The Holy See called the See of Rome, is the apostolic episcopal see of the bishop of Rome, known as the Pope, ex cathedra the universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, a sovereign entity of international law. Founded in the 1st century by Saints Peter and Paul, by virtue of Petrine and Papal primacy according to Catholic tradition, it is the focal point of full communion for Catholic bishops and Catholics around the world organised in polities of the Latin Church, the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches, their dioceses and religious institutes; as a recognised sovereign subject of international law, headed by the Pope, the Holy See is headquartered in, operates from, exercises "exclusive dominion" over the independent Vatican City State enclave in Rome, Italy. The Holy See maintains bilateral diplomatic relations with 172 sovereign states, signs concordats and treaties, performs multilateral diplomacy with multiple intergovernmental organizations, including the United Nations and its agencies, the Council of Europe, the European Communities, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe the Organization of American States and the Organization for African Unity.
The Holy See is administered by the Roman Curia, similar to a centralised government, with the Cardinal Secretary of State as its chief administrator, in addition to various dicasteries, comparable to ministries and executive departments. Papal elections are carried out by the College of Cardinals. Although the Holy See is sometimes metonymically referred to as the "Vatican", the Vatican City State was distinctively established with the Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and Italy to ensure the temporal and spiritual independence of the Papacy; as such, ambassadors are accredited to the Holy See and not the Vatican City State. Conversely, Papal nuncios to states and international organisations are recognised as representing the Holy See and the integrity of the Catholic Church along with its 1.3 billion members, not the Vatican City State, as prescribed in the Canon law of the Catholic Church. The "Holy See" thus refers to the See of Rome viewed as the central government of the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church, in turn, is the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world, while the diplomatic status of the Holy See facilitates the access of its vast international network of charities. The word "see" comes from the Latin word "sedes", meaning "seat", which refers to the Episcopal throne; the term "Apostolic See" can refer to any see founded by one of the Apostles, when used with the definite article, it is used in the Catholic Church to refer to the see of the Bishop of Rome, whom that Church sees as successor of Saint Peter, the Prince of the Apostles. While Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City is the church most associated with the Papacy, the actual cathedral of the Holy See is the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran within the city of Rome; every see. In Greek, the adjective "holy" or "sacred" is applied to all such sees as a matter of course. In the West, the adjective is not added, but it does form part of an official title of two sees: besides the Diocese of Rome, the Bishopric of Mainz bears the title of "the Holy See of Mainz".
The apostolic see of Rome was established in the 1st century by Saint Peter and Saint Paul the capital of the Roman Empire, according to Catholic tradition. The legal status of the Catholic Church and its property was recognised by the Edict of Milan in 313 by Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, it became the state church of the Roman Empire by the Edict of Thessalonica in 380. After the Fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476, the temporal legal jurisdisction of the Papal primacy was further recognised as promulgated in Canon law; the Holy See was granted territory in Duchy of Rome by the Donation of Sutri in 728 of King Liutprand of the Lombards, sovereignty by the Donation of Pepin in 756 by King Pepin of the Franks. The Papal States held extensive territory and armed forces in 756–1870. Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne as Roman Emperor by translatio imperii in 800; the Papal coronations of the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire from 858 and the Dictatus papae in 1075 mark the peak of the pope's temporal power claims.
Several contemporary states still trace their own sovereignty to recognition in medieval Papal bulls. Sovereignty of the Holy See was retained despite multiple sacks of Rome during the Early Middle Ages. Yet, relations with the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy Roman Empire were at times strained, reaching from the Diploma Ottonianum and Libellus de imperatoria potestate in urbe Roma regarding the "Patrimony of Saint Peter" in the 10th century, to the Investiture Controversy in 1076-1122, settled again by the Concordat of Worms in 1122; the exiled Avignon Papacy during 1309-1376 put a strain on the Papacy, however returned to Rome. Pope Innocent X was critical of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 as it weakened the authority of the Holy See throughout much of Europe. Following the French Revolution, the Papal States were occupied as the "Roman Republic" from 1798 to 1799 as a sister republic of the First French Empire under Napoleon, before their territory was reestablished. Notwithstanding, the Holy See was represented in and identified as a "permanent subject of general customary international law vis-à-vis all states" in the Congress of Vien
Theodahad known as Thiudahad was king of the Ostrogoths from 534 to 536 and a nephew of Theodoric the Great through his mother Amalafrida. He is the son of Amalafrida's first husband because her second marriage was about 500 AD, his sister was Amalaberga. He was an elderly man at the time of his succession. Massimiliano Vitiello states the name "Theodahad" is a compound of'people' and'conflict', he arrested his first cousin Amalaswintha, former regent of the Ostrogoths from 526 to October 534, while they co-ruled as queen and king of the Ostrogoths, imprisoned her in the spring of 535 on an island in Lake Bolsena. When Amalaswintha was assassinated while in the custody of those Theodahad entrusted to guard her, his enemies claimed he acquiesced to her murder, yet her assassination would isolate him from her power base, thus was unlikely to have been planned by him. Political instability within the Ostrogothic kingdom served as a pretext to Byzantine general Belisarius to intervene in Sicily and Italy, at the service of the Emperor Justinian, causing the Gothic Wars.
