Rome - Pilgrimage


Rome has been a major Christian pilgrimage site since the Middle Ages. People from all over the Christian world visit Vatican City, within the city of Rome, the seat of the papacy. The Pope was the most influential figure during the Middle Ages. the city became a major pilgrimage site during the Middle Ages and the focus of struggles between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire starting with Charlemagne, who was crowned its first emperor in Rome in 800 by Pope Leo III. Apart from brief periods as an independent city during the Middle Ages, Rome kept its status as Papal capital and "holy city" for centuries, even when the Papacy briefly relocated to Avignon (1309–1377). Catholics believe that the Vatican is the last resting place of St. Peter. to this day, thousand of believers flock to the city to Rome. One of the pilgrimage stopping point is Pilate's stairs where, according to the Christian tradition, the steps that led up to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem, which Jesus Christ stood on during his Passion on his way to trial. The stairs were, reputedly, brought to Rome by St. Helena in the 4th Century. For centuries, the Scala Santa has attracted Christian pilgrims who wished to honor the Passion of Jesus.

Pilgrimages to Rome can involve visits to a large number of sites, both within the Vatican City and in Italian territory in the city of Rome itself. Some of these are the catacombs of antiquity in which Christians prayed, buried their dead and performed worship during periods of persecution, and various national churches, most famously the Church of St. Louis of the French, or churches associated with individual religious orders, such as the Jesuit Church of Jesus. Traditionally there have been seven churches known as the Pilgrim churches, visited because an individual saint is venerated there, or in the Middle Ages to obtain indulgences, or for national reasons since there are national churches in Rome for most Catholic countries. St Peter’s basilica is the main destination for pilgrimage, because of the presence of the pope and the burial of many past popes there, including St Peter, recognised by Catholics as the first pope. St Peters and three other major churches, all within Italian territory and therefore outside Vatican City form what are called the four main basilicas, these are the Basilica of St John Lateran, the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, where St Paul is believed buried, and Saint Mary Major. Three other minor basilicas, all within Rome, form the seven pilgrimage sites.

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Famous quotes containing the word pilgrimage:

    The ripest fruit first falls, and so doth he.
    His time is spent; our pilgrimage must be.
    William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

    “Come hither, Son,” I heard Death say;
    “I did not will a grave
    Should end thy pilgrimage today,
    But I, too, am a slave!”
    Thomas Hardy (1840–1928)