Santa Maria Maggiore
The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, or church of Santa Maria Maggiore, is a Papal major basilica and the largest Catholic Marian church in Rome, Italy. The basilica enshrines the venerated image of Salus Populi Romani, depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary as the help and protectress of the Roman people, granted a Canonical coronation by Pope Gregory XVI on 15 August 1838 accompanied by his Papal bull Cælestis Regina. Pursuant to the Lateran Treaty of 1929 between the Holy See and Italy, the Basilica is within Italian territory and not the territory of the Vatican City State. However, the Holy See owns the Basilica, Italy is obligated to recognize its full ownership thereof and to concede to it "the immunity granted by International Law to the headquarters of the diplomatic agents of foreign States." The Basilica is sometimes referred to as Our Lady of the Snows, a name given to it in the Roman Missal from 1568 to 1969 in connection with the liturgical feast of the anniversary of its dedication on 5 August, a feast, denominated Dedicatio Sanctae Mariae ad Nives.
This name for the basilica had become popular in the 14th century in connection with a legend that the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia reports thus: "During the pontificate of Liberius, the Roman patrician John and his wife, who were without heirs, made a vow to donate their possessions to the Virgin Mary. They prayed that she might make known to them how they were to dispose of their property in her honour. On 5 August, at the height of the Roman summer, snow fell during the night on the summit of the Esquiline Hill. In obedience to a vision of the Virgin Mary which they had the same night, the couple built a basilica in honour of Mary on the spot, covered with snow. From the fact that no mention whatever is made of this alleged miracle until a few hundred years not by Sixtus III in his eight-line dedicatory inscription... it would seem that the legend has no historical basis."The legend is first reported only after AD 1000. It may be implied in what the Liber Pontificalis, of the early 13th century, says of Pope Liberius: "He built the basilica of his own name near the Macellum of Livia".
Its prevalence in the 15th century is shown in the painting of the Miracle of the Snow by Masolino da Panicale. The feast was called Dedicatio Sanctae Mariae, was celebrated only in Rome until inserted for the first time into the General Roman Calendar, with ad Nives added to its name, in 1568. A congregation appointed by Pope Benedict XIV in 1741 proposed that the reading of the legend be struck from the Office and that the feast be given its original name. No action was taken on the proposal until 1969, when the reading of the legend was removed and the feast was called In dedicatione Basilicae S. Mariae; the legend is still commemorated by dropping white rose petals from the dome during the celebration of the Mass and Second Vespers of the feast. The earliest building on the site was the Liberian Basilica or Santa Maria Liberiana, after Pope Liberius; this name may have originated from the same legend, which recounts that, like John and his wife, Pope Liberius was told in a dream of the forthcoming summer snowfall, went in procession to where it did occur and there marked out the area on which the church was to be built.
Liberiana is still included in some versions of the basilica's formal name, "Liberian Basilica" may be used as a contemporary as well as historical name. On the other hand, the name "Liberian Basilica" may be independent of the legend, according to Pius Parsch, Pope Liberius transformed a palace of the Sicinini family into a church, for that reason called the Sicinini Basilica; this building was replaced under Pope Sixtus III by the present structure dedicated to Mary. However, some sources say that the adaptation as a church of a pre-existing building on the site of the present basilica was done in the 420s under Pope Celestine I, the immediate predecessor of Sixtus III. Long before the earliest traces of the story of the miraculous snow, the church now known as Saint Mary Major was called Saint Mary of the Crib, a name it was given because of its relic of the crib or manger of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, four boards of sycamore wood believed to have been brought to the church, together with a fifth, in the time of Pope Theodore I.
