Today in Catholic History – The Opening of the Sistine Chapel

On 9 August 1483, vespers were celebrated in the Sistine Chapel by Pope Sixtus IV, whose name would become associated with the chapel. One week later on the 15th of August, Pope Sixtus IV celebrated the first Mass in the chapel on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Sixtus IV restored and dedicated the chapel to the Assumption. The restored chapel was intended for private liturgies of the pope and included artwork by Pietro Perugino, Sandro Botticelli, and Domenico Ghirlandaio. The original chapel had existed since 1368 and had fallen into ruin.

It is in the Sistine Chapel that the conclaves for the elections of new popes take place. Other important religious services also take place here.

While the chapel is perhaps best known for Michelangelo’s paintings, these only appeared in 1512 during the papacy of Julius II.


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