5 Untold Secrets You Probably Didn’t Know About the Vatican’s Necropolis
The Vatican City is the smallest country in the world and it has the pope as its head or state. The country has been seen and recognized as the heart of Christianity and a very interesting tourist site.
Asides from its religious and tourist attractiveness, the country are also known as a place of great historical and political significance.
Explore five things you don't know about Vatican city, below.
History of Rome
What most do not know is the richness of history in Rome and it is estimated that at least 5% of the underground channels in time have been explored. Yet history and information worth thousands of years have been discovered. Constant excavation of the city shows that the city is rich in history, both politically and religiously.
For instance, the saint peter's basilica which is said to be the final resting place of the Apostle is also the final resting place for several slaves and commoners. The building itself is standing on a site that was once a site of Pagan worship.
To understand the Famous Roman Necropolis, we must travel back in time to the times when the Etruscan civilization called Italy home. It was traditional for the Etruscan people to buy their dead outside the city wall which meant building a series of graves lined up in patterns that eventually became the Necropolis.
Edict of Milan
In the once-famous Roman Circus center, what looked like a Colossal Egyptian Obelisk was raised and was later moved to Piazza San Pietro. This was where St. Peter was crucified before his remains were moved to the Necropolis.
However, when Constantine became Emperor, he put an end to the killings of Christians and proclaimed religious tolerance. In a show of good faith, Constantine built the St. Peter's Basilica. During the construction of the Basilica, where once the Necropolis that had hundreds if not thousands of dead people buried in it, was excavated and left beneath floor level. Until this day, hundreds of funeral chambers are buried beneath the basilica.
Catacombs of St Peter’s Basilica
Building construction of the Basilica took almost a century to be completed, at this time the pioneering Pope, Julius I was long gone. The design and interior of the Basilica were done by several famous artists including Bernini, Michelangelo, and the likes.
In the 20th century, long after the completion of the Basilica, excavation was carried out to find the remains of the Apostle Peter and it was discovered that the St. peter's Basilica was full of catacombs. Caves were also discovered beneath the Basilica in fulfillment of the Pope's wishes to be buried with the Apostle.
Evidence That St. Peter Truly Existed
A decade after the excavation process began in the Basilica, a different puzzle began to unveil itself. It was discovered that beneath the Papal alter is the trophy Gaius, known as the first primitive chapel raised over the apostle's tomb after his death.
Interestingly, this tomb is protected or perhaps surrounded by a Red Wall which was built in 145 AD. Then another wall was constructed known as Wall G built in the year 250 AD. The wall G is said to be to give support or stability to the construction process.
However, there are certain inscriptions on the wall that suggest that it was a highly revered site. Though there is no trace of the Apostle's remains anywhere in the Chapel's burial niche.
Fortunately, an answer came with a discovery of a marble niche in the Wall G. According to the evidence, both historians and Archaeologists conclude that Constantine moved the remains of the Apostle from the first Niche to the new church in the 4th century.
Thankfully, more descriptive evidence was provided in 1952 when a fragment of the Red Wall was discovered. The description in Greek Lettering reads: 'Peter is Inside'.
Content created and supplied by: Temi_loluwa (via Opera News )