Witiges ordered him killed, succeeded him as king. He was notable for his dedicated adoration for Neoplatonic philosophy and poetry over martial prowess, his focus on erudition instead of bellicosity, in a time when Italy was consumed by turmoil both foreign and domestic, is claimed to be a reason for his downfall. For a more positive view of his defence of Italy against Belisarius, see Lillington-Martin. Thiudahad appears by L. Sprague de Camp. Theodahad in Medieval Lands
Arianism is a nontrinitarian Christological doctrine which asserts the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, begotten by God the Father at a point in time, a creature distinct from the Father and is therefore subordinate to him, but the Son is God. Arian teachings were first attributed to a Christian presbyter in Alexandria of Egypt; the teachings of Arius and his supporters were opposed to the theological views held by Homoousian Christians, regarding the nature of the Trinity and the nature of Christ. The Arian concept of Christ is based on the belief that the Son of God did not always exist but was begotten within time by God the Father. There was a dispute between two interpretations of Jesus' divinity based upon the theological orthodoxy of the time, one trinitarian and the other non-trinitarian, both of them attempted to solve its respective theological dilemmas. So there were two orthodox interpretations which initiated a conflict in order to attract adepts and define the new orthodoxy.
The two interpretations initiated a broader conflict as to which belief was the successor of Christian theology from its inception. The former was formally affirmed by the first two Ecumenical Councils, in the past several centuries, Arianism has continued to be viewed as "the heresy or sect of Arius"; as such, all mainstream branches of Christianity now consider Arianism to be heterodox and heretical. The trinitarianism, or homoousianism viewpoint, was promulgated by Athanasius of Alexandria, who insisted that Homoousianism theology was both the true nature of God and the teaching of Jesus. Arius stated: "If the Father begat the Son he, begotten had a beginning in existence, from this it follows there was a time when the Son was not." Nonetheless, the Ecumenical First Council of Nicaea of 325, convened by Emperor Constantine to ensure Church unity, deemed Arianism to be a heresy." According to Everett Ferguson, "The great majority of Christians had no clear views about the nature of the Trinity and they did not understand what was at stake in the issues that surrounded it."Ten years however, Constantine the Great, himself baptized by the Arian bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia, convened another gathering of Church leaders at the regional First Synod of Tyre in 335, to address various charges mounted against Athanasius by his pro-Arius detractors, such as "murder, illegal taxation and treason", following his refusal to readmit Arius into fellowship.
Athanasius was exiled to Trier following his conviction at Tyre of conspiracy, Arius was exonerated. Athanasius returned to Alexandria in 346 A. D. two years after the deaths of both Arius and Constantine. The Roman Emperors Constantius II and Valens were Arians or Semi-Arians, as was the first King of Italy and the Lombards were Arians or Semi-Arians until the 7th century. Visigothic Spain was Arian until 581. Arianism is used to refer to other nontrinitarian theological systems of the 4th century, which regarded Jesus Christ—the Son of God, the Logos—as either a begotten creature or as neither uncreated nor created in the sense other beings are created. Arius had been a pupil of Lucian of Antioch at Lucian's private academy in Antioch and inherited from him a modified form of the teachings of Paul of Samosata, he taught that the Son of God did not always exist together eternally. Arians taught that the Logos was a divine being begotten by God the Father before the creation of the world, made him a medium through whom everything else was created, that the Son of God is subordinate to God the Father.
