St. Peter's Basilica, the "home base" of the Pope, so integral to the history of our Faith, also has a fascinating architectural history. Old St. Peter's was started by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century, but, having fallen into disrepair by the 16th century underwent extensive renovation (actually rebuilding). Starting in the pontifical reign of Pope Julius II in 1505, and continuing over the next 120 years, the basilica finally reached completion under the reign of Pope Innocent X in the mid 17th century. Much drama surrounded the entire project, but God's Will prevailed, and the Basilica of St. Peter is celebrated today, and rightfully so, as the greatest of all churches in Chrisiandom, and the seat of the true Faith.
These first two images are of "old" St. Peter's...
(Notice there's no dome?)
This is "new" St. Peter's ~ how it looks today...
Above is a drawing of the 16th century reconstruction by architect, Bernardo Rosellino. And, below is a model of Michelangelo's plan for the dome.
Pope John XXIII offering Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in 1962.
And now, St. Paul's Basilica
The Basilica of St. Paul "Outside the Walls," was originally built by Emperor Constantine over the burial place of St. Paul, and, like St. Peter's, has a long history of renovation. You can find a very complete history at the Catholic Encyclopedia site.
Here is what St. Paul's looks like today...
Must-see movie for today: Charlton Heston and Rex Harris in The Agony and the Ecstacy! If you don't own it, as it's considered a movie classic, it can be found in most video rental stores.
For a coloring page for the day, you can save the above black and white image of Saints Peter and Paul to your computer to print out. It works beautifully as an 8x10.
The beautiful images used here are from Sacred Destinations.