Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles

Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles

A cathedral is theology in stone, the medievals said, a truism which extends to all churches, not just cathedrals, and to their sacred web of translucent glass, glowing marble, gold-encrusted wood, bronze canopies, and every other noble surface on which the eye falls.

A Church mutely confesses its belief through form and materials. Today’s feast commemorates the dedication of two of the most sumptuous churches in the entire world: the Basilica of St. Peter, the oversized jewel in the small crown of Vatican City, and the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, a few miles distant, beyond Rome’s ancient walls.

The foundations of these two Basilicas are each sunk deep into the blood-drenched ground of first-century Christianity, though today’s impressive structures stand proxy for their long-razed originals. If strong churches reflect a strong God, these Basilicas are all muscle.

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