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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

St. Peter's Church

The present Church of St. Peter in Rome was begun by Pope Julius II in 1506 and completed in 1615.

Known the world over as the church of the Roman Catholic Popes, St. Peter's is one of the largest churches. It was built to replace Old St. Peter's Church built by Constantine over Peter's traditional burial site.

St. Peter's Church was built according to the original plan of Donato Bramante. This design was to take the form of a Greek cross around the Central Dome.

Many other architects are connected to the design of St. Peter's like the Renaissance artist, Raphael. They changed the original design from the Greek cross to a Latin cross; however, Antonio da Sangallo the Younger returned to Bramante's original idea.

Michelangelo,who follwed Sangallo, almost finished the drum for the massive dome before he died.

Pope Paul V adopted the sketches of Carlo Madero, which extended the church nave in an easterly direction. Bernini added the piazza, lined by the colonnades, that introduce the basilica.

St. Peter's Church is filled with Renaissance and Baroque priceless masterpieces, including Michaelangelo's Pieta and a bronze throne of St. Peter.

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