By Walid Shoebat
Archeologists have declared that they have discovered the bones of St. Peter in a one thousand year old church in Rome. According to one report:
Bones that allegedly belong to St. Peter, one of Jesus Christ’s apostles, who is also considered by Roman Catholics to be the first pope, have been uncovered at a 1,000-year-old church in Rome.
The Telegraph reported on Monday that a worker found the bones inside clay pots at the Church of Santa Maria in Cappella in the district of Trastevere.
The pots were apparently buried beneath a large marble slab near the medieval altar of the church, which has been closed for 35 years due to damage.
“There were two clay pots which were inscribed with the names of early popes – Peter, Felix, Callixtus and Cornelius. I’m not an archaeologist but I understood immediately that they were very old,” the workman told Rai Uno, an Italian television channel. “Looking at them, I felt very emotional.”
Peter is known for having denied Christ three times in the Bible, before repenting, and later on being crucified upside down in Rome in the first century as a Christian martyr.
The Vatican said that it will wait for a DNA comparison between the newly discovered relics and other bones of St. Peter under its care before it comments on the issue.
The Telegraph suggested that the reason the bones may have been kept at the Santa Maria church is due to internal power struggles in the Catholic Church during Pope Urban II’s reign in the 11th century.
“While Urban was generally recognized as the legitimate pope, he faced a challenge from an anti-pope, Clement III, who had set up a rival power base in Rome, backed by the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV,” the article stated.
“The church in Trastevere was closely linked to Pope Urban and may have been seen by him as a secure place in which to hide the bones.”
Pope Francis publicly unveiled other bone fragments believed to belong to Peter back in 2013, which were forensically examined in the 1960s and showed that they came from a man in his early sixties who lived in the first century.
Those remains are believed to have been interred in a tomb on Vatican Hill following Peter’s death, with St. Peter’s Basilica eventually being built over it.
Excavations following World War II under the basilica found a funerary monument with a casket built in honor of Peter and a Greek engraving reading “Peter is here,” which contained the relics.
A team of archaeologists announced in August that they may have found Peter’s home in a lost Roman imperial city off of the Sea of Galilee, where the apostles Philip and Andrew also lived.
The Kinneret College researchers said at the time that the city of Julias was built as part of the town of Bethsaida, mentioned in John 1:44 as the hometown of the three apostles.
Haaretz cautioned that there are “three candidates for Julias,” however, including two earlier discovered sites by Galilee.
These may be the bones of St. Peter, or they may not. What we can truly learn from this story is the antiquity of the Roman Church, how ancient it is, and how its archeology really proves that the Catholic Church really is rooted Apostolic succession.
Three times did Christ ask St. Peter: “Lovest thou me?” and three times did that holy rock of the Church say:
“Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee.”
And what did Christ say at the end? “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17) A shepherd feeds his flock; a shepherd is a significant leader of the Church, the flock is an analogy of the people within the Church. Thus, Christ calls Peter to be shepherd of the Church. And where did St. Peter and St. Paul go? They went to Rome. From the Middle East, to the West, did Israel spread its light of truth to the heathens. This is expressed by Eusebius in his Church History:
“For immediately, during the reign of Claudius, the all-good and gracious Providence, which watches over all things, led Peter, that strongest and greatest of the apostles, and the one who on account of his virtue was the speaker for all the others, to Rome against this great corrupter of life. He like a noble commander of God, clad in divine armor, carried the costly merchandise of the light of the understanding from the East to those who dwelt in the West, proclaiming the light itself, and the word which brings salvation to souls, and preaching the kingdom of heaven.” (1)
In Israel was the light of God revealed to mankind, under the starry sky of Mesopotamia, when the Lord appeared to Abraham and declared to him that the number of his descendants will be as numerous as the stars. In Israel the Savior of Mankind appeared, and by the ark of His Church, did Israel spread throughout the nations, making gentiles into the sons of Abraham.
