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The Tomb of Pius XII

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Pius XII Monument

 

The Tomb of Pius XII - Vatican Grottoes

In front of the Clementine Chapel is the shrine faced with travertine with the tomb of Pius XII, Eugenio Pacelli (1939-1958). The room was created in 1954 by Vincenzo Fasolo when the early Christian sarcophagus of Junius Bassus was removed. It has linear, symmetrical plan, almost in the shape of a cross. In the apse, is the simple white sarcophagus on a travertine base, following the pontiff's wish, with the inscription PIUS P.P. XII on the front and the monogram of Christ on the lid.


Chapel with the
Tomb of Pius XII

 

 

 


 

 

A gracious fresco of the Virgin with Child was placed above the sarcophagus in 1982. The fresco, generally attributed to Pietro Vannucci called il Perugine (1452-1523) or to his school, comes from the sacristy of the old basilica.

To provide ventilation, in the vault of the chapel is an oculus with with a bronze grid dated 1958. The low travertine arches are decorated with carvings while four niches are inserted in the pilasters below. Each one is surmounted by the coat of arms of the pope. In the big spaces in the walls, are two modern mosaics representing scenes from the Apocalypse: to the left The Seven Candlesticks and to the right The Dragon with Seven Heads symbolizing respectively Good and Evil. They were made in 1971 by the Studio del Mosaico della Fabbrica di San Pietro following the cartoons by Ferruccio Ferrazzi. The were placed in the chapel in 1982.
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In 2004 the chapel with the tomb of Pius XII was refurbished with funding by the Knights of Columbus

The Seven Candlesticks mosaic in the Tomb of Pius XII
The Seven Candlesticks - Mosaic Left Wall
Tomb of Pius XII
The Dragon with Seven Heads mosaic in the Tomb of Pius XII The Dragon with Seven Heads - Mosaic Right Wall
Tomb of Pius XII
Virgin with Child fresco by Perugino in Pius XII Tomb
Virgin with Child fresco
by Perugino (1452-1523)
Pope Benedict XVI prays at the Tomb of Pius XII
Pope Benedict XVI prays at the Tomb of Pius XII
Photo: Reuters

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

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