St. Peter's Altar

St. Peter’s Altar | A Tribute to the Apostle

St. Peter’s Altar inside Rome's St. Peter’s Basilica is perhaps one of the holiest spots in all of Christendom. The altar, also known as the Papal Altar among devotees, is built over the tomb of St. Peter, martyred in the time of Emperor Nero.

Who built St. Peter’s Altar?

St. Peter's Altar

History of St. Peter’s Altar

St. Peter's Altar

Mass at St. Peter’s Altar

St Peter’s Altar has the distinction of the altar where only the Pope is allowed to celebrate Mass. Known as Papal Mass, St. Peter's altar normally witnesses the pontiff hold the Mass on special occasions such as the coronation of a new Pope, canonization of Saints, or major holidays including Christmas and Easter.

As St. Peter’s Altar is considered very sacred, the high mass is often accompanied by special rituals and ceremonies. Mass takes places at the Papal Altar on weekdays at 5 PM. On Sundays and Holy Days, mass takes place at various times throughout the day.

St. Peter's Basilica Mass

Highlights of St. Peter’s Altar

The altar of St. Peter is not complete without mentioning two significant features - The Baldacchino and St. Peter’s Chair, both designed by Bernini.

St. Peter's Altar
St. Peter's Altar

Visit St. Peter’s Altar

Plan your visit to St. Peter’s Basilica to get a close look at one of the most distinguished altars in the whole world. Now that you know what makes this Papal Altar so special, keep an eye out for it on your visit to the Basilica.

St. Peter's Basilica Tickets

Small-Group St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour

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Duration: 1 hr.
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St. Peter’s Basilica Dome: Guided Tour

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Duration: 2 hr.
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St Peter's Basilica Dome Climb with Tour of Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel

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Duration: 5 hr. 30 min.
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English Guided Tour of the St. Peter's Basilica and the Cupola

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Duration: 3 hr.
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Frequently Asked Questions About St. Peter's Altar

Q. What is St. Peter's Altar?

A. St. Peter's Altar or the Papal Altar is a sacred altar used for Papal Mass and Holy ceremonies.

Q. Where is St. Peter's Altar located?

A. St. Peter's Altar or the Papal Altar is an altar located in the center of St. Peter's Basilica below the dome.

Q. Is there mass at St. Peter's Altar?

A. Yes. Masses conducted by the Pope take place at the Papal Altar of the Basilica.

Q. When is mass at the Papal Altar?

A. The Papal Mass takes place on weekdays at 5 PM as well as Sundays and Holy Days throughout the day.

Q. What's inside St. Peter's Altar?

A. Inside the Papal Altar you will notice the massive dome right above, the Baldacchino, and St. Peter's Chair.

Q. Who designed St. Peter's Altar?

A. St. Peter's Altar was designed by the famous Italian artist, Bernini.

Q. What are the highlights of St. Peter's Altar?

A. The main highlights of St. Peter's Altar or the Papal Altar are Bernini's Baldacchino and the Chair of St. Peter.

Q. Why is St. Peter's Altar important?

A. St. Peter's Altar is located at the center of the Basilica directly above the Tomb of St. Peter. For this reason it is considered a very sacred area in the Church.

Q. Is St. Peter's Tomb below the Papal Altar?

A. Yes. St. Peter's Tomb is located directly below the Papal Altar or St. Peter's Altar.

Q. Can I visit St. Peter's Altar?

A. Yes. You can explore the Papal Altar on a visit to St. Peter's Basilica.