Church of St Peter in Chains
The Church of Saint Peter in Chains known locally as San Pietro in Vincoli or Basilica Eudoxiana is renowned as the home of Renaissance artist Michelangelo’s amazing sculpture of Moses. It was constructed between 432 and 440 to accommodate the chains, which were used to tie Saint Peter when he was in prison in Jerusalem. Legend has it that the Empress Eudoxia gave the chains to Pope Leo I who already had St Peter’s chains from his imprisonment in Rome and when he looked at them both they allegedly fused together.
Over the centuries the building has undergone many alterations; in 1475 the front portico was added by Baccio Pontelli and the 15th-century cloister by Guiliano da Sangallo. Inside there is a nave with an elaborate 18th Century ceiling with a fresco, the Miracle of the Chains by Giovanni Battista Parodi. Additionally there are two aisles and three apses, which are divided by old Doric pillars. Michelangelo
’s Moses was a centre piece commissioned in the 16th Century for Pope Julius II’s funeral. The statue of Moses has horns because the Hebrew word for beams of light also means horns. This kind of interpretation in religious iconography was common at this time. Other works of art in the church include both of Guercino’s paintings of St Augustine and St Margret, Domenichino’s memorial to Cardinal Girolamo Agucchi and his 17th Century fresco of the Liberation of St Peer, Pomarancio’s Deposition and Andrea Bregno’s relief entitled Cardinal Nicholas before St Peter.
Name: Church of St Peter in Chains
Address: Colle Oppio, Piazza San Pietro in Vincoli 4A
Phone: +39 06 488 28 65