New book uncovers the Vatican’s secret quest to find St. Peter’s tomb

Author John O’Neill details the Vatican’s quest to find the remains of St. Peter in a new theological thriller called “The Fisherman’s Tomb.”

The book tells the true story of the Vatican’s secret search for one the world’s greatest archaeological and religious wonders, the tomb of Jesus’ closest apostle, Peter.

“I saw what was the beginning of what is now the hottest ticket in Rome, the Scavi Tour, and I learned Peter was there,” O’Neill said, describing the inspiration behind the book to FOX Business’ Lou Dobbs on Tuesday.

Legend has it that the first Pope of the Catholic Church, Peter, was buried on Vatican Hill after his execution by the Roman Emperor Nero in 66 A.D. The Vatican began a secret search for his tomb 75 years ago and in 1950, word got out that markers of Peter’s grave were discovered.

In 1952, archaeologist Margherita Guarducci was brought on to the project by the Vatican.

“A remarkable woman, Margherita Guarducci came in, the greatest archaeologist I think of the 20th century, she found outstanding inscriptions under the Vatican and then she found Peter,” O’Neill said.

Guarducci replaced two individuals from the Vatican assigned by Pope Pius XII to take on the task of deciphering the early inscription of Peter’s tomb.

“She had traveled really all over the Roman world in order to fully decode the early inscriptions,” O’Neill said.

Through her discovery, it was believed that remains of Jesus’ most important lieutenant lay a few inches from the center of St. Peter’s Basilica.

In 2013, Pope Francis acknowledged Guarducci’s work and displayed the relics to a large crowd in St. Peter’s Square.

“The story itself is amazing,” O’Neill said. “The inscriptions are absolutely astounding.”