Entering the Papal Basilica of Saint Peter

Upon arriving at the Papal Basilica of Saint Peter, pilgrims enter the portico where there are five doors that open into the basilica itself.  From the south (on the left, facing the doors) are the Door of Death, the Door of Good and Evil, the Filarete Door, the Door of the Sacraments, and the Holy Door.  The ceiling of the portico is richly decorated in gold paint and the lunettes contain statues of the first 28 martyred Popes.  Looking to the south in the portico, the coat of arms of Pope Paul V can be seen on the ceiling, surrounded by scenes from the life of Saint Peter.  At the end of this view, in the lunette, are statues of Pope Callistus I and Pope Zephyrinus I.

Entering through the Door of the Sacraments and turning to the right, one can see the inside of the Holy Door, walled up and decorated with a golden cross.  Above the Holy Door is a mosaic of Saint Peter, installed by Pope Clement X in 1675.  Further to the right is Michelangelo’s Pieta, safely ensconced behind bulletproof glass after Laszlo Toth damaged the sculpture with a hammer in 1972.

Portico Ceiling

Portico Ceiling

SOURCE:  Portico Ceiling (State of the Vatican City); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 10 August 2011.

Pope Callistus I and Pope Zephyrinus I

Pope Callistus I and Pope Zephyrinus I

SOURCE:  Pope Callistus I and Pope Zephyrinus I (State of the Vatican City); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 10 August 2011.

Interior of the Holy Door

Interior of the Holy Door

SOURCE:  Interior of the Holy Door (State of the Vatican City); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 10 August 2011.

Mosaic of Saint Peter

Mosaic of Saint Peter

SOURCE:  Mosaic of Saint Peter (State of the Vatican City); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 10 August 2011.

Michelangelo's Pieta

Michelangelo’s Pieta

SOURCE:  Michelangelo’s Pieta (State of the Vatican City); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 10 August 2011.

Copyright © 2011 by Stephen J. Danko

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