The Jewish authorities held Paul in a trial, and they abused him. The high priest, Ananias, told his men, “smite him on the mouth.” (Acts 23:3) In this abuse Paul said: “God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?” (Acts 23:3) Later, Paul was put into captivity, and while he was kept inside of a castle, the Lord appeared to him and said:
“Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified to me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” (Acts 23:11)
These words signify a continuation, from Israel to Rome; for Christ was to form Christendom, and He wants for His prophecy to be a reality, that His name shall be “great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 1:11)
Christ wanted Paul to preach in Rome as he preached in Jerusalem, and what did He say of the fate of this great city? “Jerusalem is to be trodden down by the Gentiles; till the times of the nations be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24) Jerusalem was sacked by the Romans, but what came of Rome? It became the spiritual center of Western Christendom. But what happened to Israel? Did it disappear? The question that lies is, what is Israel? Is Israel a race or is it a spirituality? If we say that it is a race, then we are no different than those scribes to whom St. John the Baptist proclaimed:
“Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of penance; and do not begin to say, We have Abraham for our father. For I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham.” (Luke 3:8)
Israel is the heavenly Mount Zion, and when we enter its depths we come to “the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the company of many thousands of angels, And to the church of the firstborn, who are written in the heavens, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the just made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new testament, and to the sprinkling of blood which speaketh better than that of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:22-24)
In ancient Israel there was a priesthood, there was sacrifice and penance, and did this cease with the destruction of the Temple, of the sacking of Jerusalem? If we believe that Israel ceased to exist because it no longer was a State or a nation, then we must believe that Israel ceased to exist during the Babylonian Exile. But we believe that Israel never ceased to exist once we uphold her as a spiritual reality. After the sacking of the Temple, to where did Israel go? It continued on, in the Church. The Church is the continuation of Israel, and this perpetuation of Israel is found in Christendom. Ancient Israel was a State, for it had the divine law, and at the same time, it was a spirituality, for God said through Jeremiah: “Be circumcised to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your hearts” (Jeremiah 4:4). So, Israel was not just a nation, but a condition of the heart.
True Judaism is not something that is genetically based, but is rather the state of a soul. A true Jew is a Jew of the heart. “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel” (Romans 9:6). Job was not genetically a Jew, rather he was a Edomite, being of the Arabian race, and still the Jews put his book in their canon. Moses was a Hebrew genetically, but he had no issue in marrying into the family of a Midianite Arab named Jethro who the Scripture describes as “the priest of Midian” (Exodus 3:1). And why, if the state of a Jew has to be genetic, would there be a priest of God who is of the Midianite nation? All of this shows Judaism as a spirituality, as opposed to being something solely genetic. “Because, if they deny this,” writes St. Augustine, “they can be most easily confuted by the case of the holy and wonderful man Job, who was neither a native nor a proselyte, that is, a stranger joining the people of Israel, but, being bred of the Idumean race, arose there and died there too, and who is so praised by the divine oracle, that no man of his times is put on a level with him as regards justice and piety. And although we do not find his date in the chronicles, yet from his book, which for its merit the Israelites have received as of canonical authority, we gather that he was in the third generation after Israel.” (2)
Just because someone may be genetically Jewish, does not make him a Jew in the ultimate meaning of the word. You have people who say they are Jews, but they are atheists and darwinists. Does them being Jewish make them somehow no different than Moses or the prophets? Absolutely not. But there are so called Christians who have a very unbalanced view of the Jews, seeing them as nearly perfect, or as people who don’t need Christ for salvation. Such a view stems from a morphed view that Israel is about a race, and not about a spirit. It is this ethnocentric view that gets people to fixate on the race of the Jews, as opposed to seeing ancient Israel as part of the greater history of Christendom. There is also another imbalance, one that expresses nothing but contempt and hatred for the Jews, as a people with whom God is totally done with. This too stems from an imbalanced view that treats with indifference Israel, the people with whom Christendom begins. Such people who have this mentality ignore the words of St. Augustine when he wrote:
“Let the reader but call to mind that corner-stone and those two walls of partition, the one of the Jews, the other of the Gentiles, and he will recognize them, the one under the term sons of Judah, the other as sons of Israel, supporting themselves by one and the same headship, and ascending from the earth. But that those carnal Israelites who are now unwilling to believe in Christ shall afterward believe, that is, their children shall (for they themselves, of course, shall go to their own place by dying), this same prophet testifies, saying, ‘For the children of Israel abide many days without a king, without a prince, without a sacrifice, without an altar, without a priesthood, without manifestations.’ (Hosea 3:4) Who does see that the Jews are now thus? But let us hear what he adds: ‘And afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and shall be amazed at the Lord and at his goodness in the latter days.’ (Hosea 3:5)”
Notice how Augustine has a balanced view on the Jews. He does not exempt them from criticism, describing the Jews who reject Christ as “carnal Israelites,” who, referencing Hosea’s prophecy, have no altar and no sacrifice, that is, they are outside of the Church, being without the sacrifice of the Eucharist, which is offered by the people who entered the ark of Christ of which the Lord declared:
“For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 1:11)
Augustine does not express hatred for the Jews, or refer to the Jews as being done away with. This great scholar of the Church, instead, remembers that God will bring the Jews back to the fold of Christ, to the true religion of Moses, to the ark of the Church. As St. Jerome wrote to Pope Damasus of the Holy See in Rome:
“As I follow no leader save Christ, so I communicate with none but your blessedness, that is with the chair of Peter. For this, I know, is the rock on which the church is built! This is the house where alone the paschal lamb can be rightly eaten. This is the ark of Noah, and he who is not found in it shall perish when the flood prevails.” (3)
Christ came to be the Messiah of Israel, to fulfill what God proclaimed to Abraham:
“I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” (Genesis 22:17-18)
Christ did not come for solely those who were genetically descendant of Abraham, no, He came so that all of humanity could become sons of Abraham. Hence St. Paul writes:
“Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” (Galatians 3:7-9)
The holy Apostle was combating the racist nationalism that the Jews held onto. When St. Peter had dinner with the centurion, Cornelius, and his family, the judaizers were enraged with him, saying: “Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.” (Acts 11:3) But, when St. Peter explained to them that Christ had commanded him to eat with Cornelius so that he and his household would be baptized and saved, “they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” (Acts 11:18)
God came for Israel, but not just for those who were genetically Jews, but for all those willing to become citizens of Israel. Christ came to those who are “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel” (Ephesians 2:12) so “that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.” (Romans 9:26) Salvation has nothing to do with genetics. God did not come to Abraham because of his genetic makeup, but rather because “he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Hebrews 11:10)
The pharisees, in their hatred for Christ, said: “Do you see that we prevail nothing? behold, the whole world is gone after him.” (John 12:19) Indeed, for Christ encompasses the world, in Him is the whole of Humanity; He is the Center of all mortals, and He came to bring all of mankind into Israel. And what does the Scripture say, after quoting these words of the pharisees?
