On September 10, 2020, the Our Lady of Peace basilica in Yamoussoukro, capital of the Ivory Coast, celebrated 30 years of its consecration by Pope John Paul II. The celebrations of this jubilee, planned for the whole of 2020, have been postponed to 2021, due to the pandemic.
However, a thanksgiving mass was celebrated by the apostolic administrator of the diocese of Yamoussoukro, reports Fides, the agency for Pontifical Mission Societies.
Built from 1986 to 1989 on the model of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro is the largest Catholic religious building in the world. However, its dome, in accordance with the will of the Pope, is lower than that of St. Peter’s. 150 meters wide, it can accommodate 18,000 faithful inside, and 30,000 on its square which is circumscribed by 84 Doric columns. In 2019, nearly 300,000 tourists and pilgrims visited.
Fr. Franck Allatin, rector of the basilica, confided that after 30 years of existence, “the basilica has shown the weight of years and it will be necessary to think about its renovation.” This will be done gradually, starting with the most important aspects, such as attending to the impermeability of the building and the adjoining buildings, he said.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro is built on an area of 130 hectares, with a volume of earth moving of 800,000 m3. It was funded by Félix Houphouët-Boigny (1905-1993), the first President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire. Its pastoral management is entrusted to the Fathers of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (S.A.C.), called the Pallottine Fathers, named after the founder St. Vincent Pallotti.