Joyce's Photos of Rome

Rome has been a major world city for centuries. Since the late second century, it has made claims of prominence over Christianity. The largest professing Christian church is headquartered within Rome.

We have been to Rome numerous times. Our first visit was in 1989 and the most recent in 2014.

The following links are to photographs taken and/or directed by Joyce Thiel in 1987/1990/2004/2009/2010/2013/2014 (note: many are photos of slides we took). All materials are copyrighted and all photographs are copyrighted by Joyce Thiel (c) 2006,2009/2010/2013/2014 All Rights Reserved:

Coliseum of Rome The first time I saw this, it really hit me that I was in a historical area. The inside photo shows that the floors have basically deteriorated.

Outside of St. John's Lateran Palace. Sometimes known as the Batican, this is where many of the popes were prior to the current location in the Vatican. The Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano (Basilica of St. John Lateran) is the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome that contains the Cathedra Romana (papal throne). 

Cathedra Romana (papal throne). While many assume that the papal throne, the so-called Cathedra Romana, is in the Vatican, the Pope's throne is located in the apse of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, his cathedral as Bishop of Rome.

Inscription on the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano. It contains an inscription that translated into English means, “Sacred Lateran Church Mother and Head of All Churches of the City and the World” (cf. Revelation 17:5).  While spiritual Babylon is the mother of all the churches of the world, according to the Bible it is not the mother of the Church of God.  The Church of God did not come out of Rome and hence are not among the unfaithful daughters.

"Satan's Throne" Believe it or not, in 1987 I (and dozens of others) was told by a Worldwide Church of God minister that Joseph Tkach, Sr. stated that he felt that this was Satan's throne. This particular throne is black and the bottom of its legs is at least 5 feet off of the ground (the first time I saw it you could go up to it--the last time, in 2010--the area was roped off at least 50 feet). Despite odd claims (like one I saw at Wikipedia concerning Peter) no one allegedly has ever sat in it. Some believe that the final pope on Malachy's list, Peter the Roman, will sit on it (some consider that he will be an antipope, and thus a henchman for Satan).

Inside St. Peter's Basilica This shows the inside of this famous Roman Catholic Church. Roman Catholics believe that Peter the Apostle is buried within this building--others hold a different view (one other Simon has been proposed as having been buried here).

Pantheon of Rome The ancient Romans worshipped a variety of Gods, and they built this building to honor them. After Roman Catholicism became dominant, this building was converted to honor various "saints".

Vatican Square This is a view of the inside of the Vatican walls. Essentially this is what one sees after entering Vatican City.

St. Peter's Basilica This is the front view of the outside of the basilica.

Keys at St. Peter's Basilica. This in a tile mosaic on the floor of St. Peter's Basilica. It is claimed to represent the keys that Jesus gave to the apostles (an article of related interest may be Was Peter the Rock Who Alone Received the Keys of the Kingdom?).

Statue of "Peter" This dark bronze statue used to be lower down and people used to kiss of the large toes (we saw this our first visit). It was kissed so much that the metal wore away so much that that particular toe now is blended in with the rest of the foot. Perhaps for reasons of sanitation, the Romans raised this statue to prevent kissing it. Now, visitors touch the toe instead of kiss it. Some have claimed that this actually is a statue of Juno and not Peter. It is my understanding that if it is Juno, this statue was made after the time of Christ. No one knows what Peter actually looked like and it is not likely that he looked as portrayed by this statue.

Pope Boniface VIII This is the outside of the casket of Pope Boniface VIII. He was the bishop of Rome from 1294-1303. St. Peter's basilica is full of the bodies of dead Roman bishops.

Vatican Square from Above This is a photo of Vatican Square taken from the top of one of the tallest buildings in the Vatican. Some have suggested that the design of this square was intended to resemble the form of a female, with the obelisk representing a male presence. And while that appears to be true, from this particular angle it is now obvious.

Vatican Building This appears to be the main business building in the Vatican. Regular visitors are not allowed to go to it. This photo was taken from the top of one of the other Vatican buildings.

Pope John Paul II This is a photo Joyce took of John Paul II in May 2004. He died the next year.

