Kathryn and I visited St. Peter’s Basilica several times during our trip to Rome. On Wednesday, we decided to climb to the cupola of the basilica. We were in need of a good workout, so we passed up the elevator and took the stairs.
I really wanted to get a series of photos of the verses inscribed around the interior of the cupola, but you’ll see in this photo that a pretty thick fence blocks the view. You can just make out the words Petrus et behind Kathryn.
I was able to get a good shot of a small section by sticking my lens right against the mesh. You can make out the phrase dabo claves regni.
Here’s the full text of the verses, which I wrote down in my notebook as we walked around the inside of the dome.
Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam et tibi dabo claves regni caelorum.
My knowledge of Latin consists of a small part of one chapter from an introductory textbook, but here’s what I think it means in English.
You are Peter, and upon this rock I build my church, and to you I give the keys to the kingdom of heaven.
It appears to be a reference to Matthew 16:18-19. The verses seem quite appropriate in a place named for the first Pope.