A verse from Proverbs was used: "The Lord created me at the beginning of his work". Therefore, the Son was rather the first and the most perfect of God's creatures, he was made "God" only by the Father's permission and power. Controversy over Arianism arose in the late 3rd century and persisted throughout most of the 4th century, it involved most church members—from simple believers and monks to bishops and members of Rome's imperial family. Two Roman emperors, Constantius II and Valens, became Arians or Semi-Arians, as did prominent Gothic and Lombard warlords both before and after the fall of the Western Roman Empire; such a deep controversy within the Church during this period of its development could not have materialized without significant historical influences providing a basis for the Arian doctrines. Of the three hundred bishops in attendance at the Council of Nicea, two bishops did not sign the Nicene Creed that condemned Arianism. Emperor Constantine ordered a penalty of death for those who refused to surrender the Arian writings: In addition, if any writing composed by Arius should be found, it should be handed over to the flames, so that not only will the wickedness of his teaching be obliterated, but nothing will be left to remind anyone of him.
And I hereby make a public order, that if someone should be discovered to have hidden a writing composed by Arius, not to have brought it forward and destroyed it by fire, his penalty shall be death. As soon as he is discovered in this offence, he shall be submitted for capital punishment.... Reconstructing what Arius taught, why, is a formidable task, both because little of his own w
Pope Hormisdas was Pope from 20 July 514 to his death in 523. His papacy was dominated by the Acacian schism, started in 484 by Acacius of Constantinople's efforts to placate the Monophysites, his efforts to resolve this schism were successful, on 28 March 519, the reunion between Constantinople and Rome was ratified in the cathedral of Constantinople before a large crowd. Jeffrey Richards explains Hormisdas's Persian name as in honour of an exiled Persian noble, Hormizd, "celebrated in the Roman martyrology but not so honoured in the East." The names of his father and son suggest he had an otherwise "straightforward Italian pedigree." However, according to Iranica he was related to Hormizd. He was born in Frusino in the moribund era of the Western Roman Empire. Before becoming a Roman deacon, Hormisdas was married, his son would in turn become Pope under the name of Silverius. During the Laurentian schism, Hormisdas was one of the most prominent clerical partisans of Pope Symmachus, he was notary at the synod held at St. Peter's in 502.
Two letters of Magnus Felix Ennodius, bishop of Pavia, survive addressed to him, written when the latter tried to regain horses and money he had lent the Pope. Unlike his predecessor Symmachus, his election lacked any notable controversies. Upon becoming Pope, one of Hormisdas' first actions was to remove the last vestiges of the schism in Rome, receiving back into the Church those adherents of the Laurentian party who had not been reconciled. "The schism had lingered on out of personal hatred to Symmachus," writes Jeffrey Richards, "something with which Hormisdas was not tainted."The account of his tenure in the Liber Pontificalis, as well as the overwhelming bulk of his surviving correspondence, is dominated by efforts to restore communion between the Sees of Rome and Constantinople caused by the Acacian schism. This schism was the consequence of the "Henoticon" of the Emperor Zeno and supported by his successor Anastasius, who became more and more inclined towards Monophysitism and persecuted those bishops who refused to repudiate the Council of Chalcedon.
The emperor Anastasius took the first steps to resolve this schism pressured by Vitalian, the commander of the imperial cavalry, having taken up the cause of orthodoxy, led Thracia, Scythia Minor, Mysia to revolt, marched with an army of Huns and Bulgarians to the gates of Constantinople. Richards points out that there would bound to be some tentative efforts from Constantinople, "if only because there was a new man on the throne of St. Peter. Relations between Symmachus and the emperor Anastasius had been non-existent". Anastasius wrote to Hormisdas on 28 December 514, inviting him to a synod that would be held 1 July of the following year. A second, less courteous invitation, dated 12 January 515, was sent by Anastasius to the pope, which reached Rome before the first. On 4 April Hormisdas answered, expressing his delight at the prospect of peace, but at the same time defending the position of his predecessors and welcoming a synod, but believing it unnecessary; the bearers of the emperor's first letter at last reached Rome on 14 May.
The pope guardedly carried on negotiations, convened a synod at Rome and wrote to the emperor on 8 July to announce the departure of an embassy for Constantinople. Meanwhile, the two hundred bishops who had assembled on 1 July at Heraclea separated without accomplishing anything; the pope's embassy to the imperial court consisted of two bishops, Ennodius of Pavia and Fortunatus of Catina, the priest Venantius, the deacon Vitalis, the notary Hilarius. According to Rev. J. Barmby, Hormisdas made several demands: The emperor should publicly announce his acceptance of the Council of Chalcedon and the letters of Pope Leo. "Thus the emperor proposed a free discussion in council. However both the Senate, as well as King Theodoric, stayed loyal to the pope. Meanwhile, Hormisdas reported to Avitus of Vienne that an additional number of Balkan bishops had entered into relations with Rome, Bishop John of Nicopolis, the archbishop of Epirus, had broken communion with Constantinople and resumed it with Rome.
