Chapter Four:  The Bones of the Triumvir



“In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock among many tribulations; after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people.”

                                                            ― St. Malachy O’Morgair


It’s well known that Nostradamus scrambled the order of the stanzas in his Centuries.  To truly comprehend the prognoses of the Provençal physician, therefore, we must seek to restore the lost order of the Quatrains.   My own preferred approach to this task is to “track” a specific theme through the Centuries, picking up on those Quatrains that appear to refer to related events.  We can then assume that these related verses were grouped together in the prophet’s original rendering.

Let’s try to apply this technique to the theme of St. Peter’s tomb.  Before we get into our initial scan of the ostensibly relevant Quatrains, however, we should first attempt to understand why Nostradamus took such a manifestly avid interest in this subject.  First off, we must recognize that he composed his prophecies during the period known as the Wars of Religion in 16th Century France.  As is true of most prophets, Nostradamus often peered into the future through the prism of the past, discerning the shapes of things to come in the patterns of current events of his own time.  In the French Wars of Religion, he found a presentiment of the great Religious War to be fought at the end of the Sixth Millennium ― the last and most destructive war of human history.

The 16th Century Wars of Religion pitted the entrenched Catholics of France against the rising tide of the Protestant Huguenots.  The ultimate prize of this bloody, ruthless struggle was the throne of France itself.  It’s noteworthy that Michel de Nostredame initially established his prophetic credentials by successfully predicting the fall of the Catholic Valois dynasty and the accession of the Protestant House of Navarre, in the person of King Henry IV.  Before Henry of Navarre would ride triumphantly into Paris, however, the two sides vied viciously in a contest of massacres, atrocities and abominations.  No act was too execrable, no deed too depraved to visit upon the opposing religionists.  In this turbulent scenario, Nostradamus saw the emerging outlines of our own era, with its pandemic of religiously inspired violence.

Perhaps the central issue of theological contention between the Catholic Church and the insurgent Protestants of the 16th Century was the bona fides of the Pope’s claim to be the legitimate successor of St. Peter.  Then as now, the historical basis of the claim of papal primacy has rested upon the supposed martyrdom and burial of the Apostle Simon Peter on Vatican Hill during the reign of Nero in 64AD.  On the other hand, Protestant theologians have pointed to the absence of historical evidence that the sainted Fisherman ever resided in Rome.  The earliest chronicles of Christian activity in Rome ― including the epistles of St. Paul ― make no mention of Peter’s presence there.[1]  Later assertions of a Petrine pedigree by the Church of Rome coincided with its effort to supplant the more prestigious Sees of Jerusalem and Alexandria as the center of world Christianity.  Modern historians find it extremely doubtful that Peter founded the Church in Rome.  Likewise, they consider the claim that he served as Rome’s first bishop to be “an unfounded tradition that can be traced back no earlier than the third century”.[2]

Based on the historical record, therefore, it’s quite likely that St. Peter’s interment beneath the main alter of the Roman basilica that bears his name is a fraud ― a fabrication out of the same whole cloth as the so-called “Donation of Constantine”, and probably of the same vintage.  As the fiction of Constantine’s bequest of Rome’s imperial power to Pope Sylvester was used to validate the papacy’s claim to supreme temporal authority, so the illusory throne of Peter has been deployed to establish Rome’s spiritual sway.  The Donation of Constantine was finally exposed as a rank forgery in the 16th Century during Nostradamus’ own lifetime.[3]  It appears that the prophet viewed this revelation as foreshadowing a parallel exposé in our own time, perhaps involving the authenticity of St. Peter’s tomb.  Nostradamus saw the religious wars of his day as symptomatic of the weakening of Rome’s secular and spiritual hegemony in the Western World.  Projecting the Vatican’s historical decline into the future, the French seer envisioned the devastating crisis that would enfold Roman Catholicism at the end of the Sixth Millennium (which corresponds to the beginning of the Third Millennium of the Christian era).

Nostradamus’ vision of an abrupt, unexpected disintegration of the Holy See in our times is consistent with the 12th Century prophecy of St. Malachy.  The latter, we recall, predicts that Pope John Paul II will have only two successors, and that one of those will be an Antipope.  Later, in the 19th and 20th Century, the same warning of an impending “eclipse” of the Catholic Church was repeated in ecstatic apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, the most notable of which occurred in La Salette, France, in 1846, and Fatima, Portugal, in 1917.  What’s particularly intriguing about Malachy’s prophecy, especially in the context of our discussion, is his reference to the last Pope as “Peter the Roman”.  This designation implies that the 21st Century Pope Peter will be distinguishable from his First Century counterpart because the former will truly be a Roman, while the latter was not.  In this regard, Malachy’s vision points to a much needed renewal of the Catholic priesthood, based upon the genuine martyrdom of “Peter the Roman” rather than the spurious tradition of Simon the Fisherman.

