tomb of Pope Alexander VII at St. Peter’s Basilica

Pope St. Alexander VII reigned as pope between the years 1655 – 1667.  His tomb is special because it does not show him giving a blessing or being extravagant.  He is praying in the moment of his death.  We can see that he is in the moment of his death because the statue is halfway into the dome that represents heaven by the silver and gold it is decorated with.  We can also tell that Pope Alexander VII is portrayed at the moment of his death from the fallen curtain.  The curtain of this world no longer stands between him and the Creator.

Surrounding the monument, are four women representing four virtues.  Starting from the left front and proceeding clockwise, these virtues are charity, modesty, prudence, and faith.  Charity, as you can see in the photo above, is usually depicted as a mother holding a child, and faith is holding the sun of truth.  Between these two virtues, faith and charity, in the front, there is also a skeleton.  This skeleton represents death.  His face is hidden to remind us that we do not know how we will die.  Death also holds an hourglass to remind us that our time on earth is limited.

Resource: our Virtual Pilgrimage to St. Peter’s Basilica part 2 (watch on YouTube here)