San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro

Pavia, Italy

San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro (Italian for 'Saint Peter in Golden Sky') name refers to the mosaics of gold leaf behind glass tesserae that decorates the ceiling of the apse. 

A church of Saint Peter is recorded in Pavia in 604; it was renovated by Liutprand, King of the Lombards (who is buried here) between 720 and 725. The present Romanesque church was consecrated by Pope Innocent II in 1132.

The church is the resting place for the remains of Augustine of Hippo, who died in 430 in his home diocese of Hippo Regius, and was buried in the cathedral there, during the time of the Vandals. According to Bede's True Martyrology, the body was removed to Cagliari, Sardinia by the Catholic bishops whom the Arian Vandal Huneric had expelled from north Africa. Bede tells that the remains were subsequently redeemed out of the hands of the Saracens there—by Peter, bishop of Pavia and uncle of the Lombard king Liutprand—and deposited in the church of Saint Peter about the year 720.

In January 1327 Pope John XXII issued the papal bull Veneranda Santorum Patrum, in which he appointed the Augustinians guardians of the tomb of Augustine (the Arca di Sant'Agostino), which was remade in 1362 and elaborately carved with bas-reliefs of scenes from Augustine's life. The actual remains of Augustine, however, were no longer identified. Then, on October 1, 1695, illiterate stonemasons working in the crypt altar removed paving blocks and discovered a marble box. Within it were other boxes; in the third box were fragments of wood, numerous bones and bone fragments, and glass vials. Some of the workers later claimed to have seen the name 'Augustine' written in charcoal on the top of the box. A factor complicating the authentication of the remains was that San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro was shared by the two Augustinian religious orders in bitter rivalry. The controversy on the authenticity of the bones resulted in broadsides, pamphlets and books. In 1728, Pope Benedict XIII's intervention in Pavia resulted in his approval of the authenticity of Augustine's bones discovered in the church of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro.

The Augustinians were expelled in 1700, taking refuge in Milan with the relics of Augustine, and the disassembled Arca, which were removed to the cathedral there. The erstwhile cathedral in Pavia fell into disrepair; it was a military magazine under the Napoleonic occupation. It was not reconstructed until the 1870s, under the urging of Agostino Gaetano Riboldi, later Cardinal Riboldi, and reconsecrated in 1896 when the relics of Augustine and the shrine were once again reinstalled.



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Founded: 1132
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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User Reviews

Stefano Bianchini (18 months ago)
Ancient and beautiful church
Albert King (2 years ago)
Great, if you can find it!
Brian Thome (2 years ago)
Nice facade (Lombard). Located in a quiet neighborhood next to a pleasant little park/piazza. Inside there is a beautiful 14th century funeral monument to St Augustine. Yes, the "Doctor of the Church" and "City of God" St Augustine. Legend has it that his bones are located under the monument (the usual skepticism is warranted with these sorts of claims). Still, the faithful make pilgrimage to this Church so it was, given it's location, rather crowded. In and out in 25 minutes. Free.
Les Le (2 years ago)
PLEASE DO NOT HIT LIKE. Along with FAITH and LOVE, HOPE is a gift of Grace that God had given us to be merciful in patience with preparation work for the salvation of eternal life in union with God. Who as, Who is, and One’s Who is to come. Remember, he desired the merciful and not the sacrifice … The Glorious HOPE Mysteries. Part 1. E: (PRAY on Friday or Saturday) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ E. HOPE of God: A. Meditation: The Truth Works of repentant and true Prayer from soul. Seven Sacraments: Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Anointing of the sick, Marriage, Holy orders. Seven Gifts of Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Knowledge, Fortitude, Piety/(Reverent), Fear of the Lord. Acts of Mercy: Corporal Acts of Mercy: To feed the hungry, To give drink to the thirsty, To clothe the naked, To shelter the homeless, To visit the sick, To visit the imprisoned, or ransom the captive, To bury the dead. Spiritual Acts of Mercy: To instruct the ignorant, To counsel the doubtful, To admonish sinners, To bear patiently those who wrong us, To forgive offenses, To console the afflicted, To pray for the living and the dead. Seven Virtues: Theological Virtues: FAITH, HOPE, LOVE (Charity) Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance. B. Pray One Our Father. C. Pray the following; 1. Act of Hope: O my God, relying on Thy Almighty power, infinite mercy, and promises. I HOPE to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy Grace with Your Holy Spirit, and Life Everlasting through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer to glorify Your Name Father. Amen. 2. “Oh! My Jesus. Forgive us our sins. Save us from the fire of hell. Please leads all souls to heaven and help especially those in needed of your mercy." (The Fatima) - Dedicated to St. Augustine of Hippo...
obumselu victor (2 years ago)
This is the church which hold the relics of st. Augustine. The hermit Augustinians and the Augustinian canons lived together in this location. But today the hermits (Augustinian friars) live here and Run this august pilgrimage site. Though an old church which was devastated by more than one earthquakes, it still retains its frescos and identity. The tomb of Augustine at the main alter is a sight to behold and a place to pray. Happy visit.
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