Taking Care of St. Peter’s Basilica – Job or Nightmare?

July 6, 2008 at 9:31 pm Leave a comment

I read an article today in my local paper about the folks whose job it is to take care of Roman Catholicism’s greatest shrine.  St. Peter’s is 600 feet long and at its highest point 450 feet above ground level. It covers roughly the same area as an American football field.

A building this large would be a difficult task for any facilities team even under normal circumstances. However when you add in the priceless works of art under their care and the fact that on an average day the building receives 20,000 visitors each and every day on average this adds up to a monumental task.  So how many hundreds of people are on staff for this task you might ask?  Just 75 and they even take acre of some of the escort duties for the visitors as well.

These Sapietrini (St. Peter’s workmen) who in the past were literally the descendants of the original builders of the church take care of all of the maintenance tasks that are a part of keeping this place neat, tidy and well maintained.   The article I read is here: http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/story.html?id=d8e386fb-29ed-496f-b0fa-b038f69b8613&p=1

However maintenance is not all they do.  The are also the watchmen for the building while it is receiving vistors. They have overseen archaeological digs, the most famous being that surrounding the locating of St. Peter’s burial site. (http://books.google.com/books?id=fjU3mJ7BJggC&pg=PA323&lpg=PA323&dq=sanpietrini+%2B+St.+Peter&source=web&ots=83mKEN5rqU&sig=FNzVQm4AdgTFiuBPR0BwzPTT0Go&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=10&ct=result).

Lastly they are responsible for burying the pope in his chosen resting place under the basilica. (http://www.catholic-pages.com/pope/papal-funeral.asp)

On another note apparently the orginal members of this group included several famous mosaicists (artists specializing in mosaics) that spread throughout Europe on the 18th century. (http://books.google.com/books?id=7VDcmDeLuV4C&pg=PA1021&lpg=PA1021&dq=sanpietrini+%2B+St.+Peter&source=web&ots=diIebbm_xT&sig=_V_M2HGTWI3bM2nD5USHzkwSkGU&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=7&ct=result)

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Entry filed under: Maintenance. Tags: , , .

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