Another Visit to the Apostolic Palace

This afternoon I visited another chapel of the Apostolic Palace (see my previous chapel visit here – and also an earlier palace visit here).

This one is the Pauline Chapel and it was constructed from 1538-1540. Michelangelo then painted some of the main frescoes in it.

This chapel, which is located on the other side of the great hall called the Sala Regia from the Sistine Chapel, is where the newly-elected Pope goes to pray after he has accepted his election and before he goes out onto the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to greet the crowds.

Pope Benedict XVI had this chapel restored. The Vatican now has a virtual tour of it online.

Here is the view towards the sanctuary:

The lighting is great in person (I think maybe it's LED or halogen), but it doesn't work as well with cameras.

The lighting is great in person (I think maybe it’s LED or halogen), but it doesn’t work as well with cameras. Above the altar is a beautiful painting (not by Michelangelo) of the Transfiguration.

On either side of the sanctuary are very old tapestries (which have also been restored). This one, on the right side, depicts Pentecost, very relevant since we just celebrated that feast in the past week:

The Vatican has a workshop that specializes in the restoration of tapestries. It's near the papal blessing office.

The Vatican has a workshop that specializes in the restoration of tapestries. It’s near the papal blessing office.

On either side of the nave (main seating area), there are large frescoes painted by Michelangelo. This one, on the right side, depicts the crucifixion of St. Peter:

...which took place just on the other side of St. Peter's Basilica from the spot where this fresco is being viewed.

…which took place just on the other side of St. Peter’s Basilica from the spot where this fresco is being viewed.

On the other side, there is this fresco of the conversion of St. Paul:

...which is the patronal feast of this chapel (January 25).

…which is the patronal feast of this chapel (January 25).

Always look up in an Italian church:

I'm not sure what event the central panel depicts. I suspect it would be "the glorification of St. Paul".

I’m not sure what event the central panel depicts. I suspect it would be “the glorification of St. Paul”.

Leaving the chapel, I got to pass through the great Sala Regia:

There were no lights on and the light coming through the windows cast an interesting color over everything. This hall is very difficult to photograph because of the way the windows are.

There were no lights on and the light coming through the windows cast an interesting color over everything. This hall is very difficult to photograph because of the way the windows are.

In order to avoid the crowds streaming out of the Sistine Chapel (which we had to wade through to get to the Sala Regia on our way in), the Swiss Guard took us out by way of the Cortile San Damaso – the San Damasus Courtyard. This is the central courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, from which there is an elevator that goes up to the historic (not currently occupied) papal apartments. This is the courtyard where heads of state (like Obama) are often received before going up to meet with the Pope in his library.

Maybe one would expect a courtyard in the Apostolic Palace to be fancier. It's really simple!

Maybe one would expect a courtyard in the Apostolic Palace to be fancier. It’s really simple!

The Blessed Sacrament was reserved in the tabernacle, so I knelt for a few moments of prayer, and prayed in a special way for all the people of the Diocese of Birmingham, since our diocese is dedicated to St. Paul.

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