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Bernini was also responsible for decorating parts of St. Peter's basilica, as well as the design for its signature piazza. In order to make St. Peter's the greatest church in Christendom, Bernini had to make sure that the relics of St. Peter's were given their proper due. At the time of his decorating, relics played an important role in the Christian faith. Just like Mary's relic in Chartres, the relics at St. Peter's helped people better connect with the spiritual realm. Understanding this, Bernini designed an elaborate baldacchino, which served to shelter the relics of St. Peter and the bishop's throne. The dictionary entry for baldacchino says they are derived "from those held over the Eastern emperors as a symbol of power." With this in mind, it explains why Bernini's baldacchino is so elaborate - the Church is the ultimate moral authority on Earth and it should have a covering even grander than the emperors of antiquity. Through the baldacchino, one can see all the way to the altar, where a magnificent window with the Holy Spirit shines. Those who see the baldacchino would have been in awe, as it reveals that the reason the Church is so powerful is because it has the power of God behind it. Besides the baldacchino, Bernini also designed two other significant pieces which add to one's spiritual understanding at St. Peter's: the "Cathedra of St. Peter," and the tomb of Pope Alexander VII. The former is an altarpiece featuring a large golden throne held up by fathers of the church. The throne, said to contain a chair used by Peter himself (though later proved false) is surrounded by golden sculpted rays and the window of the Holy Spirit. It signals to worshippers, like the baldacchino, that Peter himself has the power of God behind him. Similarly, the Tomb of Alexander VII reminds us that our time on Earth belongs to God. The pope sits in a prayerful position, surrounded by truth and other virtues. But a skeleton, partially covered by the baroque folds, is reaching up to the pope with an hourglass to indicate that his time is up. Since our time on Earth is limited, it is best that we follow the example of men like the pope, who have the virtues on his side. Finally we come to the Cornaro Chapel of Santa Maria della Vittoria, which features Bernini's famous sculpture, St. Teresa in Ecstasy. It depicts St. Teresa in her moment of heavenly bliss, while an angel stabs an arrow through her heart. Members of the Cornaro family look on from the sidelines. This chapel, like Sant'Andrea al Quirinale, marries multiple forms of artwork together to create a unified spiritual message. Most important to the message are the words carved in the arches above the chapel. Jesus tells Teresa that if he had not created heaven, he would have made it for her. This message of deep love helps to explain the sculpture below. Teresa is floating on a cloud as the angel pierces her - her robes limp around her body. Golden, sculpted rays burst out from the background. Bernini has sculpted Teresa's face in such a way that the viewer seems pulled into this moment of ecstasy. Cleverly, Bernini has placed a hidden window above the sculpture, so light filters in, further highlighting the golden rays and Teresa herself. The entire dramatic piece allows one to understand what it feels like to be loved by God so unconditionally - and a sense of what it means to experience true joy. (It is no wonder why the church is a popular wedding destination!). The Churches of Ravenna: The Communion of Saints The churches of San Vitale and Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo both share a similar message about communing with Jesus. In San Vitale, the marvelous apse shows a beardless Jesus flanked by angels. But more important are the images on the side walls. On either side of Jesus are images of Emperor Justinian and his wife, Empress Theodora, accompanied by their retinues. Above these images are mosaics of others giving thanks, including Abel and Melchizedek. Such images reveal the constant celebration of giving thanks to Jesus>GET ANSWER