Italy - Rome - Vatican - Interior View of St. Peter's Church

The Great Alter with its baldacchino

Italy - Rome - Vatican - Interior of St. Peter's showing the baldacchino over the Great Alter
  • (3)  The Great Alter with its baldacchino 95 feet high, St. Peter's Church,
                Rome, Italy    Copyright 1897, by Underwood & Underwood.


  • Underwood & Underwood Publishers.
    New York. London. Toronto - Canada. Ottawa-Kansas.
  • Works and Sun Sculpture (SW trademark) Studios ~
    Washington, D. C. Arlington N.J. Littleton, N.H.
Description (Back): 

     We are at the northern side of the nave near its western end, and are looking nearly west.  That altar, with its tall cross, and beautiful great candlesticks, stands directly over the tomb where rests the dust of the Prince of Apostles.  More than eighteen hundred years ago,  St. Peter died a martyr for his faith, in a Roman arena or circus near this very spot.  It was not until three hundred years had passed away that his bones were taken from their unhonored grave and buried here.  That curving balustrade of marble surrounds the confessio into which you can descend by stairs to see the tomb itself.

     See how magnificent that baldacchino is, with its massive pillars of gilded bronze supporting the elaborate splendor of the canopy with the lofty cross.  Ninety-five feet above the floor that cross rises into the air, and yet it is only a canopy over the alter.  Straight up, above that cross, the huge dome of the church rises higher and higher and higher yet - almost four hundred feet still farther towards the sky!

     Mass is said at this alter only by the Holy Father himself or by some cardinal especially appointed by him.

     That bronze figure at the right is the famous statue of St. Peter, his hand raised in benediction.

     Look between the candlesticks by the statue and the great pillars at the right side of the baldacchino, and you can see, away out at the farther end of the church, the celebrated Cathedra Petri (Peter's Chair), an ancient wooden chair encased in bronze.  It is supported by gigantic figures of four old-time Fathers of the Church, Augustine, Ambrose, Chrysostom and Athanasius.


The Great Alter, St. Peter's Church, Rome.


Description and Comments
  • Photographic print mounted on a curved dark gray colored card mount.
  • This stereo view is probably from an Underwood & Underwood set.


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Copyright 2005 by Theodore Bernhardt.  All rights reserved.