# Saint Peter’s First Burial Site According to Maria Valtorta’s Mystical Writings, Checked against the Archeology of Rome in the I Century

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## Abstract

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## 1. Introduction

## 2. The Controversial Discovery of St. Peter’s Tomb and Remains

## 3. Maria Valtorta’s Correspondence with Roman Prelates on Peter’s Tomb

## 4. Peter’s First Burial Site According to Maria Valtorta

## 5. Peter’s Walk Checked against the Map of Rome of the I Century

## 6. Analysis of the Data According to Archeology

## 7. Has Maria Valtorta Invented Peter’s Walk? A Probability Analysis

#### 7.1. Geometric Probability

#### 7.2. Monte Carlo Simulations of Peter’s Walk and Its Probability

#### 7.2.1. Monte Carlo Simulations

- (1)
- The walk starts at point $B$ of Via Tiburtina, whose abscissa is given by that of point $C$ ($x=3.5$) decreased by $\Delta x$ extracted from a uniform distribution of range 100 m (i.e., according to the scale of Figure 8, $0.1\times 5.4=0.54$ units) so that ${x}_{B}=3.5-\Delta x$. The ordinate ${y}_{B}$ must belong to the line describing Via Tiburtina (the line from $C$ to $A$).
- (2)
- Peter and his companion disappear downhill at least at 1.5 km from Porta Collina, point $R(5.7;$13.9). These coordinates are therefore increased by extracting two positive random numbers $\Delta x$ and $\Delta y$ from a uniform distribution of range $50$ m, to become $x={x}_{R}+\Delta x$, $y={y}_{R}+\Delta y$, to take care that they walk at a (small) angle North of Via Tiburtina.
- (3)
- From steps (1) and (2), the equation of the line of sight connecting the start point in Via Tiburtina to the end point in Via Nomentana is calculated, and from it also the distance $\ell $ between the two points. Peter’s detour is first provisionally set at a fraction ${f}_{0}=2/3$ of the distance $\ell $ from Via Tiburtina. A positive random fraction $\Delta f$, extracted from a uniform distribution of range $0.01\times \left(2/3\right)$ (i.e., $1\%$ increase) is then added so that the actual fraction becomes $f={f}_{0}+\Delta f$; therefore, $f>2/3$ to consider the approximate estimate given by Maria Valtorta. This fraction determines the coordinates of Peter’s detour point $\left({x}_{det};{y}_{det}\right)$ on the line-of-sight. It must not overlap with Castra Preatoria.
- (4)
- The path from a point very likely near $C2$ (Castra Pretoria) to Via Nomentana must arrive at least at 1.0 km from Porta Collina, point $R1(3.9;$11.8). The abscissa of $R1$ is therefore increased by extracting a positive random number $\Delta x$ from a uniform distribution of range $50$ m, to become $x={x}_{R1}+\Delta x$. The ordinate must belong to Via Nomentana. The line connecting the detour point $\left({x}_{det};{y}_{det}\right)$, step (3), with point $R1$ can be calculated but is not necessary in the simulation.
- (5)
- At the detour point $\left({x}_{det};{y}_{det}\right)$, “…St. Peter goes down the uncultivated field which is to the left of who proceeds North, walks diagonally about 100, 150 m. He stops.” A line can start from $\left({x}_{det};{y}_{det}\right)$ according to two equal angular ranges centered, respectively, at ${\phi}_{0}=90\xb0+22.5\xb0+22.5\xb0/2=123.75\xb0$ (southern range) and at ${\phi}_{0}=90\xb0+22.5\xb0-22.5\xb0/2=101.25\xb0$ (northern range). Then, in each case, a random angle $\Delta \phi $ is extracted from a uniform distribution with range $22.5\xb0$, and finally $\phi ={\phi}_{0}+\Delta \phi $.
- (6)
- In the first part of the segment oriented according to step (5), i.e., the part starting at the detour point, a positive random walk $\Delta d$, extracted from a uniform distribution with range 100 m, is added to the minimum length ${d}_{0}=100\mathrm{m}$, to obtain the end point of the detour at $d={d}_{0}+\Delta d$. This is the point where Peter hits the stick to the ground. Its coordinated $({x}_{stick};{y}_{stick})$ are calculated from the equation of the line defined by the data (detour point and angle of the line) just previuosly obtained.

