Thursday, May 19, 2005

One of the little mysteries that appeared after the burial of John Paul II was the exact route that his body took on its way to the grottoes. We all saw on TV the coffin entering the front of the basilica, and then there was the photos of the triple coffin being sealed and lowered into the tomb, but by what secret passageway was the Holy Father moved. This was a question that was asked of me by several news agencies, and apparently many newspapers got it wrong.

One clue was the official Vatican press release on the funeral that stated that the body would go through the Santa Marta Door. This door (under the Alexander VII monument) leads to the outside, so how did he get into the grottoes under the basilica.

Fr. Edward McNamara, LC recently reported that the body was taken through the Scavi entrance into the grottoes, therefore solving this minor mystery. If you ever get a chance to take the Scavi tour of the Necropolis, you'll be following the path of John Paul II.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

It seems that every age continues to add new works of art at St. Peter's Basilica. Douglas of IconTours (one of the tour groups that cover the Vatican) has reported that a new statue has attracted the attention of many people. The 18 foot statue of St. Gregory the Illuminator (the Apostle of Armenia) was unveiled in January of this year, in a ceremony attended by Pope John Paul II. It can be found on the northern exterior of the basilica, near the area where people ascend the elevator to the dome.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Sources in Rome have reported that although the line to pass by John Paul II's tomb is still hefty, they have reverted to the old route in use before his death by entering the grottoes from the basilica proper. The entrance will be at either the St. Longinus or St. Andrew statue near the papal altar.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

With the death of Pope John Paul II, several news agencies contacted the site for information about St. Peter's. In response, a new map of the grottoes, which contain the tombs of many popes, has been added.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

If you're going to Rome and plan on visiting St Peter's Basilica, perhaps you'd like some direction.

If you've already visited St Peter's Basilica, perhaps you'd like to know more about what you experienced.

Or perhaps you're in neither category, but would just like to discuss one of the world's greatest buildings.

This is the place