I like it for a few reasons:
- It's in the back, left corner of the Basilica, a nice, quiet, out of the way place.
- I mean, c'mon, how great is it that this is you're saying Mass over Pope Leo's relics? He was the first Pope to be buried at St. Peter's Basilica. Before this, Pope were buried in a cemetery outside of town. In the previous Basilica he was under the porch. He was moved to his present location in 1606.
- The altarpiece is an excellent bas-relief sculpture of the meeting between Pope Leo and Attila the Hun. It was completed in the mid 1600s. I love Leo pointing up at the angry looking Sts. Peter and Paul, who look ready to pounce on Attila. To see a really good closeup of it, click this link to the Web Gallery of Art, then go to the bottom index, and click on the letter "A". In the list, click on Alessandro Algardi (the artist), then follow the links to the sculpture.
- If you're standing in front of the altar, about 7 yards away from the rail, look down. You'll see a slab of marble, under which is the tomb of Pope Leo XII (who died in 1829). The slab, which Leo placed there himself, has an inscription (which he wrote himself) that essentially says that he was the least of the Popes who were heirs to the name Leo.
Fogey Priests, when in Rome you need to say Mass at this altar (unless I'm there, then get out of my way!).