A church in Rome recently stumbled upon what is believed to be the bones of St. Peter.
Routine restoration work in the 1000-year-old Church of Santa Maria in Capella led to the discovery of two Roman-era clay pots with inscriptions on their lids, The Telegraph reports.
A worker found the pots when he lifted up a large marble slab close to the church’s medieval alter. That area has been closed to the public for the past 35 years due to structural problems.
The inscriptions on the two pots say that they contain the bones from ancient, major figures in the Christian church: St. Peter, three early popes – Cornelius, Callixtus and Felix – and four Christian martyrs.
Bones attributed to St Peter found by chance in 1,000-year-old church in Rome https://t.co/8xOz6CH3EW
— Telegraph News (@TelegraphNews) September 11, 2017
The worker said that he immediately recognized the importance of the pots and notified Massimiliano Floridi, the deacon of the church.
“There were two clay pots which were inscribed with the names of early popes – Peter, Felix, Callixtus and Cornelius. I’m not an archaeologist but I understood immediately that they were very old. Looking at them, I felt very emotional.”
A stone inscription in the church indicated that the relics existed, but until now they were never found. The inscription also said that the bones laid next to a piece of a dress worn by the Blessed Virgin.
The Vatican now has the remains and will further evaluate them. Only a DNA test would be able to confirm if the bones really belonged to St. Peter, according to the deacon.
“We’re waiting for a detailed study to be undertaken. A DNA comparison between these bones and those kept by the Vatican would shed light on the issue.”
It’s unknown why the bones were being kept in Capella, but one theory suggests that they were moved there from the Vatican by Pope Urban II. The theory rides on the belief that Urban hid the bones during a time when there was a rift in the Catholic Church.
Previously, St. Peter’s remains were said to have been found during excavations under St. Peter’s Basilica after World War II. A casket with the Greek inscription “Petros eni,” or Peter is here,” was found during the excavations.
The bones were examined in the 1960’s, and it was determined that they belonged to a man who lived in the first century AD and died in his 60’s. Pope Paul VI declared the bones to be Peter’s in 1968.
The remains were put on display in 2013. The Vatican spokesman at the time, Federico Lombardi, said there was a “serious possibility” that the relics belonged to Peter, “but we don’t go beyond that.”
[Feature Photo: Pixabay]