Religion: The Petrine Puzzle

Seven years ago, at the close of the Holy Year, Pope Pius XII made an announcement of great importance to Christian tradition: Vatican archaeologists had found the tomb of St. Peter beneath the high papal altar of the cathedral that bears his name (TIME, Jan. 1, 1951). For most Catholics the Pope's claim confirmed a belief firmly held since before the time of Constantine, but antiquaries and archaeologists were eager for more details. Vatican accounts of excavations beneath the cathedral−begun in 1939, when a fascinating honeycomb of pagan and Christian mausoleums were discovered...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!