English Summary by Br. Alexis Bugnolo
Antonio Socci has published a fascinating report about the recent historical-archeological study done to discover the resting place of the Prince of the Apostles here at Rome. (Click the image above to read the original Italian article)
And since it is not far from my residence, I have decided to trek out to the archeological site and report live from there in the coming days.
But first, a summary in English of Socci’s article.
As we all know, the Prince of the Apostles was martyred at Rome. He was crucified upside down in the Circus of Nero, that is the hippodrome or horse racing track of the Emperor Nero. That horse track is on the south side of the Basilica of St. Peter’s, and the Basilica is built on top of the ancient Roman Cemetery on the Vatican hill.
But when excavated in the post war years, all that was discovered beneath the High Altar of the Basilica, many meters below, was an empty niche in an ancient Roman Wall, before which was built an altar. Scholars agreed that this was most likely the original place of burial of St. Peter’s remains. But whether he was burnt alive like his fellow martyrs or whether his body remained intact, was information lost to history.
Socci reports that the ancient sources say that St. Peter was buried, Ad Catecombas. And historians speculate that this location is the site of the former Basilica built by the Emperor Constantine for his own mother St. Helena. The speculation is that the Emperor and His Mother, who herself could be called the patron and mother of Christian archeology, in that she spear headed the excavation and discovery of the True Cross, had decided to be buried next to the Prince of the Apostles.
Even Maria Valtorta professed to have a vision of the Apostle, incorrupt, holding a parchment in his hand, buried Ad Catecombas. The tom might be where three scholars have guessed its location might be, but no excavation has yet been undertaken. The fame of the Vatican Basilica might have eroded the memory of the true location of the Apostle’s final resting place, but it seems still quasi impossible the Church of Rome would forget where they buried the Rock, upon which Christ built His Church.
This week I will try to go in person to the place and film a report. Stay tuned!