Figuratively speaking, therefore, the Basilica of St. Peter now stands as an edifice of lies.  Such edifices have the distinctive trait of appearing to be unshakeable right up to the moment when they begin to collapse ― and then they collapse virtually overnight.  We have the contemporary example of the precipitous collapse of Soviet Communism, another edifice of monolithic falsehood.  In fact, the bitter enmity that existed between the Vatican and the Reds was more a function of their hierarchal kinship than their philosophical differences.  In both cases, the extreme concentration of power at the top of the hierarchal pyramid was sustained by stripping the “priests” of one of the fundamental attributes of human autonomy.  In the case of the Communist Party “priesthood”, their inability to acquire property severely limited their opportunity to develop individual fiefdoms independent of the Kremlin.  Similarly, the celibacy imposed on the Catholic prelates has served the principal purpose of precluding potential family alliances which could undermine the absolute primacy of the Pope.

But, human nature being what it is ― and what God apparently intended it to be ― people are just not capable of consistently resisting the lure of sex and wealth.  Consequently, any hierarchy which is premised on its members resisting these temptations must, of necessity, impose a heavy blanket of secrecy over its internal business, lest it become known that the rule of self-denial is honored more often in the breach than in the observance.  In this sense, the Vatican rests on a foundation of secrecy much as the Kremlin once did.  There is, however, a fundamental “structural” problem inherent in even the thickest wall of secrecy: Once the smallest fissure opens in the wall, it begins to crumble.  The history of the late 20th Century demonstrated the unbelievable speed with which the bastions of Soviet secrecy disintegrated once the modest opening of Glasnost was made to appease world opinion.  And we are now perhaps witnessing the beginning of a similar scenario with respect to the Roman Catholic hierarchy.  Each lifting of the Church’s veil of secrecy releases the stench of a moral decay that goes back decades, even centuries.  As this stench begins to fill the nostrils of the general populace and the Catholic faithful, the calls for total disclosure and full reconciliation will become irresistible.  The question then becomes: Can the Catholic hierarchy, as it is currently constituted, withstand this onslaught of public scrutiny?

The figure of the Apostle Simon Peter makes an apt symbol for the widening crisis in Roman Catholicism for several reasons.  First, Peter embodies the historical contradictions of the Church’s position on clerical celibacy, since three of the four Gospels attest that the great Fisherman had a wife.[4]  It simply untenable for the Church to justify an exclusively male priesthood because the Apostles were men, and yet insist on the practice of celibacy contrary to the Apostolic model.  In fact, clerical celibacy was not at all the norm in early Christianity, and even in the Western Church it was not consistently practiced until the 11th Century.[5]  Secondly, the historical St. Peter never subscribed to St. Paul’s notion of foregoing the observance of the Mosaic Law in the practice of Christianity.[6]  Simon Peter remained a Jew to the end of his life, as did his Master Jesus of Nazareth.  When St. Malachy envisions a latter-day Pope Peter restoring the Church to its true roots, therefore, those roots clearly lie in the Judaism which the Apostle Peter never abandoned.


Peter’s Tomb and the Death of Pius XI


With this background, let’s turn now to consider how the theme of St. Peter’s supposed Vatican tomb plays out in the Centuries of Nostradamus.  Granting that the good Doctor “shuffled the deck” vis-à-vis the order of his Quatrains, still it’s unlikely that the current numbering is totally random.  For example, the prophet could hardly have overlooked the significance of the 66th Quatrain in Century VI, corresponding as it did to the ill-famed number of the Beast, 666.  So let’s start our hunt at that point:

At the foundation of the new sect,

The bones of the great Roman will be found,

A sepulcher covered in marble will appear,

Earthquake in April, buried evil.[7]