“Now there were certain Gentiles among them, who came up to adore on the festival day. These therefore came to Philip, who was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying: Sir, we would see Jesus.” (John 12:20-21)
The pharisees were enraged at the fact that all peoples were coming to Christ, and while they were in their animosity and racism, gentiles appeared to worship the Salvation of all humanity, in whom we live, and move, and are (Acts 17:28). The verse is an image of what was to come: the gentiles coming to Christ and in being in Him, becoming Israel.
A gentile soldier named Longinus pierced the side of Christ, and blood and water poured forth from His holy rib, representing humanity — symbolized as water — being united to Christ Who, before His crucifixion said: “this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:28) A gentile pierced the rib of Christ and beheld that image that symbolized the union between humanity — both Jew and gentile — and the Sacrifice for humanity; between mankind and the Church through which we receive the Eucharist, that is, the flesh and blood of Christ.
God wanted to create Christendom, and He foreknew that it would be a continuation of Israel by the hand of the Gentiles whose souls would be bridged with the prophets and monastics of Israel. Hence God chose St. Paul, a former Pharisee, “to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15) In Israel there were monks and ascetics and holy kings. Did this somehow cease to continue? Far from it, for it continued on in Christendom, that is, Israel, which never ends and flows like a river into eternity. St. Paul, who was “of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews” (Philippians 3:5), preached not for a new religion, but for the faith of Israel. Those who rejected the faith, refused to enter the ark, and those who accepted the faith, followed the true religion of Moses, “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me.” (John 5:46) Those who followed Christ would become the predecessors of Christendom, handing to posterity this Christendom, the continuation of Israel, a Christendom now dismembered and put to sleep in this horrid Babylonian exodus that we now are in.
There is indeed an anciently rooted harmony between Israel and Rome. When the pagan Greeks were butchering the Hebrews, when the people of Israel were under the cruel despotism of the idolatrous tyrants, and they resisted the tyranny of the heathen, Judah went to Rome for protection. Israel and Rome made a covenant, that they would protect each other from their enemies. The Book of Maccabees says:
“Judas had heard about the Romans and their reputation as a military power. He knew that they welcomed all those who joined them as allies and that those who came to them could be sure of the friendship of Rome.” (1 Maccabees 8:1-2)
Judas Maccabees marveled at the valor of the Romans, at their martial dexterity and their efficiency at conquering other nations, like Spain, Galatia, Media and Lydia. Judah sent Eupolemus to be his emissary to the Romans, and when he arrived in the Senate house of Rome, he declared:
“Judah, who is also called Maccabaeus, and his brethren, and the whole people of the Jews, have sent us unto you, to make a confederacy and peace with you, and that we might be registered your confederates and friends.”
When the Romans heard this, they sent their covenant to Jerusalem on tablets made of brass, proclaiming:
“May things go well forever for the Romans and for the Jewish nation on land and sea! May they never have enemies, and may they never go to war! But if war is declared first against Rome or any of her allies anywhere, the Jewish nation will come to her aid with wholehearted support, as the situation may require. And to those at war with her, the Jews shall not give or supply food, arms, money, or ships, as was agreed in Rome. The Jews must carry out their obligations without receiving anything in return.
In the same way, if war is declared first against the Jewish nation, the Romans will come to their aid with hearty support, as the situation may require. And to their enemies there shall not be given or supplied food, arms, money, or ships, as was agreed in Rome. The Romans must carry out their obligations without deception.
