Fragments of bone hidden in a tiny Roman church may be St. Peter’s

ROME (NBC News) — On a quiet street, in a forgotten church closed for 35 years, a worker found what may be bone fragments belonging to Saint Peter.

St. Peter was one of Jesus Christ’s 12 apostles. Known as the first Pope, Catholics believe his spirit guards the gates of heaven.

Nine pieces of what are thought to be his bones are entombed at St. Peter’s Basilica, where millions pay pilgrimage each year. Yet at the entrance to a small unassuming church, a plaque claims Peter’s remains are here.

The Roman-era pot was discovered in the church by accident. Scratched on the lid are the name of several saints, including Peter.

Did this little church hold a secret for 1,000 years?

Some believe the bones were placed here by an early pope to assert his authority during a religious feud. Now, Pope Francis must decide whether to compare the fragments to the bones at the Basilica. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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