There’s more to this photo than just a pretty picture. The bridge pictured is on the Tiber River in Rome, Italy.
The Tiber runs through Rome and separates classical Rome’s Colosseum, Forum, Parthenon, Circus Maximus and Imperial Palace on the east from St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Peter’s Square the Sistine Chapel and Vatican City on the west.
The geography of the east was the site where Christians were persecuted, martyred, tortured, fed to lions and burned as evening light and is traditionally held to be the place where Saint Peter was crucified upside down. Speaking of that, the reason there is an upside down cross on St. Peter’s chair is not some secret symbol that the Catholic church is Satanic as many claim. It is because St. Peter WAS crucified upside down when he was martyred. He requested to be upside down because he didn’t count himself worthy to be crucified in the same way as Jesus.
In contrast, the geography to the west is the site of the largest Christian basilica in the world and where Saint Peter is buried. And so, it has been suggested that “crossing the Tiber “can be a metaphor for pagans crossing from paganism to Christianity through the waters of baptism.
“Crossing the Tiber” is also lingo for converting to Catholicism. Converts will often refer to being on the “Tiber Swim Team” . The phrase likely is a variation of “Crossing the Rubicon” which is a phrase used for “no turning back”.
The bridge in the picture also captured my attention since this blog is dedicating to bridging the divide between Protestant and Catholic Christians. Schmaltzy, I know. But it works, right?
Tiber Swim Team 2014