These are the terms of the treaty that the Romans have made with the Jewish people. But if, in the future, both parties shall agree to add or remove anything, they shall act on their decision, and whatever they add or remove shall be valid.” (1 Maccabees 8:23-32)
The Book of Maccabees tells us that the brass tablets were kept in Jerusalem “for a memorial of peace and confederacy.” (1 Maccabees 8:22) It was a covenant of peace between Rome and Jerusalem, and when the Messiah came, they wanted Him to break the covenant with Rome. But God hates covenant breakers, and this is one of the reasons as to why Christ never honored the Jews’ nationalist cause against Rome: it was the breaking of a covenant. When the Jews had gone against Christ, they became like those abominable heathens who are “Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful” (Romans 1:31).
Pilate went before the mob and gave them the choice: spare Christ, your King and Messiah, or spare Barrabbas, a nationalist terrorist who murdered a Roman soldier, breaking the covenant made between Rome and Jerusalem by his Maccabeean ancestors. The mob chose Barrabbas, they chose the way of covenant breakers. It was under the system of democracy that Christ was murdered; it was under the bloodthirsty demands of a nationalist mob that Christ was slain; it was under the compliance of a pagan ally that Christ was crucified. And on that wooden cross was there the title, King of the Jews, in the languages of Latin, Greek and Hebrew, and it is truly wondrous that today the Church declares in each mass:
“SANCTUS, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua. Hosanna in excelsis. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. Hosanna in excelsis.”
“HOLY, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.”
This is a declaration bearing words of the Latin, Hebrew and Greek languages. Thus the sign on the cross is not just a mere detail of history, but a foreshadowing of Christendom.
The soldiers who mocked Christ, do these not presage the coming of the persecutors of the Church? The soldier who declared before the cross, and before Christ’s Mother, the Virgin Mary, “Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54), did not this soldier foreshadow the warriors of Christendom, defending the Church — who is represented by the Virgin Mary — against her persecutors? On Mount Golgotha, on this mountain of cosmic struggle, stood the image of Christendom: combat, death, and victory, this is the life of Christendom!
Look to the actions and to the zeal of Pope Pius XII when he confronted the evil heretics, the Nazis. When these sanguinary murderers and antichrists began their genocide, Pope Pius XII, rescued hundreds of thousands of Jews from the death camps. Pope Pius XI, his predecessor, also combated Nazism, and on February 11, 1939, the chief rabbi of Paris, Julien Weil, had this to say on the death of Pius XI:
“The death of his Holiness Pius XI moves me deeply and painfully. Judaism wholeheartedly joins the universal veneration that surrounded the august Pontiff, admiring and honoring him as a servant of God, a true apostle of social justice, peace and the human fraternity. On numerous occasions, Pius XI denounced with luminous firmness and clarity the pernicious errors of racist paganism, and he condemned anti-Semitism as irreconcilable with the Christian faith and as an instigator of iniquities and odious violence. I am sure that I express the feelings of my fellow Jews in saluting with respect the great figure of Pius XI and in giving in our prayers a religious expression of our homage of regret and gratitude toward this great servant of the God of justice and love.” (4)
When the pagans were persecuting the Hebrews, and mercilessly slaughtering them for observing the Law of Moses, it was racist paganism. And it was Rome who made a pact with the Hebrews to defend them. When the Nazis were slaughtering the Jews by the millions, that was also racist paganism. And it was Rome who came to their defense, thus continuing the oath made between Jerusalem and Rome.
When Aeneas, the patriarch of pagan Rome approached the city of Evander, he, wanting to show peace to the inhabitants, reach out with his hand holding a peaceful olive-branch (5) a remnant of what was remembered of a time long past, when a dove returned to Noah with an olive branch in its mouth, revealing that the waters had subsided and peace returned. But now, that the Gentile world has entered the ark, they follow the olivae binae pietatis unicae or the twofold olive-branch of a singular piety, (6) that is, the teachings of St. Peter and Paul, the bishops who brought the Gospel to the Gentiles, bringing them into the ark, and into the fold of Israel, bringing into the world glorious Christendom, a Christendom that must be awakened. In the words of the Spanish Christian poet, Prudentius:
“Now the successor of Aeneas, in the imperial purple, prostrates himself in prayer at the house of Christ, and the supreme lord adores the banner of the cross.” (7)
Christendom, the continuation of Israel, is here to fight evil, to combat the diabolical systems that seek wage war on humanity itself.
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(1) Eusebius, Church History, 2.14
(2) Augustine, City of God, 18.47
(3) Jerome, letter 15, 2
(4) Henri de Lubac, Christian Resistance to Anti-Semitism (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990), 32-33, in Rabbi David G. Dalin, The Myth of Hitler’s Pope, ch. 2, p. 242
(5) Virgil, Aeneid, 8.145
(6) See Taylor R. Marshall, The Eternal City, ch. 5, p. 97
(7) Prudentius, The Divinity of Christ, 445-448