Rome: The Basilica of Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls
About Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls:
Here, in Rome’s second-largest church, you will find the tomb of St. Paul under the main altar. Destroyed by fire in 1823, it was rebuilt according to the original specifications through contributions from all over the world.
When you look at the facade from the front, you will see representations of the twelve apostles and a lamb. This comes from the Book of Revelation, 21:14 “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb”
Perhaps the most notable of all objects within the Basilica are the chains that were used to bind Saint Paul as a prisoner in Rome from 61-63 A.D. are displayed in a gold reliquary near the Apostle’s tomb and available for public veneration. On the Feast Day of Saint Paul (June 29th) each year, the chains are taken in procession around the Basilica.
This basilica also houses many magnificent statues, paintings and mosaics. Most noteworthy are the mosaic portraits of all the popes from St. Peter down to John Paul II, seen from the middle of this vast basilica. This unique feature sets it apart from all other churches in the world.
You should also note the crucifix above the Tabernacle in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, sculpted by Pierre Cavallini. St. Bridget of Sweden lay prostrate in prayer before this crucifix when Christ’s head turned toward her and gave her the famous “15 Prayers of St. Bridget.” Many pilgrims have devotion to these prayers, which are outlined in the well-known blue “Pieta” prayer book.
The Basilica is open daily from Tuesday through Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 pm and 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 pm. Masses are held at various times throughout the day.
Some organized tours include a stop here either on the way to, or from, the airport as they are either arriving or departing Rome.
As the name implies, the Basilica is outside of the old city walls and a bit removed from the other major Basilicas but certainly worthy of any visit to Rome. And “outside the walls” is a relative term: it is only 5 miles from the Vatican.
There is a metro stop nearby, Basilica S. Paolo. It is also close to Tre Fontane if you want to combine visits.
For help finding your way around, we suggest the “Little Black Book of Rome” It is organized by location rather than alphabetically like so many guide books. And we also suggest you carry a “Streetwise Map of Rome” for easy navigating.
Address: Piazzale San Paolo, 1, 00146 Roma, Italy
GPS coordinates: 41° 51′ 31.2372” N, 12° 28′ 36.2424” E
Click here for the official website of Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls.
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