Obelisk in St. Peter's Square

Hey all,

Just heard a guy on a Protestant radio show making false statements about Catholicism (what’s new?).

But one thing caught my attention was the obelisk in St. Peter’s sqaure. According to this guy it was moved there from Egypt by the Catholic Church as a sign that we were merging with paganism. Now I know that’s not the case. But I had heard that it was moved from the Coloseum to St. Peter’s square because 1) it was the last thing so many martyrs would have see, including St. Peter and 2) as a sign that we had defeated the Roman Empire by martyrdom and not by war.

I know I could go on an explaination of “just because the pagans used it, doesn’t mean we can’t too”, but I’m curious about the history and reason the obelisk was moved to St. Peter’s square and put in the center.

God Bless, :signofcross:
Poor Knight for Christ and His Church

Well, if I had spelled “obelisk” right when I searched the forums I would have found this thread: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=181828

No need to follow up.

Thanks all,
God Bless, :signofcross:

Wikipedia’s information on the obelisk’s history conforms with your recollection.

You may also find this Fransican account useful, as well as general history of the formation of the Basilica from the Catholic Encyclopedia that includes some additional info about the obelisk.

At the center of the ovato tondo stands an Egyptian obelisk of red granite, 25.5 metres tall, supported on bronze lions and surmounted by the Chigi arms in bronze, in all 41 metres to the cross on its top. The obelisk was originally erected at Heliopolis, Egypt, by an unknown pharaoh of the Fifth dynasty of Egypt (c. 2494 BC – 2345 BC). During its history of c. 4400 years (at the start of the 2010s), the obelisk has been successfully moved three times.
upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/91/St._Peter%27s_Square_3.jpg/220px-St._Peter%27s_Square_3.jpg St. Peter’s Square obelisk

The Emperor Augustus (c. 63 BC – 14 AD) had the obelisk moved to the Julian Forum of Alexandria, where it stood until 37 AD, when Caligula ordered the forum demolished and the obelisk transferred to Rome. He had it placed on the spina which ran along the centre of the Circus of Nero, where it would preside over Nero’s countless brutal games and Christian executions. A Cross was placed atop the Obelisk in memory of those Christians.

It is a huge sundial.

It’s mind blowing to me that these amazing things were crafted in the first place, and even more mind boggling how many of them have been successfully moved and erected even multiple times over the years.

There must be an innate human response to them no matter the culture or faith. I have a dear departed friend who, like many, has one marking his grave, and the most obvious one in the states is the Washington Monument.

We also have an Egyptian obelisk that was transported to NYC.

Things like this are symptoms of some Protestants’ desire to do and say anything to try to discredit Catholicism. In doing so they really can stretch the point at times. Another example is that some Protestants will say ‘Catholics don’t believe in the resurrection’! Why? Because Catholics display crucifixes, therefore they claim Catholics believe Jesus is still on the cross. Ridiculous, but there are a lot of people who buy into notions like that. Because they want to, not because they ever stop to think.

I’m so glad you misspelled “obelisk.” The link gave me some fascinating reading.

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