A second papal embassy consisting of Ennodius and Bishop Peregrinus of Misenum was as unsuccessful as the first. Anastasius attempted to bribe the legates, but was unsuccessful. Secure now that Vitalian had been defeated outside Constantinople, forced into hiding, his supporters executed, Anastasius announced on 11 July 517 that he was breaking off the negotiations, but less than a year the emperor died. His successor, the Catholic Justin I reversed Anastasius' policies. All the demands of Pope Hormisdas were granted: the name of the condemned Patriarch Acacius as well as the names of the Emperors Anastasius and Zeno wer
Sigismund of Burgundy
Sigismund was King of the Burgundians from 516 to his death. He was the son of king Caretene, he succeeded his father in 516. Sigismund and his brother Godomar were defeated in battle by Clovis' sons and Godomar fled. Sigismund was taken by King of Orléans, where he was kept as a prisoner. He, his wife and children were executed. Godomar rallied the Burgundian army and won back his kingdom. Sigismund was a student of Avitus of Vienne, the Chalcedonian bishop of Vienne who converted Sigismund from the Arian faith of his Burgundian forebears. Sigismund was inspired to found a monastery dedicated to Saint Maurice at Agaune in Valais in 515; the following year he became king of the Burgundians. Sigismund came into conflict with Apollinaris of Valence over the rules regarding marriage; the king's treasurer, was living in flagrant incest. The four bishops of the province ordered him to separate from his companion, but he appealed to Sigismund, who supported his official and exiled the four bishops to Sardinia.
They refused to yield, after some time the King relented, permitted three of them to return to their Sees, with the exception of Apollinaris, whose defiance had made him obnoxious to the King. He was kept a close prisoner for a year. At last the King, stricken with a severe illness, sent the Queen to request Apollinaris go to the court to restore the monarch to health. On his refusal, the Queen asked for his cloak to place on the sufferer; the request was granted, the King recovered, Apollinaris was allowed to return to his See. According to Gregory of Tours, Sigismund married the daughter of the Ostrogoth King Theodoric, they had Sigeric. The widowed Sigismund remarried, his second wife "maltreated and insulted her stepson". When, on a feast day in 517, Sigeric saw his stepmother dressed in his late mother's ceremonial clothes, he called out that she was unworthy to wear them; the Queen persuaded Sigismund to deal with his son, alleging that Sigeric planned not only to kill his father and seize the throne, but that he had designs on his grandfather's kingdom in Italy.
Sigismund ordered the young man to be drowned in a well. Overcome with remorse, Sigismund retreated to the monastery that he had founded. In 523, daughter of Chilperic II of Burgundy, slain by Sigismund's father Gundobad in 493, took revenge for the murder of her father, when she incited her sons against Sigismund, provoked the Burgundian War, which led to Sigismund's deposition and imprisonment, his assassination the following year. In 523, the Kingdom of the Burgundians was invaded by the four Frankish kings, Childebert I, Clotaire I and Theuderic I, children of Frankish king Clovis I and Sigismund's second cousins by Clotilde. Sigismund and his brother Godomar lost the battle. Godomar fled while Sigismund put on a monk's hid in a cell near his abbey, he was captured by Chlodomer, king of Aurelianum and his body thrown in a well. Sigismund's wife and remaining children were put to death. Sigismund was succeeded on the throne by his brother Godomar. Godomar rallied the Burgundian army and called for aid from his ally, the Ostrogothic king Theodoric the Great.
