"Chiesa/ Church of San Pietro in Vincoli (St Peter in Chains)" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Friday 13th May 2011
The two chains with which St Peter was supposed to have been fettered in the Tullianum are said to have been taken to Constantinople. In 439 a bishop of Jerusalem gave them to the mother(-empress) of empress Eudoxia , wife of emperor Valentinian III. She placed one of them in the basilica of the Apostles at Constantinople, and sent the other to Rome for her daughter, who gave the chain to St Leo I Magno and built the church of San Pietro in Vincoli (St Peter in Chains) for its reception. Later the second chain was sent to Rome. On being brought together, the two chains miraculously united.
The church of San Pietro in Vincoli is also known as Basilica Eudossiana, because it was rebuilt (replacing another one of identical dimension, the latter built on Roman ruins), by Eudossia, wife to the Emperor Valentiniano III, to treasure the chains of San Pietro retained in Gerusalemme and entrusted to her by her mother Eudocia.
This was consecrated in 439 and was many times restored and reconstructed. The large modification took place in the beginning of the 18th century by F.Fontana. The elegant portico with the octagonal pilasters is attributed to B.Pontelli; the facade was created in 1475 by M.d.Caprina. The marble door has the arms of Julius II.
The vast interior is divided into a nave and two aisles by 20 splendid columns.
On the wooden ceiling is a big painting "Miracle of the Chains" by G.B.Parodi (1706). The high altar and baldacchino is by V.Vespignani (1872), beneath them is a "confessio" where through two windows could be seen a golden urn (1856) containing the chains of St Peter. In the underground crypt is a beautiful paleo-Christian sarcophagus with the relics of the seven Jewish Maccabei brothers (1st century b.C.), ornamented with the scenes from the new testament.
The greatest sight of the church is the Tomb of Julius II, by Michelangelo, which remained unfinished because of quarrels of the artist with Julius II and of the jealousy of that pope's successors. In the center is a powerful figure of Moses; on either sides are beautiful statues of Leah and Rachel, symbols of the active and contemplative life. The rest of the monument is Michelangelo's pupils' work. Julius II was not buried here, but in St Peter's; during the sack of Rome in 1527 his tomb was pillaged and his remains were found only a century later. After some time they were finally placed in his mausoleum in this church.
Beside it is a door leading to the sacristy richly decorated with the polychrome marbles, paintings by Domenichino, the vault frescoes by P.Nogari, and a small 15th century marble bas-relief of the Madonna and Child.
The bishop's throne in the apse is a marble chair brought from a Roman bath.
From 1873 the convent of the church was occupied by a University Faculty of Physics and Math, and a School of Applied Engineering. It happened according to a plan of Q.Sella concentrating in this zone the scientific sector of the Roman University. Even after the University City was built, the Faculty of Engineering remained here.
The cloister of the convent is decorated with arches of Ionic columns and is attributed to G.d.Sangallo (1503). In its center is a beautiful well with two couples of columns, attributed to A.d.Sangallo the Y. (1517). According to tradition, the two chains (ties) used to tie up San Pietro are still treasured underneath the altar. It also hold the famous “Mosè” by Michelangelo.
Chiesa/ Church of San Pietro in Vincoli (St Peter in Chains)
Piazza di San Pietro in Vincoli, 4/A
00184, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Monti (Colosseo-S.Giovanni-S.Maria Maggiore) (Roma centro)
Chiesa/ Church of San Pietro in Vincoli (St Peter in Chains) is Shown By "Map E Zone" As "146"
Hours: April-September: 8.00 am - 12.30 pm and 3.30 pm - 7.00 pm., October-March: 8.00 am - 12.30 pm and 3.00 pm - 6.00 pm. Mass Schedule: Weekdays: 8.00 am and 12.00 pm; Holidays: 8.00 am and 11.00 am; Saturdays and Eves of Public Holidays: 5.00 pm; Confessions in Italian, French and Polish; Visitors are not allowed during Masses. Schedules are subject to change. Please contact the church before visiting.
Telephone: 0039 06 97844950 - 06 97844952
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