#### 7.2.2. Path Probability

- (1)
- At the starting point $B$ in Via Tiburtina: divide the segment from $C$ to $A$ in two halves and consider the half starting from $C$; 1 bit. The random value $\Delta x$ in ${x}_{B}=3.5-\Delta x$ is “noise” (due to Maria Valtorta’s descriptions), not an available choice.
- (2)
- The path is directed North–East, hence the angle of the path must be greater than 45°, counted counterclockwise from the $x-\mathrm{axis}$ direction (West↔East): divide the first Cartesian quadrant in two equal angular halves and consider the most northern half $\left(45\xb0;90\xb0\right)$; 1 bit.
- (3)
- The angular range of step (2) is subsequently limited in the most northern range $\left(67.5\xb0;90\xb0\right)$: 1 bit.
- (4)
- Peter and his companion disappear downhill at least at 1.5 km from Porta Collina, point $R(5.7;$13.9). $f>2/3$ implies to divide $\ell $ in two equal halves and consider the most northern part: 1 bit. The random variations of its coordinates is noise, not an available choice.
- (5)
- Point $R1(3.9;$11.8) is on Via Nomentana at 1.0 km from Porta Collina; divide in two equal halves the distance between $R$ and Porta Collina and consider the most northern half; 1 bit.
- (6)
- At the detour point, the first choice is on the angular range: divide the angular range $\left(90\xb0;180\xb0\right)$ in two halves and consider the most northern range $\left(90\xb0;90\xb0+45\xb0\right)$; 1 bit.
- (7)
- The angular range of step (6) above is further divided in two equal halves and one of the two is chosen. This decision splits in two sub-decisions: most northern and most southern angular ranges; in both cases: 1 bit.
- (8)
- Along the line defined by steps (6) and (7), consider the segment joining the detour point to Via Nomentana: divide it in two equal halves and consider the half closer to the detour point, 1 bit.
- (9)
- Divide in half the half segment chosen in the previous step, to better improve accuracy, take the half closer to the detour point; 1 bit. The coordinates of the point where Peter hits the stick to the ground are calculated from the equation of the line defined by the data just previously obtained.

## 8. Discussion and Conclusions

## Author Contributions

## Funding

## Conflicts of Interest

## Appendix A. Maria Valtorta’s Description of the Peter’s First Burial Site

**Figure A1.**Scheme of the crypt with the first Peter’s burial site, according to the MWs of Maria Valtorta. On the left a sketch of the crypt’s orientation, with respect to the north cardinal point, reported by Maria Valtorta [11], p. 34, with the inscriptions “Nord” (North) and “I luogo” (first site), the position of the altar “U” and the niche containing Peter’s relics indicated by an “x”, near the entrance to the tunnel that goes towards North-East.

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**Figure 1.**Aerial photograph of Tel Jezreel, evidencing the rectangular shape of the site, which originally had four towers at the four corners. The zoom in the right-bottom inset shows the ruins of one of the four towers (The photographs shown in Figure 1 have been published in D. Ussishkin. 2011 On Biblical Jerusalem, Megiddo, Jezreel and Lachish, Divinity School of Chung Chi College, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Lung‒kwong Lo ed., Hong Kong), https://www.academia.edu/3175337/On_Biblical_Jerusalem_Megiddo_Jezreel_and_Lachish, last access 10 November 2019).

**Figure 2.**(

**a**) Plan of the Peter’s Tomb in the Vatican: 1. Prop “wall g”; 2. Cavity inside the “wall g”; 3. Red wall; 4. II century aedicula (Trophy of Gaius); 5. A sepulcher under the floor. (

**b**) Vertical sketch of the Trophy of Gaius (Figure published on BAS Library (Biblical Archaeology Society Online Archive): Finegan, J. The Death and Burial of St. Peter, Biblical Archaeology Review 2, 1976, www.basilibrary.org/biblical-archeology/2/4/2, last access 2 September 2020), with highlighted colors to better show correspondences with panel (

**a**).

**Figure 3.**(

**a**) Small fragment of plaster with the graffiti proving the presence of the Peter’s relics in the archeological site; (

**b**) interpretation of the graffiti given by M. Guarducci. The red circle highlights a space between some letters or another possible partially visible incision, elements not considered in the interpretation proposed by M. Guarducci, as discussed in the main text.

**Figure 4.**Sketch of the map drawn by Maria Valtorta on 26 August 1948 about three different Peter’s burial sites, referred to the Roman walls [11], p. 14. On the map, she indicates the four Cardinal points and, from North to South: Ostriano, Nomentana, path traveled by Peter, Tiburtina, Prenestina, Casilina, Tuscolana, Appia Antica-Metella.

