An Italian construction worker, involved in routine restoration at the 1,000 year old Church of Santa Maria in Capella in Trastevere, Rome, has stumbled across what could be the bones of St. Peter.
In helping to repair the structural problems around the altar, the worker lifted a heavy marble slab and discovered two Roman-era pots. The inscriptions on the pots indicate they contain bone fragments of four early Christian martyrs, three early Popes (Cornelius, Callixtus, and Felix), and St. Peter himself. The bones of the first Pope would be an important discovery, but they’re a puzzling one too: as every visitor to the Vatican knows, the bones of St. Peter are supposed to be buried directly underneath the Papal Throne in St Peter’s. So you have to wonder, are any of these relics real? Is the Vatican really built on the rock of (the bones of) St. Peter?
Peter is important, of course, as the founder of the church in Rome. For Roman Catholics he is the first Pope and the rock on which the Church is built; for Protestants he is the “Apostle to the Jews” and, along with Paul, one of the two most important figures in the early church. If you read the Bible, Peter can come across as a bumbling idiot who consistently misunderstands Jesus and, in his final hours, actually denies him.