RevNeal Reports from Rome!
October 29, 2009

Greetings from "The Eternal City!" After four days of seeing many wonderful things I wanted to take a few moments to send my best to my dear friends at home and on the internet! I pray that all is well with each and every one of you; things have been going very well here, and I and my friends are all having a wonderful time!

How can I possibily condense such an incredible experinece -- four full days -- into just a few short paragraphs?! Obviously, I can't. These days have been a whirlwind of sights, sounds, smells, textures, tastes, feelings, and spiritual experiences that will linger in my mind and souls for many weeks to come. Even with all that I've seen on this stay in Rome, there's so much more to do and see that I could visit several more times and not even come remotely close to exhausting all the options available. And, I'm going to want to come back again in order to re-visit several places again -- especially the museums! -- and spend longer with the exhibits. There is simply so much art that one can abosrb in one day, and I felt like I was hitting overload each and every day long before I was done. Addiitonally, there were several places -- like the Mamertine Prison and the Church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme -- which were closed when I tried to enter them; I'll need to make a future visit to these sites at times when they'll be open.

Let's start with some selected photos of the Vatican (I took hundreds, but I'll save those for later):

St. Peter's Basilica is an amazing place ... it drawfs one and really impresses on the senses the true magesty of the Faith and of the history of the church. It was a joy having a private tour here, along with my "entourage" of several friends who were visiting with me. Even though I'm a Protestant Catholic (a United Methodist Anglo-Catholic), this place hit me very hard.

Of course, I didn't spend all of my time at the Vatican. I also toured "Ancient Rome" ... the Colosseum and the Forum:

The very impresive Constantine Arch, which sits just to the side of the Colosseum.

And its smaller, and older, sibling ... the Titus Arch.

The Titus Arch is incredibly important because it commemorates the victory of the Romans over the Judean Rebellion in 70 AD.

The Titus Arch sits at the high point of the Forum, and from here you walk down to the base of Capitoline Hill. It's not an easy walk; it has uneven paving stones which are difficult to negotiate ... many of which were so ancient they've been there since the days of Julius Caesar. Along the way we saw many wonderful ruins of Roman buildings, temples, and converted Churches.

In this photo, taken from the Capitoline Hill Museum, you can grasp an overview of the entire Forum, with the Arch of Septimus Severus on the left and the pillars of the Temple of Saturn in the foreground.

In the Capitoline Hill Museums we saw some wonderful artwork from the history of Rome, including one of my favorites:

We also visited the historic St. Paul's Outside the Walls, the site where St. Paul the Apostle is burried:

Bellow is the St. Paul shrine, with the top of his tomb behind the grid beneath the High Altar. In the lit box is part of the chain that held St. Paul prior to his beheading.

We also visited St. Peter in Chains, which is the church dedcated to the chains that held Peter in his imprisonment prior to his crucifixition. I'll offer more pictures from here when I put up full galleries.

And we visited the Pantheon! I'll only offer one photo from there ... more will be posted when I put up a gallery:

We visited St. John Lateran, which was the first home of the Popes in Rome from 318 through through 13th Century.

Below is the oldest continuously used baptismal in Rome and, probably, in Christendom. The church that contians it (see the next photo) dates to the 300s and was built at the direction of the Emperor Constantine.


Rome is incredible, and I could post two-dozen more photos on each of the places we visited and not exhaust the wonder of the sights we saw.

Next, we transfer to Civitavecchia on Saturday and board the wonderful and glorious Rotterdam!

Click Here for Photos from my Rotterdam Cruise

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