The alleged remains of Saint Peter, the first pope, were shown, for the first time, to the public by the Vatican on Sunday. The bone fragments, which are usually held in the chapel of the Vatican papal apartment, were declared as probably belonging to Peter by Pope Paul VI back in 1968, although numerous researchers have disputed such a claim.
Pope Francis gave a slight bow, and waved incense above the bronze chest holding the remains, before a Mass in St. Peter’s Square. It was to mark the ending of the Vatican’s one year celebration of the Christian faith. There were over thousands in attendance hoping to get a glimpse of the casket.
After the Mass, which was outdoors was over, Francis held on to the casket for a few minutes with his head bowed and eyes closed, seemingly in prayer.
As to the remains, many sources state that after numerous years of study, it has become apparent the bones are made up from at least three different people and several animals. By bringing out the bone pieces, it will no doubt restart the debate on whether the remains are truly those of Saint Peter or not.
The writer Bruno Bartoloni stated in one of his books that no Pope had ever allowed an extensive study. This is partly because there is a 1,000-year-old curse confirmed by apocalyptic and secret documents, which threatened those who disturbed the peace of Peter’s tomb with the most awful misfortune.
Regardless, one of the Vatican’s chief officials stated that it did not matter even if archaeologists conclusively determined that the bones were not of Saint Peter, it did not matter. Christians have traveled to Peter’s tomb for two thousand years and would still do so. Saint Peter, who was one of Jesus’s twelve apostles, was thought to have been crucified in Rome under Emperor Nero’s rule.
It was back in 1939 during routine modifications being done under the floor of St Peter’s when the incredible find was discovered. As excavations began, a memorial shrine that had a chest erected in honor of Saint Peter was discovered. There was also a Greek engraving which read “Peter is here” with the casket.
The bones were tested and supposedly they belonged to a man who had died between his 60’s and 70’s and was buried in a purple and gold cloth. The findings were given to Paul VI.
During a General Audience in 1968, he and the Vatican stated that the remains of Saint Peter had been identified in a way that they believed were convincing.
They were then given to Pope Paul VI in 1971 but had not been on public display since that time. They have stayed inside the private chapel inside the Apostolic Palace and were unveiled for the pope’s private viewing every June 29.
Saint Peter is traditionally believed to have been the first Pope of the Catholic Church. He was the son of John and his brother Andrew was also an apostle.
The New Testament reads that Peter was one of twelve apostles picked by Jesus. He was with Jesus during happenings that were seen by only a couple of the apostles.
It also says that Saint Peter acknowledged Jesus was the true Messiah, was part of Jesus’ inner most circle, he also denied Jesus and preached on the day of Pentecost.
It is customarily believed he was crucified upside down by his own request, as he thought he was not worthy of being crucified the same way Jesus was.
It does not matter how he was put to death, the Vatican had Saint Peter’s alleged remains on display for the public and they were grateful to catch a glimpse.
By Kimberly Ruble