January 13, 2019 – A View from the Rectory Window

The Obelisk in St Peter’s Square

In St. Peter’s Square, in Rome, there stands an ancient Egyptian obelisk – a single block of granite in the shape of the Washington monument, almost 100 feet high and weighing 330 tons.

  • It is the oldest obelisk in Rome, dating from about 2500 BC.
  • At that time it had been erected as a monument to the Pharaoh, and it watched over two thousand years of Egyptian history – the longest reigning empire in history.
  • It stood there when Abraham was called, when Joseph was viceroy of Egypt, when Moses led his people out of Egypt.

At the time of Christ, soon after these Magi came to worship him, the Roman Emperor Caligula brought it to Rome as a sign of Rome’s superiority to conquered Egypt.

  • There it stood for four more centuries, a symbol of the Roman Empire, the largest empire in human history.
  • A golden urn with Julius Caesar’s ashes was placed on it.
  • It stood in the arena where St. Peter himself was martyred, along with hundreds of other early Christians.
  • Then the barbarians invaded Rome, and in the Middle Ages it fell.
  • Ivy grew around it. It was half-buried near the old Basilica.

The Church converted the barbarians, and when a new Christian culture emerged and flourished, and St. Peter’s Basilica was rebuilt and expanded, Pope Sixtus V had the obelisk re-erected in 1585 AD. in the center of the plaza.

  • No longer is it a reminder of the long-perished empires of Egypt, Rome and the barbarian hoards.
  • Now it is topped with a bronze cross, and inside that bronze cross is a small fragment of the true cross, the cross on which Christ, conquering his Kingdom, was crucified.
  • Now it serves the universal Kingdom that will have no end, the Kingdom of Jesus.