The original St. Peter’s Basilica was constructed by the Roman Emperor Constantine early in the 4th Century.  It was built on the site of an a First Century pagan necropolis on Vatican Hill, where stood a pair of marble columns flanking a sepulcher reputed to be the burial place of St. Peter.  The Emperor had the sepulcher enclosed in a massive cubical mausoleum made of marble and porphyry.[8]  This, then, would appear to be the “sepulcher covered in marble” to which Quatrain 6.66 is referring.  The pagan necropolis was rediscovered below the present-day Basilica in February 1939, when Vatican workmen were excavating a tomb for recently-deceased Pope Pius XI.[9]  Six months later, in September 1939, Father Josemaría Escrivá, an obscure Spanish priest attached to General Franco’s fascist army, published a book of 999 religious maxims entitled The Way.[10]  Father Escrivá’s tome would become the theological foundation of Opus Dei, a secretive, ultra-authoritarian sect which now dominates the Holy See.  In April 1939, one of the five most powerful earthquakes of the 20th Century rocked the South Pacific.

Thus far, all the pieces seem to fit nicely.  But several nagging question still remain.  Who was the “great Roman” whose bones were enclosed in Constantine’s marble mausoleum?  And what are we to make of the “buried evil” referred to in the stanza’s final line?  If we search for other stanzas in which the words “bones” and “marble” both appear, we find only one:

The bones of the Triumvir will be found,

Searching deep for an enigmatic treasure:

The peace of those around this cavity of marble

and metallic lead will be disturbed.[11]


These verses quite eerily describe a truly enigmatic series of excavations initiated by Pope Pius XII in 1939 soon after the death of his predecessor Pius XI.  According to Vatican lore, the workmen digging the tomb for the recently deceased Pontiff broke through the floor of the grotto under St. Peter’s Basilica into an ancient Roman necropolis.  Since this appeared to correspond to the First Century cemetery on Vatican Hill where Simon Peter was reputed to be buried, Pius XII authorized an archeological dig.  They ultimately uncovered not only the pagan necropolis, but also the marble mausoleum built by Roman Emperor Constantine over the dual-pillared burial monument marking the supposed tomb of the Fisherman.  In the course of these excavations, the graves surrounding Peter’s alleged resting place were necessarily disturbed and desecrated, as they had been when Constantine erected the original Basilica on the site.

If one is willing to endure a lot of Vatican red-tape, it’s possible to tour the excavations below St. Peter’s Basilica, as I did in April 2001.  While I was waiting to be guided through the restored pagan necropolis, I chatted with a young priest who was brimming with all sorts of historical details.  Among the things he told me was that Pius XII conducted the digging operation under a heavy shroud of wartime secrecy ― even going so far as to have the excavated soil carted away at night, so that the operation would not be observed by Allied aerial reconnaissance.  My informant also reported that there was considerable German involvement in the dig.  This latter fact struck a chord in my memory, since I knew that the Nazis had a strange occult obsession with searching for certain types of holy relics ― particularly those reputed to have mystical powers.  I recalled that the Germans during the war had excavated an area in southern France where the Visigoths were said to have buried the treasure they looted from Rome early in the Fifth Century.

What was the “enigmatic treasure” that the Nazis were looking for, and why should Pius XII have been helping them?  In their excavations in France, the Germans seemed to have been searching for the legendary Holy Grail.  The Grail is a magical chalice that was thought to be among the treasures taken from the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem by the Roman General Titus when he destroyed it ― in fulfillment of Christ’s prophecy ― in 71 AD.  The triumphal Arch commemorating Titus’ brutal suppression of the First Century Jewish rebellion still stands in the Eternal City, and on it one can see engraved depictions of his troops carrying off the Temple treasure and bringing it back to Rome.  Hence, when the Visigoth conqueror Alaric sacked the city three centuries later, the Temple treasure might have been part of the booty he took with him back to Gaul.  But, being Christians, the Visigoths respected the sanctity of Rome’s churches and refrained from looting them when they sacked the city.  So the other possible scenario would have the treasure still hidden in somewhere in the original St. Peter’s Basilica ― which would explain the keen interest of the Nazis in unearthing it.

As for the role of Pius XII in all of this, it was an outgrowth of his complicity in the rise of the Nazis to power in Germany.  While Pius was widely condemned in the war’s aftermath for his failure to actively oppose Hitler’s genocide, the history of his pre-war collaboration with Nazism has only come to light recently with the publication of John Cornwell’s controversial book Hitler’s Pope.[12]  Based on documents culled from the Vatican’s own secret wartime archives, Cornwell exposes Pius’ involvement in brokering the political deal which enabled Hitler to garner the votes in the German parliament to launch his dictatorship.  Before ascending to the papal throne as Pius XII, Eugenio Pacelli served as the Vatican’s Secretary of State, in which capacity he negotiated a Concordat with Hitler’s government.  The principal aim of the Concordat was to give the Pope the exclusive power to appoint and remove bishops in the German Church.