**Figure 5.**(

**a**) (Upper panel): Peter’s portrait drawn by L. Ferri, under Maria Valtorta’s guidance, in which Peter is walking on the rural road, between the two Roman consular roads (Via Tiburtina and Via Nomentana). He moves North-East, with an aqueduct visible behind him, directed almost orthogonally to his walking path [11], p. 12. (

**b**) (Lower panel): Sketch of Maria Valtorta’s bedroom, while she is “seeing” Peter going from the via Tiburtina to via Nomentana, along the rural road, as it can be evinced by the perspective analysis of the L. Ferri’s drawing.

**Figure 6.**Map of Rome drawn by Lanciani [54], with the main archaeological sites. The red line ending with an arrow represents the rural road described by Maria Valtorta, which connects Via Tiburtina to Via Nomentana. The black circles indicate the main catacombs near the two consular roads. In black, the path of the ancient Via Nomentana, different from the current one (in red). The red and blue dashed lines represent the distances indicated by Maria Valtorta: 1.0 km when Peter reaches the consular road; 1.5 km when he disappears from view for the downhill path a little further North of the consular road. It is also shown the aqueduct (blue lines) which flows south of Via Tiburtina, exiting from Porta Esquilina. The dark yellow band indicates the line-of-sight distance between the begin and the end of Peter’s path. At 2/3 of this band, a small red arrow indicates the detour path (100–150 m) leading to the point where Peter hits his stick to the ground, Peter’s first burial site according to Maria Valtorta’s MWs.

**Figure 7.**Map of Rome drawn by Lanciani [54] showing the main archeological remains between Via Tiburtina and Via Nomentana. The red–dotted lines sketch Peter’s path. The path of the ancient Via Nomentana is in black. The areas in red represent the catacombs. The region highlighted in blue is where Peter’s first burial site should be, according to the topographic elements provided by Maria Valtorta.

**Figure 8.**((

**a**), left panel) Map of the (green) region between Via Tiburtina and Via Nomentana, with the extensions of the catacombs [66], represented in blue, necessary to calculate the geometric probability of intersecting a circle of radius $R$ (white) with a catacomb area (blue). Notice that the paths indicated are not taken into account by the geometric probability calculations, but have been drawn just for the purpose of illustration. ((

**b**), right panel) Example of the convolution product, Equation (2), obtainable with $R=150$ m. The result for the Anonymous Hypogeum is shown in red; the results for the other 9 catacombs are shown in blue.

**Figure 9.**Continuous curves: probability defined by Equation (4), as a function of the radius R of the circle, both for all the catacombs present in the green region of Figure 8 or adjacent to it (blue curve), and for the single Anonymous Hypogeum (red curve). The circles represent the results of the simulations, Equation (5).

**Figure 10.**Map of the catacomb area between Via Tiburtina and Via Nomentana with all coordinates of the locations necessary for the Monte Carlo simulation; scale: $5.4\mathrm{units}=1000\mathrm{m}$. Via Tiburtina beginning at Porta Esquilina is traced with the black line joining $A\left(2.9,0.4\right)$ and $C\left(3.5,0.6\right)$. Via Nomentana is traced with a blue line; the point $R\left(6.1,14.0\right)$ is approximately $1.5$ km from Porta Collina, point $P\left(0.1,7.8\right)$; the point $R1\left(3.9,11.8\right)$ is approximately $1.0$ km from Porta Collina. Peter’s walk starts at some point of Via Tiburtina, between $A\left(2.9,0.4\right)$ and $C\left(3.5,0.6\right)$. The point $CP2\left(5.4,6.6\right)$ marks the breaking point of Peter’s straight walk. The blue short dashed arrow, set approximately at 2/3 of the total path between Via Tiburtina and Via Nomentana, locates Peter’s detour point $R2\left(4.7,9.5\right)$. “I” stands for the Anonymous Hypogeum. The dark blue area show catacombs’ areas with their barycenter’s coordinates.

