Finally the last of our basilica tour – we headed to the Basilica of Saint Paul or Basilica di San Paolo fuori le Mura. First we saw this on the way, some ruins then the long wall around the church. I didn’t really know what awaits us on this last cathedral… I almost thought we could not make it anymore because the guide book says that big churches close at 5 p.m… it was almost 5 p.m.
When we got in, there was a mass a sort of music going on – I thought first that this was from the choir but when we got nearer this was from the monks …singing or chanting the bible.. it was really nice – the church was so big so there was a wonderful acoustic and it’s almost listening to a concert/cd and the monks really sang well. We decided to sit there and just enjoy the mass – unfortunately I wasn’t able to take pictures because I don’t want to be moving so much and distract the people. Mama was so happy again because she could end the day with a beautiful mass and even officiated by the Bishop who had such a wonderful, angelic voice he could be a professional singer.
It was a wonderful experience- the monks actually live here because it is as well as Monastery and the basilica is part of it. We were just fortunate to hear them sing. It was actually a pity that not many people were there as you could see on this picture with Mama. Also just about a tenth of the church is being used – the rest is just left empty like this. Such a big space!!! This is just the middle lane… so you could just imagine how big it is.. Vlado thinks you could put 3 football fields here (soccer fields)
Here you can see what I am telling you about the church not being used and occupied – just the part where the dome is mostly being used with benches..This Basilica also has the tomb of Saint Paul – it has a very long history dating back as far as the first century AD where Saint Paul’s followers erected a shrine (cella memoriae) over the grave. Early Christians frequently visited the site to honor the great Apostle to the Gentiles. The first church on the site was a small one, founded by Emperor Constantine and consecrated on November 18, 324. Of course there has been numerous renovations/extensions plus the great fire which damaged the basilica in 1823
lots of people writing prayers to Saint Paul to be prayed over by the Monks.
I was fascinatedwith this big sculpture – made in the 12th century it is almost like a big candle with lots of figures around it. We were very impressed with all that we saw and glad to see the other famous Basilicas of Rome – please don’t miss them when you get the chance to go to Rome because they are all beautiful and each has a story to tell.