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The Tomb of Pius VI

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Tomb of Pius VI - Vatican Grottoes

Giovanni Angelico Braschi
b. at Cesena - Dec. 27, 1717
elected - February 15, 1775
d. Valence, France - Aug 29, 1799

 

In the Chapel of the Madonna between Sts Peter and Paul, to the right of the Confessio, is an ancient Christian sarcophagus that holds the body of Pius VI. By the wish of Pius XII the sarcophagus was used to bury Pius VI in 1949, who died in exile in Valence in France in 1799. His remains had been transferred to St. Peter's in Rome on Feb 17, 1802.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sarcophagus of Pius VI is on the left side of the Chapel. It displays a cross in the center and two strigilled panels on the sides.

Covering it is a precious marble fragment of another sarcophagus (c. IV century) from the collection of antiquities of the basilica. In the center, two winged geniuses hold a plate for an inscription. To the left is the story of Joseph pulled out of the wall and sold by his brothers. To the right is one of the oldest representations of the Epiphany from the first half of the 4th century. Mary is sitting on a draped throne. She presents the Child to the Three Magi carrying gifts, each one followed by a camel. Behind her is the cross. This is one of the first representations in Christian art of the latin cross to symbolize the life of Jesus (Child = beginning, Cross = end).

On the wall above is an inscription which reads:

MORTALES PII VI EXVVIAS QVEM INIVSTVM CONSVMPSIT EXILIVM
PIVS XII PONT. MAX. HEIC DIGNE COLLOCARI
AC MARMOREO ORNAMENTO ARTE HISTORIAQVE PRAESTANTISSIMO
DECORARI IVSSIT A. MCMXXXXIX

The mortal remains of Pius VI, consumed in unjust exile,
by order of Pius XII
are placed in this dignified and decorous location, illustrious for art and history,
in 1949

Tomb of Pius VI - Left Wall of the Chapel of Madonna between Sts Peter and Paul
Tomb of Pius VI - Vatican Grottoes
Tomb of Pius VI on the Left in the Chapel of the Madonna between Sts Peter and Paul
Tomb of Pius VI on the Left - Chapel of the Madonna
Left side of Relief - Story of Joseph in the Well - Ancient fragment on the Tomb of Pius VILeft Relief above Tomb of Pius VI - Story of Joseph
Right relief of the Epiphany - Above the Tomb of Pius VI
Right Relief above Tomb of Pius VI - The Epiphany
Inscription placed by Pius XII in 1949 above the Tomb of Pius VI
Inscription by Pius XII above the Tomb of Pius VI
Sources:
Roma Sacra The Vatican Grottoes, Fabbrica of St. Peter's, June 2003
Grotte Vaticane, Iohn de Toth, Fabbrica of St. Peter's, 1955
Le Tombe E I Monumenti Funebri Dei Papi, Virgilio Card. Noe, 2000

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