St. Peter’s Bones: Vatican ‘Verifies’ Remains Despite Archaeological Skepticism

Patrick Frye - Author
By

Dec. 28 2013, Updated 3:50 p.m. ET

St. Peter’s bones have been put on display at the Vatican.

Back in October, the Vatican misspelled Jesus’ name on thousands of medals, with the name on the medals being inscribed as “Lesus.” The Italian State Mint withdrew the medal two days later.

As far as St. Peter’s bones go, many Catholic’s will no doubt be planning a pilgrimage to the Holy See, to view the bones purported to belong to St. Peter. The remains were revealed Sunday at St. Peter’s square, and the revelation was performed at St. Peter’s Square at the conclusion of the Catholic church’s “Year of Faith.”

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This also happens to the first time St. Peter’s bones have ever been put on display since being discovered in 1939. But there is no DNA sample with which to make a comparison and no way of proving who the skeletal remains actually belong to. But the Vatican is declaring their “verification” regardless.

Pilgrims 8.5 million strong have journeyed to see the Vatican’s relics collection over the last year, but many are questioning whether or not the bones really belong to St. Peter. Peter was believed to have been martyred in Rome in 64 C.E. by being crucified upside down, and then buried in the city. Pope Paul VI said of St. Peter’s bones:

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“[They had been identified] in a manner which we believe convincing.”

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John Thavis, author of The Vatican Diaries, said:

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“St. Peter’s tomb in the cemetery on the Vatican Hill became… a popular pilgrimage site.”

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Because of the tomb and other relics supposedly belonging to St. Peter, the pilgrimage site is allegedly the very reason the Emperor Constantine built a basilica in his honor. John Allen, a Vatican analyst, says many Catholic believers aren’t as concerned with whether or not St. Peter’s bones are really the remains of the apostle. :

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“Like other famous relics, such as the Shroud of Turin or the Belt of Mary, they evoke awe and devotion regardless of their actual provenance.”

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“No Pope had ever permitted an exhaustive study, partly because a 1,000-year-old curse attested by secret and apocalyptic documents, threatened anyone who disturbed the peace of Peter’s tomb with the worst possible misfortune.”

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Despite the lack of verification, and the fact that archeologists have disputed that they actually found St. Peter’s bones, the Vatican has found the identification “convincing” and has officially declared the bones to belong to St. Peter.

Do you think the Vatican really found St. Peter’s bones?

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