If he were to cooperate in the establishment of a papal dictatorship over the national Churches, however, Hitler expected the Vatican to reciprocate in kind by helping to advance his own dictatorial ambitions.  Pacelli proved more than willing to oblige.  The Catholic Center Party held the crucial bloc of votes in the German parliament to either defeat the Führer’s initiative or ensure its passage.  By arranging for these votes to be delivered to the Nazis, Pacelli made himself one of the architects and enablers of the abominable reign of terror that ensued.  Pacelli’s accomplice in this crime against humanity was the then-leader of the German Center Party, a priest named Ludwig Kaas.[13]  Kaas, who would later move into the Vatican and become Pacelli’s intimate “companion”, espoused the theory that authoritarian governments make the best partners for an authoritarian Church ― a view to which the future Pope earnestly subscribed.  In his role as personal confidante to Pope Pius XII, Monsignor Kaas also played a key role in the Vatican’s alleged discovery of the bones of St. Peter, as we shall subsequently discuss.

Pacelli’s cynical collaboration with Nazism would continue later in 1933, when the Vatican-Nazi Concordat was signed.  He allowed Hitler to characterize the Concordat as a moral endorsement of his regime by the Church, requiring that German Catholics, in the Führer’s own words, “put themselves without reservation at the service of the new National Socialist state”.[14]  As Nazi persecution of religious and ethnic minorities proceeded apace in the ensuing years, however, Pacelli’s boss Pope Pius XI became increasingly alarmed.  Perhaps the aging Pontiff had begun to regret his own implicit endorsement of fascism by entering into the Lateran Treaty with Mussolini in 1927.  Be that as it may, in 1938 Pius XI commissioned a Jesuit scholar to write for him a papal encyclical emphatically condemning all forms of fascism and anti-Semitism.  Although the text of the encyclical was drafted in September 1938, the Vatican hierarchy kept it away from the Pope for as long as they could.[15]

When the encyclical finally reached him in January 1939, Pius XI immediately began to make secret plans to stage a dramatic release of the anti-fascist document at a special synod of Italian bishops on February 11th.  That date, the Pope felt, was certain to underscore the importance of the new encyclical, since it was the anniversary both of the signing of the Lateran Treaty and his own papal coronation.  Vatican insiders leaked news of the Pope’s plan to Mussolini, who feared that the Pope’s new stance would abrogate the Lateran Treaty and strip his regime of its legitimacy in the eyes of Italian Catholics.  Il Duce arranged with his Vatican collaborators for his mistress’ father, Dr. Francesco Petacci, to administer the Pontiff’s medications on the night of February 10th.  Not surprisingly, the Pope was found dead the next morning.  The details of this assassination were recorded in the diary of French Cardinal Eugene Tisserant, which was discovered after his death.[16]

The fact that Pius XI was assassinated, and that his subsequent burial precipitated the Vatican’s search for St. Peter’s tomb, casts a new layer of meaning on another of Nostradamus’ prophecies.  Again, the prophet highlights the importance of this particular stanza by assigning it a highly recognizable number ― 3.65, the sixty-fifth Quatrain in Century III.

When the sepulcher of the great Roman is found,

The day after a new Pontiff will be elected:

Scarcely will the Conclave have approved the new Pope

[His predecessor] poisoned, his blood in the sacred chalice.[17]


It’s rather obvious that the “sepulcher of the great Roman” in Quatrain 3.65 is the same as the marble sepulcher in which the “bones of the great Roman” are said to be found in Quatrain 6.66.  It’s also quite plausible that the “sacred chalice” envisioned here refers to the Holy Grail, which was the “enigmatic treasure” alluded to in Quatrain 5.7.  We might speculate further that the murder of Pius XI ― a murder enacted in the interests of fascism and with the apparent complicity of Vatican insiders ― relates to the “buried evil” spoken of in Quatrain 6.66.

Because Pius XI was assassinated on the anniversary of his papal coronation, his reign lasted exactly 17 years.  It happens that the number 17 has a particular relevance to the theme of St. Peter.  In the last chapter of John’s gospel, the resurrected Christ appoints Simon Peter to shepherd his flock until his return.  Before doing this, however, Jesus instructs the Fisherman to cast his net for a prodigious catch of fish, numbering 153.  Adding up the numbers from 1 to 17, we find the sum is 153.

