The Basilica of Saint Peter in Chains, Rome

The Basilica of Saint Peter in Chains (San Pietro in Vincoli) is located near the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.  Its facade is modest.  If one did not know the basilica was there, one might pass by, thinking that the structure was an office building or a residence.

The most amazing possession of the basilica are the chains on display, thought to be the chains that held Saint Peter while he was imprisoned in Jerusalem and in the Mamertine Prison in Rome.

The basilica is also famous for a monument to Pope Julius II which includes Michelangelo’s sculpture of Moses.  Original texts describing Moses as he descended Mount Sinai describe Moses face as “radiant”, although Jerome, who translated the Old Testament into Latin, described Moses as “horned” rather than “radiant.”  In any case, Michelangelo sculpted Moses with horns.  While the monument to Pope Julius II is located in San Pietro in Vincoli, his tomb is located in Saint Peter’s.

Another striking feature of the basilica is the tomb of Cinzio Aldobrandini, the nephew of Pope Clement VIII.  Aldobrandini was a cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church and lived much of his life in service to the Vatican.  His tomb is decorated with an impressive sculpture of Death.

The altar of Saint Sebastian is related to an outbreak of Plague in Pavia that could only be abated if an altar to Saint Sebastian was constructed in the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli in Pavia.  Presumably, this story was told in Rome and an altar to Saint Sebastian was also constructed in San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome.  A mosaic of Saint Sebastian hangs over the altar.

The Basilica of Saint Peter in Chains

The Basilica of Saint Peter in Chains

SOURCE:  The Basilica of Saint Peter in Chains (Rome, Lazio, Italy); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 12 August 2011.

The Chains of Saint Peter

The Chains of Saint Peter

SOURCE:  The Chains of Saint Peter (Rome, Lazio, Italy); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 12 August 2011.

Monument to Pope Julius II

Monument to Pope Julius II

SOURCE:  Monument to Pope Julius II (Rome, Lazio, Italy); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 12 August 2011.

Tomb of Cardinal Cinzio Aldobrandini

Tomb of Cardinal Cinzio Aldobrandini

SOURCE:  Tomb of Cardinal Cinzio Aldobrandini (Rome, Lazio, Italy); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 12 August 2011.

Mosaic of Saint Sebastian

Mosaic of Saint Sebastian

SOURCE:  Mosaic of Saint Sebastian (Rome, Lazio, Italy); photographed by Stephen J. Danko on 12 August 2011.

Copyright © 2011 by Stephen J. Danko

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One Response to The Basilica of Saint Peter in Chains, Rome

  1. Jennifer says:

    Aldobrandini’s tomb is amazing. Just pure unadulterated amazing.

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