Introduction Background: Art and Religion Structure and Dimensions Interior Decoration: Nave, Chapels, Sculpture Exterior Architecture: Facade, Dome Tombs and Relics History Saint Peter's Square The Basilica Papale di San Pietro in the Vatican City, commonly known as Saint Peter's Basilica, is the most famous Roman Catholic church in the world and one of the holiest sites in Christendom, dating back to Roman architecture of the early Christian art period.
The basilica, now the Pope's principal church, was built according to tradition above the burial site of St.
In the first letter, the emperor ordered the military governor of the city to lock up all those who infringed public law and order, even those in the pope's household, and in the second he wrote that Pope was mad and that he ought to be locked away.
It is true that these letters are aggressive, but they do not amount to ordering the kidnapping of the Holy Father. On the night of 5-6 July, 1809, General Radet with a small force entered the Vatican with a mission to arrest Cardinal Pacca and kidnap the pope.
Radet's men took with them ropes, ladders, axes and some locksmiths, and they had bribed an ex-papal servant (he had been sacked for stealing) to guide them through the labyrinthine passageways of the Vatican palace.
Once the pope had turned out the light in his chamber (at about 2am), the papal guard stood down and French forces went into action. Some of the ladders used by Radet's men broke noisily, waking the guard and spoiling the element of surprise.
No other state body speaks as well as they do regarding the government.”9 The conflict was to escalate seriously over the following two years with Napoleon gradually appropriating Papal lands.
The pressure on Pius was increased to such an extent that at the beginning of 1808, he was forced to react.
He finally wrote to Pius from Munich on 7 January, 1806, strong after the treaty of Pressburg.3 He was angry with what he saw as the Vatican consorting with Britain and Russia, allowing agents of those two countries to operate freely in the Papal States.
That I am only fooled inasmuch as I let myself be fooled. If he does not reply, I shall reduce him to the condition of his predecessors before Charlemagne.”8 Pius' answer (dated 21 March, 1806) was serene: “I reply with apostolic frankness that the Holy Father […] does not recognise and has never recognised, in his states, any power superior to his own, and that no emperor has any rights over Rome”.
That I am Charlemagne, the sword of the Church and their emperor. The institution of the Imperial catechism in the same month did nothing to defuse the conflict. And yet Napoleon could not do without the Catholic church.
He called the pope's letter a stab in the back.
Pius, he said, had given the impression that he thought Napoleon and the empire were lost (the emperor possibly suspected that the pontiff knew about the naval defeat).