"Me and Moses" Top 5 Page for this destination Basilica San Pietro in Vincoli Tip by von.otter

Basilica San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome: 39 reviews and 76 photos

  Me and Moses
by von.otter

Then suddenly an angel of the Lord stood there, and the cell was filled with light. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him. 'Get up!' he said, 'Hurry!' and the chains fell from his hands.
? The Holy Bible, Acts 12, 7

The cavernous Basilica of St. Peter in Chains houses the monument to Pope Julius II. This is the pope who commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He also engaged the Florentine native to design and carve his final resting place.

Crowds flock to see the tomb of Pope Julius II, with its central focus, Moses the Lawgiver. Michelangelo?s monument to his demanding papal patron went through many changes between 1505 and 1545. At one point the design called for 40 separate sculpted figures. Once a final design was reached in 1545, 32 years after the pontiff?s death, it took two years to complete. But this is not a tomb, but a monument because the pope?s remains do not rest here but at St. Peter?s in the Vatican.

Those horns sticking up from the prophet?s head are Michelangelo?s attempt to depict the rays of light the Old Testament tells us were emanating from his head when he came down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments.

Hollywood trivia: it is said that Cecil B. deMille cast Charlton Heston as Moses in his movie ?The Ten Commandments,? because the actor supposedly resemblanced this marble Moses!

In AD 439 Empress Eudoxia, wife of the Emperor Valentinian III, sent the chains that had fettered St. Peter in Jerusalem to Pope St. Leo I Magno. When he compared these chains to those from St. Peter?s nine-month sentence in Rome?s Mamertine prison the chains fused together. They were placed in a basilica dedicated to SS Peter and Paul. The name was changed to the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains, San Pietro in Vincoli, in AD 442.

Safely locked up in a gilded bronze and glass box below the high altar the chains are objects of worship. Crowds gather around, tossing money on the floor in front of the chains.

Address: 4/a Piazza San Pietro in Vincoli
Phone: +39 6 488 2865
Website: http://www.vicariatusurbis.org

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Sep 6, 2006
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