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'Peter is here': Untold story of astonishing search for the apostle

Peter's Bones are not in Rome. Peter NEVER went to Rome!

It’s arguably one of the most significant discoveries in the history of the world, accomplished by an improbable collection of characters through a complex series of improbable developments. 

Yet few are aware of the find – for reasons that become evident as the saga is told – and even fewer know the whole story and the threads the players wove into the events of World War II and their influence on its outcome.

John O'Neill

John O’Neill

The discovery was the bones of the Apostle Peter, a scientifically verified find that was authenticated only recently under the leadership of Popes Benedict and Francis. The search also uncovered startling new evidence – hidden for nearly two millennia – of a thriving Christian community rooted in belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ at a time of intense Roman persecution.

The storyteller, in the newly released book “The Fisherman’s Tomb,” is perhaps as improbable as the story. Yet, like the characters, perfectly positioned.

John O’Neill is known as the face of the Vietnam swift boat veterans who many believe prevented John Kerry from being elected president of the United States in 2004. (O’Neill and the more than 200 veterans who came forward still stand by their story despite the establishment media’s boilerplate dismissal of “discredited claims.”)

O’Neill, a retired Houston lawyer, was co-author of the New York Times bestseller that rocked the 2004 election, “Unfit for Command,” the bible of the campaign of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and “The Fisherman’s Tomb,” is his first book since then.

This time, amid a cynical culture that disregards the claims of Christianity as myth, he endeavors to set the record straight and tell for the first time the whole truth about the 75-year search for Peter.

A skeptic himself by nature, O’Neill makes the case in a well-written, engaging, novelistic fashion, undergirded by his lawyerly reliance on reason and verifiable evidence.

It’s the story of a risky, top-secret endeavor launched in 1942 that never could have been accomplished without the help of a humble, enormously wealthy and generous Texas oilman whose lifelong insistence on anonymity and his belief that he was a partner with God in his vocation made him a perfect accomplice.

It was O’Neill’s friendship with the son and other descendants of the late oilman, George W. Strake Sr., his familiarity with oil exploration as a senior partner for a large international law firm in Houston, personal interest in archaeology, lifetime of researching complex global matters and faith in God that compelled him to write the book.

“Sometimes a story finds an author rather than the reverse,” writes O’Neill in the foreword, noting he had resolved not to write again after “Unfit for Command,” despite many offers.

“It’s a shocking combination of all kinds of serendipitous circumstances, and it’s hard not to attribute it to anything but God wanting the story out,” said O’Neill in an interview with WND.

Even more against all odds is the story itself.

George W. Strake

George W. Strake

It took Strake becoming immensely wealthy through the unlikely discovery of the country’s third largest oil field during the Great Depression in an area near Houston every other “wildcatter” had given up on, O’Neill noted. It required the uncovering of clues through the digging of a grave for a deceased pope, the courageous vision of his papal successor to pursue it – the gamble of disproving church tradition or providing earth-shattering, faith-building evidence – and a workman falling through a floor into an unknown, wondrous underground realm of color-rich Roman antiquities. And it couldn’t have been done without a brilliant, uniquely equipped, female pioneer archaeologist who entered the project as a devoted scientist with no religious faith and finished it as a believer.

The archeologist, Margherita Guarducci, was a genius, O’Neill said, and “probably the only person who could have decoded everything to find Peter.”

According to church tradition, Peter, one of the three disciples closest to Jesus, was executed in Rome and chose to be crucified upside down, because he thought himself unworthy to suffer precisely as Jesus did. But until Guarducci’s find, there was scant evidence the great apostle had even been in Rome.

The discovered bones, at a site predicted by church tradition but dismissed by naysayers, were of a robust 65-year-old man who bore the marks of violent crucifixion.

Guarducci homed in on the site after deciphering coded inscriptions that declared: “Peter is here.”

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