This name appears in the Tridentine editions of the Roman Missal as the place for the pope's Mass on Christmas Night, while the name "Mary Major" appears for the church of the station Mass on Christmas Day. No Catholic church can be honoured with the title of "basilica" unless by apostolic grant or from immemorial custom. St. Mary Major is one of the only four that hold the title of "major basilica"; the other three are the Basilicas of St. John in the Lateran, St. Peter's, St. Paul outside the Walls. Along with all of the other four Major Basilicas, St. Mary Major is styled a "Papal basilica". Before 2006, the four Papal Major Basilicas, together with the Basilica of St. Lawrence outside the Walls were referred to as the "patriarchal basilicas" of Rome, were associated with the five ancient patriarchates. St. Mary Major was associated with the Patriarchate of Antioch; the five Papal Basilicas along with the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem and San Sebastiano fuori le mu
The Basilica of Saint Praxedes known in Italian as Santa Prassede, is an ancient titular church and minor basilica in Rome, located near the papal basilica of Saint Mary Major. The current Cardinal Priest of Titulus Sancta Praxedis is Paul Poupard; the church in its current form was commissioned by Pope Hadrian I around the year 780, built on top of the remains of a 5th-century structure and was designed to house the bones of Saint Praxedes and Saint Pudentiana, the daughters of Saint Pudens, traditionally St. Peter's first Christian convert in Rome; the two female saints were murdered for providing Christian burial for early martyrs in defiance of Roman law. The basilica was decorated by Pope Paschal I in c. 822. Pope Paschal, who reigned 817-824, was at the forefront of the Carolingian Renaissance started and advocated by the emperor Charlemagne, they desired to get back to the foundations of Christianity artistically. Paschal, began two, ambitious programs: the recovery of martyrs' bones from the catacombs of Rome and an unprecedented church building campaign.
Paschal transplanted them to this church. The Titulus S. Praxedis was established by Pope Evaristus, around 112; the inscriptions found in Santa Prassede, a valuable source illustrating the history of the church, have been collected and published by Vincenzo Forcella. The church provided the inspiration for Robert Browning's poem "The Bishop Orders His Tomb at Saint Praxed's Church." The main altarpiece is a canvas of St Praxedes Gathering the Blood of the Martyrs by Domenico Muratori. The most famous element of the church is the mosaic decorative program. Paschal hired a team of professional mosaicists to complete the work in the apse, the apsidal arch, the triumphal arch. In the apse, Jesus is in the center, flanked by Sts. Peter and Paul who present Prassede and Pudenziana to God. On the far left is Paschal, with the square halo of the living, presenting a model of the church as an offering to Jesus. Below runs an inscription of Paschal's, hoping that this offering will be sufficient to secure his place in heaven.
On the apsidal arch are twelve men on each side, holding wreaths of victory, welcoming the souls into heaven. Above them are symbols of the four Gospel writers: the lion; those mosaics, as well as those in the Chapel of Saint Zeno, a funerary chapel which Pope Paschal built for his mother, are the best-known aspects of the church. Noteworthy are ancient frescoes. Ascending a spiral staircase, one enters a small room, covered in scaffolding; the frescoes depict the life-cycle of the name saint of the church, Praxedes. Santa Prassede houses an alleged segment of the pillar upon which Jesus was flogged and tortured before his crucifixion in Jerusalem; the relic is alleged to have been retrieved in the early 4th century by Saint Helena who at the age of eighty undertook a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where she founded churches for Christian worship and rescued relics associated with the crucifixion of Jesus on Calvary. Among these legendary relics retrieved by Helena, which included pieces of the True Cross and wood from the Jesus' crib enshrined at S. Maria Maggiore.
The authenticity of these relics, including the Santa Prassede pillar, is disputed by historians, due to lack of forensic evidence and the proliferation of falsified relics during the Middle Ages. Among known titulars of this see are Lambertus Scannabecchi, Ubaldo Allucingoli, Alain de Coëtivy, Giovanni Maria Ciocchi del Monte, Saint Charles Borromeo, Rafael Merry del Val. B. M. Apollonj Ghetti, Santa Prassede. Gillian Vallance Mackie, The Iconographic Programme of the Zeno Chapel at Santa Prassede, Rome. Marchita B. Mauck, “The Mosaic of the Triumphal Arch of Santa Prassede: A Liturgical Interpretation.” Speculum 62-64, pp. 813-828. Rotraut Wisskirchen, Mosaikprogramm von Santa Prassede in Rom. Anna Maria Affanni, La chiesa di Santa Prassede: la storia, il rilievo, il restauro. Mary M. Schaefer, Women in Pastoral Office: The Story of Santa Prassede, Rome. Maurizio Caperna, La basilica di Santa Prassede: il significato della vicenda architettonica. Benedictine Monks of Vallombroso, The Basilica of Saint Praxedes, in memory of their eighth century of presence at Saint Praxedes: 1198-1998.
Kunsthistorie.com, photogallery. Santa Prassede Mosaics High-resolution 360° Panoramas and Images of Santa Prassede | Art Atlas Episcopa Theodora
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.
