Peter's Basilica is believed to be the burial place of Saint Peter, who was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. Peter became one of the most important people in starting the Christian Church. The Roman Catholic Church believes that Jesus made Peter the head of the Christian Church, and so all the Bishops of Rome (the Popes) must be the leaders of the Christian Church throughout the whole world.It is believed that Saint Peter was the first Bishop of Rome. Another important disciple was Paul of Tarsus, who travelled to many places and wrote lots of letters to teach and to encourage people in the new Christian groups that began to spring up in many different parts of the Roman Empire. The Protestant and Orthodox churches believe that Jesus was speaking about the important words Peter had just said: "You are the Christ and the Son of the Living God" (Matthew ), and that this Confession of Faith is the rock that the Christian Church is built on.
This church had been built over a small "shrine" (little chapel) believed to mark the burial place of St. The old basilica contained a very large number of tombs and memorials, including those of most of the popes from St. By the end of the 15th century (1400s), the old basilica was falling to pieces.Pope Nicholas V, (1447–55), was worried about it and got two architects, Leone Battista Alberti and Bernardo Rossellino, to make plans to restore it or build a new one.But Pope Nicholas had so many political problems that when he died, very little of the work had been done.A tomb has been found below the altar of the basilica, and there were some bones, but no-one can say for certain if they are the bones of St. Peter's as his main church, because he lives in the Vatican, his bishop's throne is in a different church, the cathedral of Saint John Lateran. They had found part of a small building dating from soon after St. Peter's Basilica, as it stand today, was begun in 1506. Peter's Basilica" was begun by the Emperor Constantine between 326 and 333 AD. Peter's is famous for many reasons: One of the books of the Bible, called the Acts of the Apostles, tells what happened to the disciples of Jesus after he was put to death by crucifixion in the 1st century AD. His name was Simon Peter and he was a fisherman from Galilee. Peter also travelled to Rome and that both Paul and Peter were put to death there as Christian martyrs. The Gospel of Matthew (chapter 16, verse 18) tells that Jesus said these words to Peter: The name Peter means a "rock".
The place where Peter died was marked, in the 1400s, by a little round temple called the "Tempietto" designed by Bramante. Peter is very important in Roman Catholic tradition because Peter is believed to have been the head of the Christian Church in Rome, and so he was the first bishop.
Peter's grave was marked, by a red rock, the symbol of his name.
Peter was buried in a cemetery near the Via Cornelia, a road leading out of the city, on the hill called Vaticanus.
Peter's death, and some bones, but no-one could be sure if they were the bones of St. This was a big wide church in the shape of a Latin Cross, over 103.6 metres (350 feet) long.
The central part called the "nave" had two aisles on either side, separated by rows of talls Roman columns.
In front of the main entrance was large courtyard with a covered walkway all around.