VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis made a private visit to the tomb of St. Peter on the afternoon of Easter Monday to spend time in prayer before the remains of the first pope.
Cardinal Angelo Comastri, archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, accompanied the Pope to St. Peter’s tomb in the Necropolis, a series of burial sites beneath the basilica.
St. Peter headed the Church after Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, and he was martyred under the Roman Emperor Nero in the year 64 on Rome’s Vatican hill. He was crucified upside down at his own request because he said he was not worthy to die as Jesus did.
In 1965, archaeologists working on the Necropolis said they found the bones of St. Peter near an ancient Greek inscription that said: “Peter is here.”
Monday marked Pope Francis’ second visit to St. Peter’s tomb in the first month of his pontificate. He visited the tomb upon his inauguration as pope on March 19.