Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Bones of St. Peter

How Does the Vatican Know That Those Old Bones Are the Relics of St. Peter?

Earlier I posted about the Vatican putting the bones of St. Peter on display for veneration for the first time ever.  Kathy Schiffer at Seasons of Grace offers some detail behind those bones:

"The Church has had a long tradition that St. Peter’s Basilica, construction of which was funded by the Emperor Constantine, was built in the early fourth century atop the burial site of St. Peter.  But in 1939–less than 100 years ago–a team of workmen digging a grave for Pope Pius XI in the crypt beneath the Basilica uncovered what was plainly the top of a Roman building.  The new pope, Pius XII, ordered further investigation; and archeologists gradually unearthed a well preserved Roman necropolis, or city of the dead, immediately beneath the foundations of St. Peter’s.

In actuality, we don’t know with certainty whose bones those are.  There are strong evidences through history:  writings by early popes and kings, graffiti messages in the tomb, and the placement of the graves themselves.  The early Christians, it seemed, considered it a great honor to be buried near the remains of Peter, the first pope.  And DNA testing has confirmed that the bones are from a male in his 60′s who likely died in the first century."

Click the link at top of this post to read the whole interesting story.

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