Vatican prepares to celebrate 500th birthday of St. Peter’s Basilica

.- Officials at the Vatican are preparing to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the largest church in the Christian world--St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Holy See announced today that a press conference will be held on April 20th to present plans for official celebrations marking the fifth centenary.

The basilica, which covers an area of 5.7 acres, was completed in 1626. The tomb of St. Peter himself rests underneath the main altar.

Scheduled to be on hand for the press conference are Cardinals Francesco Marchisano, archpriest of the Vatican Basilica, and Albert Vanhoye S.J., rector emeritus of the Pontifical Biblical College.

Also present will be Archbishop Angelo Comastri and Bishop Vittorio Lanzani, respectively president and delegate of the Fabric of St. Peter's; Antonio Paolucci, superintendent of the Florentine Museums and curator of the exhibition, "Petros Eni;" as well as Maria Cristina Carlo-Stella, bureau chief at the Fabric of St. Peter's.

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