500 Years Of St. Peter's-Vatican History
April 18, 1506 saw the beginning of the end for the almost 1,200-year-old St. Peter's basilica on the Vatican Hill in Rome. For on this day, under the supervision of the chief architect Donato Bramante, the foundation stone was laid for a new St. Peter's Cathedral. In a sequence of bitter power struggles, shattering defeats and glorious triumphs Bramante, Sangallo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Maderno and Bernini created this world-famous center of the Roman Catholic church. The Reformation and the Counter-Reformation might well have taken a quite different course without this building. Like a huge precious shell the dome envelops the humble tomb, buried within its depths, of the Apostle Peter, designated by Jesus to bear responsibility for the Christian faith.