The prophetic significance of the number 153 apparently relates to the succession of Popes who trace their authority to St. Peter.  In that context, the 153rd Pontiff was Leo IX (1049-1054), who initiated the so-called “Reform Papacy” of the 11th Century.  While the Reform movement was ostensibly aimed at rooting out corruption within the Church, its principal thrust was the concentration of power in the hands of the Pope and his circle of Cardinals.[18]  As we mentioned earlier, this was the era in which the dogma of a celibate priesthood was imposed.  It was also the period during which the Papacy took on the trappings of a temporal monarchy, including the appropriation of the imperial purple vestments worn by the Roman Caesars.[19]  In this regard, critics of the Vatican’s absolutism have frequently invoked the image of the purple-arrayed harlot of Babylon in Chapter 17 of the book of Revelation ― another instance in which the number 17 strangely prefigures the Papacy’s approaching apocalyptic crisis.

The ominous import to the Vatican of the number 17 and its derivative 153 was evidently not lost on Nostradamus.  In the following Quatrain, he very clearly refers to the assassination of Pius XI as setting off a sequence of calamitous events, the consequences of which are only now becoming apparent.

After the see has been held for seventeen years,

It will change hands five times in a comparable period of time:

Then one will be elected at the same time [as another],

Who will not be too much in conformity with the Romans.[20]


Pope Pius XI held the Keys of St. Peter for exactly seventeen years from February 11, 1922 to February 11, 1939.  During the two decades beginning with the last year of his successor's reign, there were five occupants of the Papal throne, beginning with Pius XII, who died in October 1958, followed by John XXIII (1958 - 1963), Paul VI (1963 - 1978), John Paul I (Aug.-Sept.1978), and finally John Paul II, elected on October 16, 1978.  The latter, being the first non-Italian Pope in over four-and-a-half centuries, is often identified by Nostradamus’ modern interpreters as the one who is “not too much in conformity with the Romans”.  But a more careful reading of this stanza suggests that the French Prophet is instead referring to the Pope who will be elected after the reign of Polish Pontiff.  Interpreted in this manner, this Quatrain also conforms to St. Malachy’s prediction that John Paul II would have a pair of successors, both elected “at the same time”, one of whom would be an Antipope.


“Peter the Roman


Historically, Antipopes have been associated with disputed papal elections in which two candidates both claim victory.  Thus, the last true Pope, Malachy’s “Peter the Roman”, will be elected “at the same time” as another candidate, an Antipope who will also claim the papal throne.  St. Malachy calls this Antipope “the Glory of the Olive Tree”.  Since the Olive Tree typically appears in Scripture as a symbol of the Jewish people, Malachy’s prophecy clearly suggests that the Antipope will be a Jew who has converted to Catholicism.  In this sense, he will be the diabolical mirror-image of Peter the Roman, who ― despite his epithet ― will be break sharply with the conformity of the Roman priesthood by seeking to restore it to its Jewish roots.

It appears, therefore, that the next ― and last ― genuine Pope will take the name Peter.  Since the Roman Pontificate was supposedly initiated by the Apostle Peter, one might expect that the name Peter would have been chosen by many previous Popes.  But it’s a curious fact that not one of the 260-odd Catholic Pontiffs elected to date has opted to honor the great Fisherman by assuming his name.  Why?  St. Malachy’s prediction that Peter would be the last Pope doesn’t explain it, since more than 160 Popes had shunned the name of the great Apostle before Malachy ever received his vision in 1140 AD.  Moreover, Malachy’s list of future Popes was kept hidden in the Vatican archives until its first publication in 1559 (in time, by the way, for Nostradamus to have read them while he was completing his own prophecies).[21]  So why should all of the 220 Popes enthroned before the publication of Malachy’s list have avoided using the name of the alleged founder of their line?  Given the consistency of this pattern, one would have to assume that this unwritten taboo is deeply ingrained in the Church hierarchy.  One might also interpret this odd aversion for Peter’s name as an implicit acknowledgment of the spurious character of the Papacy’s Petrine legacy.