Godomar regained his territory. Chlodomer marched with his brother Theuderic I, King of Metz, on Burgundy in 524. Chlodomer was killed at the Battle of Vézeronce, which took place on 25 June 524 at the hands of Godomar. In 535, Sigismund's remains were recovered from the well at Coulmiers and buried in the monastery at Agaune. Sigismund was canonized. Correspondence has survived between Sigismund and Avitus of Vienne, a poet and one of the last masters of the classical literary arts. In 1366, Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, transferred Sigismund's relics to Prague, hence he has become a patron saint of the Kingdom of Bohemia, now Czech Republic; the emperor gave the saint's name to one of his sons, the King Sigismund of Hungary. In 1424, Sigismund of Hungary constructed a church in the honor of Saint Sigismund in the City of Buda; the same year, King Sigismund took the relics of Saint Sigismund from Prague and sent them to the Hungarian city of Varad to protect them from the Hussites. In 494, he married Ostrogotha, the illegitimate daughter of Theoderic the Great and a concubine, as a part of Theoderic's negotiation for an alliance with Sigismund and the Burgundians.
They had the following issue: Sigeric, murdered by his own father. Suavegotha, married to Theuderic I, son of Clovis I. NN daughter. Statues of Saints Norbert and Sigismund Media related to Sigismund of Burgundy at Wikimedia Commons Cawley, Medieval Lands Project on Sigimund, King of Burgundy, Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy and Blessed Page
Easter called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day after his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and penance. Most Christians refer to the week before Easter as "Holy Week", which contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Maundy and Last Supper, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus. In Western Christianity, Eastertide, or the Easter Season, begins on Easter Sunday and lasts seven weeks, ending with the coming of the 50th day, Pentecost Sunday. In Eastern Christianity, the season of Pascha begins on Pascha and ends with the coming of the 40th day, the Feast of the Ascension. Easter and the holidays that are related to it are moveable feasts which do not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian or Julian calendars which follow only the cycle of the sun.
The First Council of Nicaea established two rules, independence of the Jewish calendar and worldwide uniformity, which were the only rules for Easter explicitly laid down by the council. No details for the computation were specified, it has come to be the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or soonest after 21 March, but calculations vary. Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In most European languages the feast is called by the words for passover in those languages. Easter customs vary across the Christian world, include sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, clipping the church, decorating Easter eggs; the Easter lily, a symbol of the resurrection, traditionally decorates the chancel area of churches on this day and for the rest of Eastertide. Additional customs that have become associated with Easter and are observed by both Christians and some non-Christians include egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, Easter parades.
There are various traditional Easter foods that vary regionally. The modern English term Easter, cognate with modern Dutch ooster and German Ostern, developed from an Old English word that appears in the form Ēastrun, -on, or -an; the most accepted theory of the origin of the term is that it is derived from the name of an Old English goddess mentioned by the 7th to 8th-century English monk Bede, who wrote that Ēosturmōnaþ was an English month, corresponding to April, which he says "was once called after a goddess of theirs named Ēostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month". In Latin and Greek, the Christian celebration was, still is, called Pascha, a word derived from Aramaic פסחא, cognate to Hebrew פֶּסַח; the word denoted the Jewish festival known in English as Passover, commemorating the Jewish Exodus from slavery in Egypt. As early as the 50s of the 1st century, writing from Ephesus to the Christians in Corinth, applied the term to Christ, it is unlikely that the Ephesian and Corinthian Christians were the first to hear Exodus 12 interpreted as speaking about the death of Jesus, not just about the Jewish Passover ritual.
In most of the non-English speaking world, the feast is known by names derived from Greek and Latin Pascha. Pascha is a name by which Jesus himself is remembered in the Orthodox Church in connection with his resurrection and with the season of its celebration; the New Testament states that the resurrection of Jesus, which Easter celebrates, is one of the chief tenets of the Christian faith. The resurrection established Jesus as the powerful Son of God and is cited as proof that God will righteously judge the world. For those who trust in Jesus' death and resurrection, "death is swallowed up in victory." Any person who chooses to follow Jesus receives "a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead". Through faith in the working of God those who follow Jesus are spiritually resurrected with him so that they may walk in a new way of life and receive eternal salvation. Easter is linked to Passover and the Exodus from Egypt recorded in the Old Testament through the Last Supper and crucifixion of Jesus that preceded the resurrection.
According to the New Testament, Jesus gave the Passover meal a new meaning, as in the upper room during the Last Supper he prepared himself and his disciples for his death. He identified the matzah and cup of wine as his body soon to be sacrificed and his blood soon to be shed. Paul states, "Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed"; the first Christians and Gentile, were aware of the Hebrew calendar. Jewish Christians, the first to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, timed the observance in relation to Passover. Direct evidence for a more formed Christian festival of Pascha begins to appear in the mid-2nd century; the earliest extant primary source referring to East
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