholic Online: Patron Saints Henry Parkinson.
"Patron Saints". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. "Patron Saint". Encyclopedia Americana. 1920
St. Peter's Basilica
The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, or St. Peter's Basilica, is an Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City, the papal enclave within the city of Rome. Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter's is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world. While it is neither the mother church of the Catholic Church nor the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, St. Peter's is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines, it has been described as "holding a unique position in the Christian world" and as "the greatest of all churches of Christendom". Catholic tradition holds that the Basilica is the burial site of Saint Peter, chief among Jesus's Apostles and the first Bishop of Rome. Saint Peter's tomb is directly below the high altar of the Basilica. For this reason, many Popes have been interred at St. Peter's since the Early Christian period, there has been a church on this site since the time of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great.
Construction of the present basilica, which would replace Old St. Peter's Basilica from the 4th century AD, began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626. St. Peter's is famous for its liturgical functions; the Pope presides at a number of liturgies throughout the year, drawing audiences of 15,000 to over 80,000 people, either within the Basilica or the adjoining St. Peter's Square. St. Peter's has many historical associations, with the Early Christian Church, the Papacy, the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-reformation and numerous artists Michelangelo; as a work of architecture, it is regarded as the greatest building of its age. St. Peter's is one of the four churches in the world that hold the rank of Major Basilica, all four of which are in Rome. Contrary to popular misconception, it is not a cathedral. St. Peter's is a church built in the Renaissance style located in the Vatican City west of the River Tiber and near the Janiculum Hill and Hadrian's Mausoleum, its central dome dominates the skyline of Rome.
The basilica is approached via St. Peter's Square, a forecourt in two sections, both surrounded by tall colonnades; the first space is the second trapezoid. The façade of the basilica, with a giant order of columns, stretches across the end of the square and is approached by steps on which stand two 5.55 metres statues of the 1st-century apostles to Rome, Saints Peter and Paul. The basilica is cruciform in shape, with an elongated nave in the Latin cross form but the early designs were for a centrally planned structure and this is still in evidence in the architecture; the central space is dominated both externally and internally by one of the largest domes in the world. The entrance is through entrance hall, which stretches across the building. One of the decorated bronze doors leading from the narthex is the Holy Door, only opened during jubilees; the interior is of vast dimensions. One author wrote: "Only does it dawn upon us – as we watch people draw near to this or that monument, strangely they appear to shrink.
This in its turn overwhelms us."The nave which leads to the central dome is in three bays, with piers supporting a barrel-vault, the highest of any church. The nave is framed by wide aisles. There are chapels surrounding the dome. Moving around the basilica in a clockwise direction they are: The Baptistery, the Chapel of the Presentation of the Virgin, the larger Choir Chapel, the altar of the Transfiguration, the Clementine Chapel with the altar of Saint Gregory, the Sacristy Entrance, the Altar of the Lie, the left transept with altars to the Crucifixion of Saint Peter, Saint Joseph and Saint Thomas, the altar of the Sacred Heart, the Chapel of the Madonna of Column, the altar of Saint Peter and the Paralytic, the apse with the Chair of Saint Peter, the altar of Saint Peter raising Tabitha, the altar of St. Petronilla, the altar of the Archangel Michael, the altar of the Navicella, the right transept with altars of Saint Erasmus, Saints Processo and Martiniano, Saint Wenceslas, the altar of St. Jerome, the altar of Saint Basil, the Gregorian Chapel with the altar of the Madonna of Succour, the larger Chapel of the Holy Sacrament, the Chapel of Saint Sebastian and the Chapel of the Pietà.
At the heart of the basilica, beneath the high altar, is the Confessio or Chapel of the Confession, in reference to the confession of faith by St. Peter, which led to his martyrdom. Two curving marble staircases lead to this underground chapel at the level of the Constantinian church and above the purported burial place of Saint Peter; the entire interior of St. Peter's is lavishly decorated with marble, architectural sculpture and gilding; the basilica contains a large number of tombs of popes and other notable people, many of which are considered outstanding artworks. There are a number of sculptures in niches and chapels, including Michelangelo's Pietà; the central feature is a baldachin, or canopy over the Papal Altar, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The apse culminates in a sculptural ensemble by Bernini, containing the symbolic Chair of Saint Peter. One observer wrote: "St Peter's Basilica is the reason why Rome is still the center of the civilized world. For religious and architectural reasons it by itself justifies a journey to Rome, its interior offers a palimpsest of artistic styles at the