Be that as it may, the choice of the name Peter by a newly elected Pope would constitute nothing short of an act of outright rebellion against the Vatican hierarchy.  It would signal the intent of the part of the new Pontiff to radically transform the Catholic priesthood, to literally rebuild the Church on a new foundation.  Instead of the foundation of falsehood, whose emblem is the bogus tomb of St. Peter, the last Pope would lay down a foundation of Truth.  But to do so would necessarily expose the mountain of lies upon which the power of the Roman hierarchy rests.

This mountain of lies appears symbolically in the last of the three visions revealed by the Virgin Mary at Fatima in 1917.  In that vision, a future Pope is seen ascending a steep mountain, followed by a priesthood consisting of both men and women.  At the top of the mountain, they are fired upon by soldiers surrounding a large Cross made of the trunks of oak trees.  Mountaintop oak groves are, of course, notorious in the Jewish Scriptures as sites of idolatrous worship of such abominations as Baal and Moloch.  Also significant is the fact that the soldiers in the Fatima vision shoot arrows at the Pope and his entourage.  Scriptural imagery, particularly in the Book of Psalms, often employs arrows as a metaphor for the tongues of the wicked seeking to defame the Righteous.[22]  This tells us that the reactionary crusade to unseat Pope Peter will involve both physical violence and a vicious campaign of lies aimed at vilifying him.

One of the keys to the symbolism of this vision, which accompanied the as-yet-undisclosed Third Secret of Fatima, lies in the two Angels who stand beneath the Cross on the mountaintop.  These are the same two Angels who were sent by God to destroy the city of Sodom.  This explains why the beleaguered Pope is seen in the vision passing through a city in ruins on his way to the mountain.  It’s noteworthy, however, that the two Angels who visited annihilation on Sodom also saved a righteous remnant from out of the accursed city.  In the same way, the Fatima vision is telling us, the devastation soon to be visited upon the Holy See of Rome will spare a remnant of the Catholic bishops, who will form the nucleus of a renewed and purified priesthood.  As is described in the Torah, the Hebrew ritual for the purification of the Levite priests consisted of sprinkling them with the blood of a sacrificial victim.[23]  In the same way, the two Angels of the Fatima vision are seen aspersing the blood of the martyred victims over the assembly of Pope Peter’s disciples.

Thus, even though the Vatican continues to suppress the actual text of the Third Secret of Fatima, their disclosure (in June 2000) of the associated vision actually reveals the contents of the Secret itself.  The Scripture-based symbolism of the Fatima vision depicts the existing hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church as the spiritual equivalent of the city of Sodom, and with the same fate looming before it.  This is consistent with the last prophecy of St. Malachy, which envisions the destruction of Rome, “the seven-hilled city”.  The moral degradation of the Church’s priesthood now being exposed by the scandals of the sodomites and pedophiles is only the “tip of the iceberg”.  We should remember that when Lord Acton coined his famous aphorism ― “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” ― it was the Papacy to which he was referring.  (Acton, by the way, was himself a devout Catholic.)  In her Third Secret, Our Lady was warning the Catholic hierarchy that it would either have to purge itself of corruption or suffer a calamitous, bloody purgation unprecedented in its history.  Such a purgation will involve the martyrdom of many of the faithful, including the last Pope.  But it will leave in its wake a reborn Catholic Church with a reconstituted priesthood ― open to celibates and non-celibates alike and to the religious of both genders ― a priesthood purified by the blood of its martyrs.

Not surprisingly, the aspersed blood of purification which figures so prominently in the Fatima vision also crops up in the visions of Nostradamus.

The one whose face is sprinkled with blood

Of the victim recently sacrificed:

Jupiter in Leo, foreseeing through an omen:

[One] put to death then for the sake of the Bride.[24]


In Catholic theology, the Church is the Bride of Christ.  So here we have another prophetic rendering of the passion of a martyred Pope, who will lay down his life to restore the virtue of this “Bride”.  By doing so, he will forever dissolve the absolute monarchy of the Holy See and establish  himself as the founding “St. Peter” of a cleansed Church.  Our Provençal astrologer predicts that these events will begin to unfold when the planet Jupiter is found in the constellation Leo.  Jupiter was passing through the constellation of the Lion during the period from late September 2003 to mid-August 2004.  The good Doctor’s scenario for the martyrdom of Pope Peter is remarkably similar to Sister Lucy’s vision of a modern day sack of Rome by the army of Antichrist.