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A saint is a person, recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness or closeness to God. However, the use of the term "saint" depends on the denomination. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Lutheran doctrine, all of their faithful deceased in Heaven are considered to be saints, but some are considered worthy of greater honor or emulation. While the English word saint originated in Christianity, historians of religion now use the appellation "in a more general way to refer to the state of special holiness that many religions attribute to certain people", with the Jewish tzadik, the Islamic walī, the Hindu rishi or Sikh guru, the Buddhist arhat or bodhisattva being referred to as saints. Depending on the religion, saints are recognized either by official ecclesiastical declaration, as in the Catholic faith, or by popular acclamation; the English word "saint" comes from the Latin "sanctus". The word translated in Greek is "ἅγιος", which means "holy"; the word ἅγιος appears 229 times in the Greek New Testament, its English translation 60 times in the corresponding text of the King James Version of the Bible.
The word sanctus was a technical one in ancient Roman religion, but due to its "globalized" use in Christianity the modern word "saint" in English and its equivalent in Romance languages is now used as a translation of comparable terms for persons "worthy of veneration for their holiness or sanctity" in other religions. Many religions use similar concepts to venerate persons worthy of some honor. Author John A. Coleman S. J. of the Graduate Theological Union, California wrote that saints across various cultures and religions have the following family resemblances: exemplary model extraordinary teacher wonder worker or source of benevolent power intercessor a life refusing material attachments or comforts possession of a special and revelatory relation to the holy. The anthropologist Lawrence Babb in an article about Sathya Sai Baba asks the question "Who is a saint?", responds by saying that in the symbolic infrastructure of some religions, there is the image of a certain extraordinary spiritual king's "miraculous powers", to whom a certain moral presence is attributed.
These saintly figures, he asserts, are "the focal points of spiritual force-fields". They exert "powerful attractive influence on followers but touch the inner lives of others in transforming ways as well". According to the Catholic Church, a "saint" is anyone in Heaven, whether recognized on Earth or not, who form the "great cloud of witnesses"; these "may include our own mothers, grandmothers or other loved ones" who may have not always lived perfect lives but "amid their faults and failings they kept moving forward and proved pleasing to the Lord". The title "Saint" denotes a person, formally canonized, authoritatively declared a saint, by the Church as holder of the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, is therefore believed to be in Heaven by the grace of God. There are many persons that the Church believes to be in Heaven who have not been formally canonized and who are otherwise titled "saints" because of the fame of their holiness. Sometimes the word "saint" denotes living Christians. In his book Saint of the Day, editor Leonard Foley, OFM says this: the " surrender to God's love was so generous an approach to the total surrender of Jesus that the Church recognizes them as heroes and heroines worthy to be held up for our inspiration.
They remind us that the Church is holy, can never stop being holy and is called to show the holiness of God by living the life of Christ."The Catholic Church teaches that it does not "make" or "create" saints, but rather recognizes them. Proofs of heroicity required in the process of beatification will serve to illustrate in detail the general principles exposed above upon proof of their "holiness" or likeness to God. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church Chapter 2, Article 1, 61, "The patriarchs and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honored as saints in all the church's liturgical traditions." On 3 January 993, Pope John XV became the first pope to proclaim a person a "saint" from outside the diocese of Rome: on the petition of the German ruler, he had canonized Bishop Ulrich of Augsburg. Before that time, the popular "cults", or venerations, of saints had been local and spontaneous and were confirmed by the local bishop. Pope John XVIII subsequently permitted a cult of five Polish martyrs.
