The Shrine of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo (Italy) and the New Church dedicated to Saint Pio of Pietrelcina
Things to see where Padre Pio lived – Where is Padre Pio – What to see at Shrine of Padre Pio
The Shrine of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo (Italy)
The Shrine of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo (southern Italy) covers an area of nearly 65,000 square feet. It seats up to 6,000 people, with standing room for another 10,000. The Shrine of Padre Pio was designed by the renowned Italian designer Renzo Piano. It is considered one of the most significant examples of modern architecture. The material used to build the church came exclusively from areas where Padre Pio had lived, such as stone from Apricena (Italy) . The entire Shrine of Padre Pio rests on a central pillar and a series of arches. Padre Pio’s casket, with his body, is nestled at the base of the pillar. It’s said that weather conditions had to be just right for 4 days in a row to be able to construct the cement central. They waited for this to happen, but many days passed without them finding the right conditions. So they decided to start anyway. It was February 11th, 1998, in the middle of winter, with very cold temperatures. Everyone was extremely worried. When they began to fill the pillar with cement, the weather became inexplicably mild. When that project was complete, the weather turned cold again.
The Churchyard at the Shrine of Padre Pio – Outside the Shrine of Saint Pio are 24 olive trees which represent Christ’s 12 prophets and 12 apostles. Also located outside is a fountain which represents the Jordan River (where Jesus was baptized). The fountain was designed so that the flowing water makes a special sound.
The bell tower and the cross of Shrine – The bell tower of the Shrine of Saint Pio has eight majestic bells designed by “Pontificia Fonderia Marinelli” in Agnone (Italy). Each bell is dedicated to a saint from the Order of Franciscan Friars. Next to the bells stand eight stone eagles shaped by the sculptor Mario Rossello. The cross of the Shrine of Saint Pio, which stands above the whole area, was designed by Renzo Piano.
The Church-Shrine of Padre Pio – The main church is divided in three areas: the liturgical hall, the chapel of the eucharist, and the sacristy. This space is bordered by 22 bearing arches that stem from the central pillar. Right where the arches begin is the altar, which was built by the artist Arnaldo Pomodoro. The pulpit, designed by the artist Giuliano Vangi di Pietrasanta, was formed from a single block of smooth stone and displays a representation of the resurrection. It represents the “journey” of the word which left Nicodemus to go to Mary Magdalene, bearing the news of the risen Christ. A magnificent organ, with 5,800 pipes, was made by hand by the craftsmen of “Pinchi di Foligno”. It is located on the left hand side of the church.
The Chapel of the Holiest Sacrament – The Chapel of the Holiest Sacrament is located on the side of the liturgical hall. Inside it is the tabernacle, designed by the artist Floriano Bodino. It was sculpted from a single 4 ½ ton block of lava rock from the Etna volcano (Sicily). The chapel was painted in frescoes by Suor Elisa Aletti with the theme of resurrection. It also reflects elements from Padre Pio’s life as well as elements from the Canticle of the Sun, from the Franciscan tradition.
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