The Feast of the Dedication of the Churches of St. Paul and St. Peter
November 18th is the anniversary of the dedication of the Churches of Saint Paul and Saint Peter. Each church is a Roman basilica located in the city of Rome. St. Peter’s Basilica is located in the Vatican and is built on the Tomb of the Apostles. This is also where Nero’s circus took place and where St. Peter was executed. St. Peter’s was consecrated by Urban VIII on November 18, 1626. St. Paul-outside-the- Walls Basilica is located at the other end of Rome near where St. Paul was martyred. St. Paul’s was destroyed by a fire in 1823 and rebuilt by Gregory XVI and Pius IX and again consecrated by Pius IX on December 10, 1854. Today both anniversaries are celebrated on November 18th.
The emperor Constantine started to build St. Peter’s Basilica in 319 over the tomb of Peter who was the Church’s first Pope. Peter was one of the first apostles of Jesus and the basilica was completed in 349. A new church was built in this space after Pope Julius II had the building demolished due to structural problems that threatened its collapse. Pope Julius started the reconstruction in 1506 and it took over 200 years before the new church was finished and was dedicated on November 18, 1626. Michelangelo became the architect of the reconstruction. After Michelangelo’s death Giacomo della Porta and then Carlo Maderno became the architects on this project. The basilica can hold 60,000 visitors. It also contains the Pieta which is a sculpture of a young Mary holding the dead body of Jesus which was created by Michelangelo. St. Peter’s Basilica is the largest church in the world. St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most famous and visited churches in the world. St. Peter was called by Jesus as the rock on which he built his church and this is especially seen by St. Peter’s Basilica.
Constantine also had St. Paul’s Basilica built outside the original walls of Rome. The Basilica was destroyed by a fire in 1823. The reconstruction of the church included to donations made to the church from many people around the world. The basilica was built to look the same as it did before using some things that had survived the fire. St. Paul’s Basilica was the biggest church in Rome until St. Peter’s Basilica was reconstructed. St. Paul’s became the home of the medallions that would show all the popes throughout the history of the church. The basilica also contains an ancient Benedictine Abbey that is working today. St. Paul’s and St. Peter’s Basilicas were linked by a roofed colonnade of marble columns even though they were miles apart from each other.
Constantine’s building of the basilica’s brought many people to Rome to see these basilicas. Even today the Basilica’s are one of the most visited sites in Rome. St Peter’s and St. Paul’s Basilicas were built as the true basis of the church and this can still be seen today. They share the same anniversary which keeps them together going forward.