**Figure 11.**Maps with the results of the simulation (5000 runs). (

**a**)

**Left panel**: Most southern angular range in step (5). The blue crosses give the starting point of Peter’s walk in Via Tiburtina; the blue crosses on Via Nomentana give Peter’s arrival point R1; R is where Peter disappears for the downhill path; the red “cloud” of points give the alleged Peter’s first burial site, i.e., the site where he hit the stick to ground (“stick point”). “I” stands for the Anonymous Hypogeum. The barycenter of the red area has average coordinates $\left(4.67\pm 0.12;9.85\pm 0.14\right)$, to be compared with those of I ($4.4;10.0)$, of Figure 10. The average distance from “I” is $61\pm 27\mathrm{m}.$ (

**b**)

**Right panel**: Most northern angular range in step (5). The barycenter of the red area has average coordinates $\left(4.80\pm 0.09;9.90\pm 0.16\right)$, to be compared with those of I ($4.4;10.0)$, of Figure 10. The average distance from “I” is $83\pm 19\mathrm{m}.$

**Figure 12.**

**Upper panel**: Probability density of the distance $d$(m) between the “stick point” and the Anonymous Hypogeum “I”, southern angular range in step (5).

**Lower panel**: Probability distribution that the distance exceeds the value indicated in abscissa. The vertical green lines mark $\pm 1$ standard deviation values (i.e, $27$ m).

**Figure 13.**Superposition, on the maps of Lanciani [54], of our reconstruction of Peter’s first burial site, obtained from the analysis of Maria Valtorta’s MWs. The gray (light red) cloud represents the result obtained from Monte Carlo simulations shown in Figure 11a (Figure 11b). The intersection of the two clouds is shown with a darker red color. The enlargement at the top left shows the two stairs that descend to the two hypogea: the northernmost one at St. Nicomedes (the current Anonymous Hypogeum); the southernmost one to the hypogeum not fully explored, of which we have reported an indicative diagram in red obtained from its description made by De Rossi [62].

**Table 1.**Description of the second hypogeum discovered by De Rossi in the ancient Villa Patrizi’s area.

Description |
---|

Just a little distance from Nicomedes’ cemetery—the actual Hypogeum Anonymous of Via dei Villini—a second hypogeum has been discovered in the mentioned Villa [62]. |

I have several times announced the discovery of Christian Hypogea in Villa Patrizi nearby Via Nomentana … Two descending stairways have been found: of the major, vast and very deep, I have reported in December 1864 (p. 93); of the second, more cramped and dug up only superficially, in March of this year (p. 24). They are little distance apart and, I think, they descend to different and distinct hypogea … a great cemetery built outdoor has been recognized in an area in the middle of which foundations and vestiges of a little basilica of rectangular shape with its apse have been found; in front of the vestibule there is the great stairway that descends to the hypogea. A little distant from this cemetery there is the minor stairway whose walls have locula of the usual cemeterial form. …. After discussing about this hypogeum, of which only the upper stairway is visible, I will talk about that which is below the basilica…. [59], p. 49. |

In the Bulletin of July 1865, at p. 49, 50, I declared that in Villa Patrizi, nearby Porta Pia in Via Nomentana, at a short distance from St. Nicomedes’ cemetery, it appeared the stairway of a second hypogeum, which seemed to me to be Christian, but independent of the previous mentioned cemetery. The Marquis Francesco Patrizi, in agreement with the Sacred Commission of Archeology, has had this crypt explored right away. Cleared the poor stairway…entrances have been found, to the right to a rough and small niche…; in front, a short and narrow corridor; to the left, again a small tunnel very ruined, to which did not seem prudent to continue the exploration … the religion of the buried in the hypogeum has been confirmed not only by the usual signs of underground Christian niches, but also by the Chi-Rho sign carved … and by a fragment of a fine slab of marble of a holy door with the image of a dove. A little marble of about the IV century found in the ruins of the stairway completes the other indications mentioned in 1865 of a vestibule built over ground in front of the entrance to this hypogeum. Therefore, it must have been somehow important [63]. |

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**MDPI and ACS Style**

De Caro, L.; La Greca, F.; Matricciani, E.
Saint Peter’s First Burial Site According to Maria Valtorta’s Mystical Writings, Checked against the Archeology of Rome in the I Century. *J* **2020**, *3*, 366-400.
https://doi.org/10.3390/j3040029

**AMA Style**

De Caro L, La Greca F, Matricciani E.
Saint Peter’s First Burial Site According to Maria Valtorta’s Mystical Writings, Checked against the Archeology of Rome in the I Century. *J*. 2020; 3(4):366-400.
https://doi.org/10.3390/j3040029

**Chicago/Turabian Style**

De Caro, Liberato, Fernando La Greca, and Emilio Matricciani.
2020. "Saint Peter’s First Burial Site According to Maria Valtorta’s Mystical Writings, Checked against the Archeology of Rome in the I Century" *J* 3, no. 4: 366-400.
https://doi.org/10.3390/j3040029