For the first time since the relics were discovered, Catholics will be able to view the bones of Saint Peter at the Vatican. Catholics believe that a collection of bones discovered in 1942 belonged to one of Christ's closest disciples. St. Peter is considered to be the first Pope, and even today the throne upon which the successors to St. Peter sit is known as The Chair of St. Peter. In 1939, Pope Pius XII allowed archeologists to dig under St. Peter's Basilica where the Saint was believed to be buried after his crucifixion.

St. Peter was crucified upside down by the Romans in 67 AD. There are nine pieces of bone fragment that sit in a jeweled box resting inside a bronze display case. Pope Francis kept the bones on an alter during a mass commemorating a yearlong celebration of the Catholic faith by the Vatican. The relics have never been exhibited in public, until now. Pope Francis held the mass on Sunday and following his prayers in front of the box he clutched it to his chest for several minutes. The bones are usually kept buried in the Necropolis under the Vatican.

Catholics could visit and worship at the site without actually seeing the bones. No Pope has ever stated outright that the bones do in fact belong to St. Peter. Scientifically there is no way to prove who the bones belong to. DNA testing would be fruitless since no known relatives of Peter exist, carbon dating would give scientists an idea as to when the person lived but not their identity. When archeologists made the discovery the bones where inside a funerary monument with a casket honoring St. Peter inside. An engraving on the coffin written in Greek read, "Petros eni" which translates to "Peter is here."

Archbishop Rino Fisichella a top level Vatican official said in a statement last week that if the bones were empirically proven to be someone other than Saint Peter it would not matter to Christians. "It's not as if pilgrims who go to the alter think that in that moment in which they profess their faith that below them are the relics of Peter, or of another or another still. They go to profess their faith," he told reporters. Despite top Vatican Jesuits and other scholars' strong denials of the claim Pope Paul VI is said to have stated there was a "convincing" argument the bones belonged to Peter.

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