Friday, 18 December 2015

Passing through the Holy Door on a Warm Afternoon of December

So, a few days ago my father registered for a visit to the Holy Door, recently opened for the Jubilee of Mercy, announced by Pope Francis I Bergoglio.
A few minutes later we got our confirmation for today in the afternoon, so right after lunch we ventured on our "mini-pilgrimage" in the city of Rome. Here is my experience and a few hints on the event and places.

So, we arrived Rome and decided to head to the meeting point through Ponte Sant'Angelo, following the traditional route to Saint Peter's.

We spotted the meeting point by the gardens of Castel Sant'Angelo, showe our registration and follow the route to the basilica, walking on Via della Conciliazione.


This December happens to be quite warm and dry this year, so the fog created this peculiar dreamy look in the area, as if you're really accessing some supernatural spot... It's quite suggestive.

Once we reach the Bernini's colonnato we headed through the security checks.
The line grew quickly, but while waiting I took my time looking at the columns... When I saw them the first time when a kid I thought that they looked huge and-- It was kinda moving to realize that they STILL looked huge!

After the security checks we were led to the Holy Door through a specific path-- It's indeed practical, but looking at this square fragmented like this really pisses me off...
We finally reached the Holy Door!

The passage was frantic, awe-inspiring and kinda estranging at the same time-- It's difficult to properly report such feelings when you're a believer...

Anyway, here's a picture from the inside!
At the top of the door you can find a plaque reminder of the Jubilee of 1675 promoted by Pope Clement X Altieri.
The first Jubilee of Catholic tradition dated 1300 and was sponsored by Pope Boniface VIII Caetani, the one that Dante Alighieri made infamous in his Divine Comedy.

One of the first thing that you have to do once inside is paying homage to the bronze statue of Saint Peter by stroking (or kissing, if you're that extreme a devotee!) its right foot:

The feet of this statue are now shapeless and shiny because of this practice!
The statue is attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio and dated around the XIII century.

Among the various awe-inspiring bits, a glance at the Baldachin of my favourite Bernini is a classic:
Since the basilica is pretty much gigantic, it's difficult to realize the actual "size" of these pieces.
This bronze baldachin is 20 meters high, which is pretty much the height of Palazzo Barberini, to give you a spatial reference.
Saint Peter's is in fact the biggest Church of the world (--but not the tallest!).
Sure it's a great place to feel insignificant. While staring at some columns decorating the place, my mom said "I'd like to bring one of these in front of our house..." and I replied "Mom, these columns are pretty much twice as tall as our house--!"

Once outside, I took the classic picture of the Swiss Guards,
bought my official souvenir,
and strenghtened my resolution to spit in the face of anyone suggesting that Rome is not the most beautiful city in the world.
Ok, that's not very merciful, though >_>;

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