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Vatican to put remains thought to be St. Peter on display

Nov. 23, 2013 at 2:27 PM

VATICAN CITY, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- The Roman Catholic Church said it will put on public display bones believed to be the remains of the first pope, St. Peter.

The bones were buried for centuries at the Vatican, and in the early centuries of the church proved a popular pilgrimage site for believers -- enough so the Roman emperor Constantine ordered the main basilica at the Vatican be built and named in Peter's honor.

The bones remained buried deep in the Vatican until an archaeological dig in the 1930s uncovered them. They have remained tucked away, out of public site since then, CNN reported Friday.

Scripture says Peter, originally named Simon, was a fisherman on the Galilee when Jesus met him and renamed him Cephus, or Petros, meaning "the rock." Peter became one of Jesus' earliest followers and after his death worked tirelessly to spread the gospel.

He was martyred by the Romans in about the year 64 and was crucified upside down.

Skeptics have questioned whether Peter's bones could have survived more than a millennium. Because there's nothing to compare it to, DNA tests would not be determinative.

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