Location in the Grottoes


The Tomb of Paul VI

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Tomb of Paul VI - Vatican Grottoes below St Peter's

About half way along the north wall of the old grottoes, is a deep niche with a low vault. Here, in the center of the travertine paving is the tomb of Paul VI, Giovanni Battista Montini from Brescia, pope from 1963 to 1978. He died on August 6 and was buried on August 12. His tomb in the earth is covered by a simple travertine slab, slightly higher a the head, with the monogram of Christ and the name of the pope; PAVLVS PP. VI. This arrangement follows the wish the pope himself expressed in his last will: "The tomb: I would like it to be in the real earth, with a humble sign to indicate the place and to invite Christian piety. No monument for me."

Pope John Paul II would imitate this desire to be buried in a simple tomb, in the earth.




On the back wall are 3 fragments of 15th century reliefs of a decorative and devotional character. In the center is the Madonna with Child, probably by Tuscan artist close to Isaia da Pisa and active in the second half of the 15th century. To the sides are two Praying Angels presented in profile and with united hands, similar to the ones in the sarcophagus of John Paul II and in the chapel of Bocciata, originally from the third facade of the tabernacle of the Holy Lance. This area was arranged by Eng. Francesco Vacchini, the technical director of the Fabbrica di San Pietro.

Madonna with Child & Praying Angels - Rear Wall, Tomb of Paul VI
Madonna with Child & Praying Angels
Tomb of Paul VI in the Vatican Grottoes
Tomb of Paul VI

Pope Benedict XVI prays
at the Tomb of Paul VI
Madonna with Child & Praying Angels - Rear Wall, Tomb of Paul VI
Madonna with Child & Praying Angels


Source: Roma Sacra The Vatican Grottoes, Fabbrica of St. Peter's, June 2003

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