All around the great city,

Soldiers will be lodged throughout the fields and towns:

Paris to launch the assault, Rome incited [to uprising],

Then the Pontificate will be subjected to a great pillage.[25]


The sack of Rome will occur in the context of a great Schism in the Church, during which a French Antipope will violently seize the Vatican and inflict slaughter upon the loyalists of Pope Peter.  In the stanza preceding this one, Nostradamus describes the military leader who will breaches the Vatican walls on behalf of the Antipope:

Liberty will not be recovered,

A black, proud, villainous, unjust man will occupy it [Rome],

When the dispute over the papacy unfolds,

In the manner of Hitler, [he will establish] a fascist republic of Venice.[26]


The third Quatrain in this series envisions the “shipwreck” of the Pontificate in the aftermath of Antichrist’s pillaging the Vatican and installing his Antipope:

 By the Attic land, center of wisdom,

Which is at present the rose of the world:

Pontificate ruined, and its great preeminence

Submerged, a shipwreck amidst the waves.[27]


In Chapter One, we discussed this stanza with reference another Quatrain which speaks of papal bloodshed at a time “when the rose will flourish”.[28]   We mentioned that the “Attic land” represents the source of Western secular philosophy, which derives from ancient Greece ― as opposed to the West’s spiritual traditions, which are based on the Hebrew Scriptures.  At a very early stage, Christianity split into two branches:  one based on the sacred revelation of the Jewish Prophets, and the other based on the profane logic of the Greek philosophers.  The latter branch became known as Gnosticism, and was ultimately adjudged to be heretical.  As we have said, this was the heresy taught by Simon Magus and his followers.

One of the principal esoteric symbols of Gnostic mysticism was and is the “rose”.  To the Gnostics, the rose stands for the inner reality, or “microcosm”, which generates the outward reality of everyday experience.  Through various magical and occult arts, the Gnostics believe that this inner realm can be manipulated so as to transform physical reality.  Alchemy, which claims the ability to transmute base metals into gold, is an example of Gnosticism.  Another is the Rosicrucian movement ― originally a secret society dedicated to subverting the Church of Rome ― which mysteriously “reappeared” in Europe early in the 17th Century.  The “Rosy Cross” emblem of this sect is actually a depiction of Gnostic “microcosm”.  In its original form, this emblem consisted of a rose in the middle of a Celtic-style cross with arms of equal length.  Such a cross is an ancient symbol of the Earth, and is still used as such in astronomy and astrology.  Therefore, when Nostradamus speaks of the “rose of the world”, he is actually referring to the “Rosy Cross” emblem of Gnosticism.  In the following Quatrain, he speaks of this esoteric symbol even more explicitly:

The rose upon the middle of the great world,

For new deeds public bloodshed:

Those who speak the truth will be silenced,

Then, if need be, the awaited one will come late.[29]


When we revisit the “Rosy Cross” of Gnosticism in Chapter Seven, the identity of the “awaited one” mentioned in the last verse above will become clear.  For now, suffice it to say that the appearance of this False Messiah will coincide with the martyrdom of Pope Peter and terrible bloodletting among those who remain faithful to the true Church.  It’s also apparent that the creed of the “awaited one” and his followers will be some variety of Gnosticism ― the “rose upon the middle of the great world”. 

Elsewhere in his Centuries, Nostradamus envisions an apocalyptic crisis involving the Roman Catholic clergy.  The crisis that he prophesies appears to bear all the earmarks of the one now emerging in our times.  If that’s so, then the good Doctor’s prognosis clearly points toward a bloody reckoning:

The blood of the Church people will be poured out,

In as great abundance as water:

And for a long time it will not be stanched,

Woe, woe to the clergy, ruin and complaints.[30]


While the prophet “shuffled the deck” pretty thoroughly, even the best shuffle leaves some “cards” in their original order.  Consequently, we find a few instances in which two sequential Quatrains are obviously meant to be read together.  And this is one of them.  If we go on to the next Quatrain, we encounter a further elaboration of the outcome of the Vatican’s current crisis:

As a consequence of the power of the three temporal Kings,

The Holy See will be relocated to another place:

Where the reality of the spirit endowed with a physical body

Will be restored and recognized as the true See.[31]


