Friday, December 9, 2022

Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles – Feast Day – November 18

Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles

Today, November 18, we commemorate the dedication of the Basilica of St Peter on the Vatican hill and the Basilica of St Paul located on the Ostian road, a few miles outside the walls of Rome’s ancient walls. 

The two Basilicas were built by Roman Emperor Constantine the Great in the 4th century on the grounds where they were traditionally believed to be buried.

They were connected together with a roofed colonnade that passes through the streets of Rome despite being miles apart.

The Basilicas gained much significance in 1585 after Pope Sixtus V obliged the Catholic bishops to be making visits to Rome, to the tombs of the Apostles after every five years to “file back a report” or give an account of their work in their dioceses.

On December 31 1909, Pope Pius X further mandated all bishops to be filing a report about the status of their dioceses to the pope after every five years.

St Peter’s Basilica is massive in scale and boasts much art and architecture. The place started as a simple cemetery where the faithful went on pilgrimage to pray at St Peter’s tomb.

Emperor Constantine built a Basilica on that site in 319 AD that remained there for over 1000 years until its structural strength began to diminish despite many fortifications. 

Pope Julius II ordered that the old Basilica be pulled down in 1506 and a new one be constructed. However, The new Basilica remained incompleted for nearly two centuries until November 18 1626 when it was fully completed and dedicated by Pope Urban VIII.

The Papal Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls was erected at the place where St Paul the Apostle was beheaded.

It remained the largest Church in Rome until St Peter’s Basilica was fully reconstructed. It was reconstructed in 1823 after it was razed by fire and consecrated on December 10 1854 by Pope Pius IX.

It has remained a place where pilgrims all over the world visit every year.

Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles - Feast Day - November 18
Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles – Feast Day – November 18

Saints Whose Feast Days are in November

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