Vatican unveils bone fragments purportedly belonging to St. Peter

The Vatican on Sunday unveiled a handful of bone fragments purportedly belonging to St. Peter.

Pope Francis prayed before the bones, which were revealed in a bronze case near the alter at a mass celebrating the end of the Year of Faith in St. Peter’s Square, the Associated Press reports.

The remains were discovered in a monument unearthed during an excavation of St. Peter’s Basilica after the death Pope Pius XI in 1939.

The relics have long been a source of debate, with some archeologists and theologians vehemently denying their legitimacy.

No pope has definitively declared that the fragments belong to the Apostle Peter, but Pope Paul VI in 1968 said fragments found in the necropolis under St. Peter’s Basilica were “identified in a way that we can consider convincing.” Some archaeologists dispute the finding.

The relics were discovered during excavations begun under St. Peter’s Basilica in the years after the 1939 death of Pope Pius XI, according to the 2012 book by veteran Vatican correspondent Bruno Bartoloni, “The Ears of the Vatican.”


AP/The Guardian
The Washington Post
Image: Getty Images/The Washington Post

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