Pope visits tomb of St. Peter
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Monday took an emotional, close-up look at the tomb of Peter, the church's first pontiff, buried beneath St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican said.
In doing so, Francis became the first pontiff to visit the necropolis, where pagans and early Christians were buried, since extensive archaeological excavations were conducted at the ancient site decades ago, the Vatican said.
The 45-minute “visit of devotion to the tomb of St. Peter” was private, the Vatican said, but it released a video of it.
The basilica was built over the location where early Christians would gather in secret, at a time of persecution in ancient Rome, to pray at an unmarked tomb believed to be that of Peter, the apostle Jesus chose to lead his church.
The Vatican initially said Francis would pray at Peter's tomb, but later said he prayed instead in the basilica. The new pope ‘‘paused in silent prayer, in profound and emotional meditation” in the Clementine Chapel in the vast basilica that is ‘‘the closest place (in the basilica) to the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles,” it said.
During a tour of the necropolis conducted by its director and an Italian cardinal, the pope “climbed up a bit, got closer to the place where the tomb of St. Peter lies, exactly under the central altar and the dome of the basilica,” the Vatican said.
Francis walked down the entire main street of the ancient city of the dead, the statement said. The streets of the necropolis are similar to those of ancient Rome, only they are flanked by tombs instead of shops and apartments.
The Vatican said Francis walked to the necropolis entrance from the hotel on the Vatican grounds where he lives, took the tour and later — after paying homage at the tombs of several popes in another underground level known as the grottoes, including Pius XII, Paul VI and John Paul I — strolled back to his residence.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Airstrike hits aid camp for displaced in Yemen, kills dozens
- Co-pilot in Germanwings Alps crash treated for suicidal tendencies
- ‘Substantial’ roadblocks remain as nuclear talks with Iran go down to wire
- Iran blames U.S. drone for killing military advisers in Iraq
- Leaders wary of vote-rigging in Nigeria
- Jordan to pay Russia $10B to build kingdom’s 1st nuclear plant
- Antarctica yields life in extremest of conditions, so what about on another planet?
- Houthi rebels in Yemen open fire on demonstrators in Taiz, killing 6
- Germanwings flight co-pilot Lubitz worried about job security, officials say
- Dickens’ desk to go on permanent display museum