Pope Benedict VIII declared the Armenian hermit Symeon to be a saint, but it was not until the pontificate of Pope Innocent III that the Popes reserved to themselves the exclusive authority to canonize saints, so that local bishops needed the confirmation of the Pope. Walter of Pontoise was the last person in Western Europe to be canonized by an authority other than the Pope: Hugh de Boves, the Archbishop of Rouen, canonized him in 1153. Thenceforth a decree of Pope Alexander III in 1170 reserved the prerogative of canonization to the Pope, insofar as the Latin Church was concerned. One source claims that "there are over 10,000 named saints and beatified people from history, the Roman Martyrology and Orthodox sources, but no definitive head count". Alban Butler published Lives of the Saints including a total of 1,486 saints; the latest revision of this book, edited by the Jesuit Herbert Thurston and the British author Donald Attwater, contains the lives of 2,565 saints. Monsign
A papal legate or apostolic legate is a personal representative of the pope to foreign nations, or to some part of the Catholic Church. He is empowered for the settlement of ecclesiastical matters; the legate is appointed directly by the pope. Hence a legate is sent to a government, a sovereign or to a large body of believers or to take charge of a major religious effort, such as an council, a crusade to the Holy Land, or against a heresy such as the Cathars; the term legation is applied both to the territory concerned. The relevant adjective is legatine. In the High Middle Ages, papal legates were used to strengthen the links between Rome and the many parts of Christendom. More than not, legates were learned men and skilled diplomats who were not from the country they were accredited to; the Italian-born Guala Bicchieri served as papal legate to England in the early 13th century and played a major role in both the English government and church at the time. By the Late Middle Ages it had become more common to appoint native clerics to the position of legate within their own country, such as Cardinal Wolsey acting as legate to the court of Henry VIII of England.
The reason for this switch in policy could be attributed to a change in attitude on the eve of The Reformation. Papal legates summoned legatine councils, which dealt with church government and other ecclesiastical issues. According to Pope Gregory VII, writing in the Dictatus papae, a papal legate "presides over all bishops in a council if he is inferior in rank, he can pronounce sentence of deposition against them". During the Middle Ages, a legatine council was the usual means that a papal legate imposed his directives. There are several ranks of papal legates in diplomacy; the most common form of papal legate today is the apostolic nuncio, whose task it is to strengthen relations between the Holy See and the Roman Catholic Church in a particular country and at the same time to act as the diplomatic representative of the Holy See to the government of that country. An apostolic nuncio is equivalent in rank to that of ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary, although in Catholic countries the nuncio ranks above ambassadors in diplomatic protocol.
A nuncio has the same diplomatic privileges. Under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, to which the Holy See is a party, a nuncio is an ambassador like those from any other country; the Vienna Convention allows the host state to grant seniority of precedence to the nuncio over others of ambassadorial rank accredited to the same country, may grant the deanship of that country's diplomatic corps to the nuncio regardless of seniority. Pro-nuncio was a term used from 1965 to 1991 for a papal diplomatic representative of full ambassadorial rank accredited to a country that did not accord him precedence over other ambassadors and ex officio deanship of the diplomatic corps. In those countries, the papal representative's precedence within the corps is on a par with that of the other members of ambassadorial rank, so that he becomes dean only on becoming the senior member of the corps. For countries with which the Holy See has no diplomatic relations, an apostolic delegate is sent to serve as a liaison with the Catholic Church in that country, though not accredited to its government.
This highest rank is awarded to a priest of cardinal rank. It can either be focused or broad in scope; the legate a latere is the alter ego of the Pope, as such, possesses full plenipotentiary powers. "born legate", i.e. not nominated individually but ex officio, namely a bishop holding this rank as a privilege of his see, e.g. archbishops of Canterbury, Esztergom, Salzburg and Cologne. The legatus natus would act as the pope's representative in his province, with a legatus a latere only being sent in extraordinary circumstances. Although limited in their jurisdiction compared to legati a latere, a legatus natus were not subordinate to them. "sent legate", possessing limited powers for the purpose of completing a specific mission. This commission is focused in scope and of short duration; some administrative provinces of the Papal states in Italy were governed by a Papal Legate. This has been the case in Pontecorvo and in Viterbo. In four cases, including Bologna, this post was awarded to Cardinals.
The title could be changed to Apostolic Delegate, as happened in Frosinone in 1827. Papal diplomacyNuncio – an envoy whose diplomatic status is recognized by the receiving state – a titular archbishop. Internuncio – a lower rank than Nuncio for a papal diplomatic representative, a title used at a time when states sent to some less important countries diplomatic representatives, called Envoys or Ministers, lower in rank than Ambassadors. Papal apocrisiarius List of papal legates to EnglandOtherPontifical legate Catholic Encyclopedia: Legate WorldStatesmen - Italy to 1860 - Papal State Maseri, Pellegrino. De Legatis et Nunciis Apostolicis Iudiciis Ecclesiasticis Civilibus
The pope known as the supreme pontiff, is the Bishop of Rome and ex officio leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. Since 1929, the pope has been head of state of Vatican City, a city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy; the current pope is Francis, elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI. While his office is called the papacy, the episcopal see and ecclesiastical jurisdiction is called the Holy See, it is the Holy See, the sovereign entity of international law headquartered in the distinctively independent Vatican City State, established by the Lateran Treaty in 1929 between Italy and the Holy See to ensure its temporal and spiritual independence. The primacy of the Bishop of Rome is derived from his role as the apostolic successor to Saint Peter, to whom primacy was conferred by Jesus, giving him the Keys of Heaven and the powers of "binding and loosing", naming him as the "rock" upon which the church would be built; the apostolic see of Rome was founded by Saint Peter and Saint Paul in 1st century, according to Catholic tradition.