Sistine Chapel Ceiling This is a photo of some of the art on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. As you are no longer allowed to take photos of the section that Michelangelo painted with "God" touching Adam, we of course complied with Vatican rules. Thus, this is a photo of a different section.

Joyce and David at Trevi Fountain. Joyce Thiel, with our youngest son David, at the famous Trevi Fountain in Rome, in 2010.

Jewish Ghetto These two photos are of the old Jewish Ghetto of Rome. Jewish people still live near this area.

Rome is indirectly mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

It is interesting to note that the Roman Catholic Church does believe that there are references in John's writings to Rome, and that they are negative. Specifically, John warned about Babylon throughout the Book of Revelation, called the Book of the Apocalypse in Roman Catholic writings. Here is some of what John wrote:

4. And the woman was clothed round about with purple and scarlet, and gilded with gold, and precious stone, and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand, full of the abominations and filthiness of her fornication.
5. And in her forehead a name written, "Mystery": Babylon the great, mother of the fornications and the abominations of the earth.
6. And I saw the woman drunken of the blood of the Saints, and of the blood of the martyrs of JESUS. And I marveled when I had seen her, with great admiration.
7. And the Angel said to me, Why doest thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and the ten horns.
8. The beast which thou sawest, was, and is not, and shall come up out of the bottomless depth, and go into destruction: and the inhabitants on the earth (whose names are not written in the book of life from the making of the world) shall marvel, seeing the beast that was, and is not.
9. And here is understanding, that hath wisdom. The seven heads: are seven hills, upon which the woman sitteth, and they are seven kings (Apocalypse 17:4-9, Rheims New Testament of 1582 A.D.).

Of course, Rome is the most famous city of seven hills in the entire earth. And John is writing that this woman has some influence over worldly kings.

Catholic scholars teach:

"The Church that is in Babylon saluteth you, and so doth my son Mark" (1 Peter 5:13). That Babylon stands for Rome, as usual amongst pious Jews, and not for the real Babylon, then without Christians, is admitted by common consent (cf. F.J.A. Hort, "Judaistic Christianity", London, 1895, 155) (Wilhelm J. Transcribed by Donald J. Boon. Apostolic Succession. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume I. Copyright © 1907 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Nor must we look for order in the Apocalypse; but we must follow the meaning of those things which are prophesied. Therefore in the trumpets and phials is signified either the desolation of the plagues that are sent upon the earth, or the madness of Antichrist himself, or the cutting off of the peoples, or the diversity of the plagues, or the hope in the kingdom of the saints, or the ruin of states, or the great overthrow of Babylon, that is, the Roman state (Victorinus. Commentary on the Apocalypse, Chapter 7, Verse 8. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 7. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

The author of the Commentaries upon the Apocalypse set forth in St. Ambrose name, writeth thus: This...sometime signifieth Rome, specially which at that time when the Apostle wrote this, did persecute the Church of God. But otherwise it signifieth the whole city of the Devil, that is, the universal corps of the reprobate. Tertullian also taketh it for Rome, thus, Babylon (saith he) in St. John is a figure of the city of Rome, being so great, so proud of the Empire, and the destroyer of the saints. Which is plainly spoken of that city, when it was heathen, the head of the terrene dominion of the world, the persecutor of the Apostles and their successors, the seat of Nero, Domitian, and the like, Christ's special enemies, the sink of idolatry, and false worship of the Pagan gods (Annotations on Chapter 17 of the Apocalypse. The Original And True Rheims New Testament Of Anno Domini 1582. Prepared and Edited by Dr. William G. von Peters. Ph.D. 2004, copyright assigned to VSC Corp. Page 583).

So while in Peter's writings, the Roman Catholics suggest that Babylon is the church in Rome, in John's they prefer to believe that John is only referring to the Roman state or those that are reprobate (Victorinus, who may have died in 303 A.D. is considered a "Church Father" by Roman Catholics). However, it appears clear that even the Catholics admit that John is referring to a reprobate church (he used the analogy of a woman) as Babylon. A reprobate church would seem to be one that incorporates non-biblical practices (such as certain traditions) as superior to biblical ones.

But irrespective of these passages, John (the last living original apostle) never writes anything positive about Rome nor the church there.

More information about Rome can be found in the articles Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Church of God?, What Does Rome Actually Teach About Early Church History and Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome.

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