Archaeologists will compare remains to those in St. Peter's Basilica to confirm they belonged to the first pope.
Whether the remains did indeed belong to the first pope will be determined following further study by archaeologists.
Clues to the box’s contents were found at the church’s entrance, on an engraved stone plaque that listed the relics contained within. According to inscriptions on the plaque, the relics belong to St. Peter, and also Popes Cornelius (250-253) and Calixtus (217-222), as well as the martyrs Hyppolite, Anastase, Melix and Marmenia. The plaque also mentions a fragment of the Virgin Mary’s clothing that was not found in the altar.
The relics were discovered by a worker who was moving the marble slab altar in the church, which was founded in 1090, and has been closed due to structural problems since 1982. In a cavity just below the floor he found the leaded reliquary box which contained two small ceramic pots with lids inscribed with the names of the saints.
All the relics were transferred to the Vicariate of Rome while still sealed. Those attributed to the first pope will soon be compared with those contained in the tomb of St. Peter’s Basilica.
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