The papacy is one of the most enduring institutions in the world and has had a prominent part in world history. In ancient times the popes helped spread Christianity, intervened to find resolutions in various doctrinal disputes. In the Middle Ages, they played a role of secular importance in Western Europe acting as arbitrators between Christian monarchs. In addition to the expansion of the Christian faith and doctrine, the popes are involved in ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, charitable work, the defense of human rights. In some periods of history, the papacy, which had no temporal powers, accrued wide secular powers rivaling those of temporal rulers. However, in recent centuries the temporal authority of the papacy has declined and the office is now exclusively focused on religious matters. By contrast, papal claims of spiritual authority have been firmly expressed over time, culminating in 1870 with the proclamation of the dogma of papal infallibility for rare occasions when the pope speaks ex cathedra—literally "from the chair"—to issue a formal definition of faith or morals.
Still, the Pope is considered one of the world's most powerful people because of his extensive diplomatic and spiritual influence on 1.3 billion Catholics and beyond, as well as the official representative of the Catholic Church being the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world, with a vast international network of charities. The word pope derives from Greek πάππας meaning "father". In the early centuries of Christianity, this title was applied in the east, to all bishops and other senior clergy, became reserved in the west to the Bishop of Rome, a reservation made official only in the 11th century; the earliest record of the use of this title was in regard to the by deceased Patriarch of Alexandria, Pope Heraclas of Alexandria. The earliest recorded use of the title "pope" in English dates to the mid-10th century, when it was used in reference to the 7th century Roman Pope Vitalian in an Old English translation of Bede's Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum.
The Catholic Church teaches that the pastoral office, the office of shepherding the Church, held by the apostles, as a group or "college" with Saint Peter as their head, is now held by their successors, the bishops, with the bishop of Rome as their head. Thus, is derived another title by which the pope is known, that of "Supreme Pontiff"; the Catholic Church teaches that Jesus appointed Peter as leader of the Church, the Catholic Church's dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium makes a clear distinction between apostles and bishops, presenting the latter as the successors of the former, with the pope as successor of Peter, in that he is head of the bishops as Peter was head of the apostles. Some historians argue against the notion that Peter was the first bishop of Rome, noting that the episcopal see in Rome can be traced back no earlier than the 3rd century; the writings of the Church Father Irenaeus who wrote around AD 180 reflect a belief that Peter "founded and organized" the Church at Rome.
Moreover, Irenaeus was not the first to write of Peter's presence in the early Roman Church. Clement of Rome wrote in a letter to the Corinthians, c. 96, about the persecution of Christians in Rome as the "struggles in our time" and presented to the Corinthians its heroes, "first, the greatest and most just columns", the "good apostles" Peter and Paul. St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote shortly after Clement and in his letter from the city of Smyrna to the Romans he said he would not command them as Peter and Paul did. Given this and other evidence, such as Emperor Constantine's erection of the "Old St. Peter's Basilica" on the location of St. Peter's tomb, as held and given to him by Rome's Christian community, many scholars agree that Peter was martyred in Rome under Nero, although some scholars argue that he may have been martyred in Palestine. First-century Christian communities would have had a group of presbyter-bishops functioning as leaders of their local churches. Episcopacies were established in metropolitan areas.
Antioch may have developed such a structure before Rome. In Rome, there were many who claimed to be the rightful bishop, though again Irenaeus stressed the validity of one line of bishops from the time of St. Peter up to his contemporary Pope Victor I and listed them; some writers claim that the emergence of a single bishop in Rome did not occur until the middle of the 2nd century. In their view, Linus and Clement were prominent presbyter-bishops
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