History of St. Peter's Basilica | Timeline, Facts & More
History of St. Peter's Basilica Explained
Circus of Nero
Around the year 64 CE, there was a massive fire in Rome that destroyed the majority of the city. Many historians claim that Emperor Nero was behind the fire. Nero, however, blamed the Christian sect for the fire. He believed that their refusal to worship the Roman Gods was what led them to start the fire. This led to a horrible series of persecutions of innocent Christians. Nero held these executions at the Circus, for the public to see and be entertained. During this time, Saint Peter was conducting his sermons in Rome which led to his crucifixion on the orders of Emperor Nero. The Circus of Nero existed where St. Peter’s Square is today.
Collapse & Rebuilding of the Basilica
Old St Peter's Basilica, like many medieval churches, eventually fell into disrepair. Nearly 1,200 years after its completion, Old St. Peter's Basilica was in a horrible state after serving as one of Rome's most prominent churches. One of the building's side walls was said to be tilting about 6 feet off the wall, indicating that it was on the edge of collapsing. Many Popes attempted to restore parts of the basilica during the next few years to preserve the priceless edifice, but all of their attempts failed. Finally, Pope Julius II, who reigned from 1503 to 1513, decided to demolish the structure and replace it with a new basilica.
The Era of Construction
St. Peter’s Basilica Today
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Frequently Asked Questions About the History of St. Peter's Basilica
A. Old St. Peter's Basilica was commissioned under the direction of Emperor Constantine I.
A. Old St. Peter's Basilica was built around 349 AD.
A. After many years, Old St. Peter's Basilica began falling apart, leaving it on the verge of collapse. The decision was made to demolish it.
A. Construction of the new St. Peter's Basilica began in 1506.
A. Saint Peter died on a site called Nero's Circus, which stood in the place of the current St. Peter's Square.
A. St. Peter was buried on Vatican Hill.
A. Old St. Peter's Basilica was on the verge of collapse. No amount of repairs were able to restore the Church and so it was decided that a new Basilica be built in its place.
A. St. Peter's Basilica was commissioned by Pope Julius II.
A. Many architects were involved in the construction of St. Peter's Basilica, including Bernini & Michelangelo.
A. St. Peter's Basilica is the final resting place of the Apostle himself. It is the most important Church in Christendom.