Ancient 4 Major Basilicas of Rome Tour Description
Previously known as the Holy Doors Tour during the Jubilee Year of Mercy, with the closing of the Holy Doors, this tour is now the tour of the Four Ancient Papal Major Basilicas of Rome.
Despite the end of the Holy Year, many of the points that Pope Francis made in his opening Bull are still applicable. The Pope said that
“the practice of pilgrimage has a special place ... because it represents the journey each of us makes in this life. Life itself is a pilgrimage, and the human being is a ‘viator’, a pilgrim travelling along the road, making their way to the desired destination....May pilgrimage be an impetus to conversion: by crossing the threshold of the 4 Papal Basilicas, we will find the strength to embrace God’s mercy and dedicate ourselves to being merciful with others as the Father has been with us...”
It is fitting therefore, that our Holy Mother the Church, has always attached indulgences to pilgrims who visit the 4 Major Papal Basilicas of Rome in order to help and encourage the faithful to participate ever more deeply in the love of God.
Begun in the year 1300 by Pope Boniface VIII, the Church has encouraged pilgrims to come to the four most important churches in Christendom - the Major Basilicas - and to enter into them through their holy doors.
There are only 4 Major Basilicas in the world - the highest ranking of all churches - and they are all in Rome. The highest rank of all of these is the Arch-Basilica of St John Lateran - the Cathedral of Rome - and thus the Mother Church of the entire world.
Following in the steps of countless saints and pilgrims for centuries and millenia before you, we give you the chance to visit the official Four Papal Major Basilicas of Rome and dispose yourselves towards the receipt of the attached indulgences.
The Ancient Four Major Basilicas of Rome are the Basilica of St Peter, the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, the Basilica of St Mary Major and the Arch-Basilica of St John Lateran.
Pilgrims booked with us on this tour will have the chance to enter into each of these Papal Basilicas with an expert guide.
Our tour begins at the Vatican with the Basilica of St Peter. As this is also the location of the magnificent Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, we offer pilgrims an additional add-on to visit these wonders before the Basilica of St Peter. If pilgrims choose this option, then the total Four Papal Basilicas tour will have a duration of 6.5 - 7 hours and will begin at 9am. If however, pilgrims prefer to dispense with the Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel, then the tour will begin at 9am, and have a duration of 4.5 hours.
Once you have entered into St Peters, our expert Catholic guide will give you a tour of the interior of the Basilica including Michelangelo's Pietà, the relics and altars of the major saints of the Catholic Church and the history involved and of course the body of St Peter buried underneath the High Altar here.
After the Basilica of St Peter, pilgrims are then transported by air conditioned car to the Basilica of St Paul outside the Walls where the remains of the great Apostle of the Gentiles, St Paul, are to this day. Pilgrims will see the chains that bound St Paul during his incarceration and house arrest here in Rome before also viewing his newly excavated Sarcophagus before being given a tour of the rest of this ancient Theodosian Basilica.
From there, the group is once again transported by private car to the Arch-Basilica of St John Lateran (San Giovanni) - the Cathedral of Rome. Here, you will again receive a detailed tour of the interior and its history including the story of the ancient mosaics, and stand before the heads of Sts Peter & Paul, brought into the Basilica and placed above the altar in the year 1300.
Finally, you will once more board your private transport and continue on to the ancient Basilica of St Mary Major (Santa Maria Maggiore) - perhaps the eldest church dedicated to Mary in Rome, but certainly the most important - to once more marvel at it's golden interior and learn all about the fascinating features including the different popes buried here, the relics of the crib of the nativity of Christ, the miraculous icon of Salus Populi Romani and countless other stunning features.
The Four Major Basilicas now completed, you can count yourself as one of the few who have managed to keep this ancient pilgrimage practice - to visit the 4 most important churches in Christendom.
This is truly a once in a lifetime experience for you to plug into the life of the Church and experience what countless saints have experienced through the years. Pilgrims are advised to book quickly below to avoid disappointment. Spaces are limited.