Insofar as Nostradamus foresees the restored Church relocating its seat away from Rome, he’s in accord with the visions of the 19th Century Catholic prophetess, the Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich.  Anticipating a future schism in the Church, Anne Emmerich foretold that the true Pope would be forced to flee Rome, which would become the seat of a “dark, counterfeit Church” dominated by a “secret sect”.[32]  But, if we look closer at the last stanza, Nostradamus seems to be predicting something more than a mere geographical shift in the Holy See.  In a most physician-like way, he refers in the third line to the visceral unity of the Spirit and the Body.  It’s almost as if he knew that the Church’s denial of the reality ― and, yes, even the divinity ― of the Body would become the source of its undoing.  Quite astoundingly, he foresees that, with the translation of the Church’s physical location, will come a corresponding shift in its theological paradigms.  When the Church is reborn, therefore, it will rediscover that human sexuality is not something to be hidden and denied, but rather that it is the sacred energy that enlivens the Spirit.  To rediscover this particular truth, Catholicism ― and, indeed, Christianity in general ― must also rediscover its roots in Jewish mysticism, as revealed in the teachings of the Kabbalah.


The Triumvirate


From the first line of the foregoing Quatrain, it’s apparent that this watershed event in Church history is to be precipitated by the pressure of three political rulers, the “three temporal Kings”.  Nostradamus explains more about these three Kings in one of the two prose sections of his prophecies, the Epistle to King Henry II.  In the Epistle,[33] he outlines a future scenario in which the priesthood will descend into “whoring and lechery”.  The Church hierarchy will split into three factions, each one backed by one of the three competing temporal rulers.  One of these factions ― the one which will ultimately become dominant in Rome ― will be “led by madmen into lecherous lust”.  When the outraged public calls upon the civil authorities to intervene (as they already are beginning to do as we speak), the political powers will seize the opportunity to install their own pawn as Pope.

For the clergy there will be utter desolation from the warlords who will usurp power in Rome when they return from Malta and the Isles of Hyères.[34]


The Mediterranean islands of Malta and Hyères (off the coast of Provence) were notorious nests of piracy in Nostradamus’ time, which suggests the intervention of the secular authorities will unleash a wholesale pillaging of the Church’s wealth.  But the association of the “warlords” with Malta, in particular, also points to one particular faction with the Roman Catholic hierarchy which will play a Judas-like role in helping to deliver the Vatican to its would-be plunderers.  Perhaps the most secretive and sinister cabal operating within the Church is something called the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, more commonly known as the Knights of Malta.  An offshoot of the Knights Templar, who nearly succeeded in appropriating all of the Church’s wealth in the 13th Century, the Knights of Malta have been involved in several plots in the past century to wrest financial control of the Vatican.  The most recent of these schemes, in which the Knights acted in concert with Opus Dei and a neo-fascist Masonic lodge called P2, ended in the Vatican Bank scandals of the early 1980s.[35]  When the intrepid Pope John Paul I got in the way of the Knights’ financial intrigue in September 1978, he was poisoned.  When his successor John Paul II initially proved less than completely complicitous in the scheme, he too received a “warning shot” in St. Peter’s Square in May 1981.[36]

Continuing with the scenario laid out in the Epistle, we read of a series of world events that will coincide with the deepening crisis in Catholicism.  Among these events is a military assault on the “habitation of Abraham”,[37]  which corresponds to the modern city of Hebron in Palestine.  Hebron was in fact captured by Israeli forces in April 2002.[38]  Another event to which Nostradamus refers is the desecration of a venerated tomb in the Biblical town of Shechem.[39]  That town is now known as Nablus, and it was indeed the site of shameful desecration of the tomb of the Jewish Patriarch Joseph by an Arab mob during the early stages of the Palestinian uprising in October 2000.  Joseph’s tomb was again vandalized and set afire by a Palestinian mob in September 2002.[40]

With the intervention of the secular authorities in the internal affairs of the Church will come not only the plundering of the Vatican’s assets but also a forfeiture of the hierarchy’s power.  Those who refuse to fall into line with the domination of the Holy See by the “three temporal Kings” will be mercilessly persecuted.

It will seem that God has loosed Satan from his infernal prison to give birth to the great Dog and Doham, who will make such an abominable schism within the Church that the cardinals and bishops will find themselves blinded and impotent, not knowing what to make of it all, and they will be stripped of their power.  Then will commence a persecution of the Church the like of which has never been seen before.[41]


Nostradamus often uses a French term for “dog” to allude to the Third Antichrist.[42]  The first two Antichrists were Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler, both of whom are described with incredible prescience in the Centuries.  For all their crimes and atrocities, however, Napoleon and Hitler were but the prototypes for the consummate villainy of the Third Antichrist, who is now waiting in the wings, about to stride onto the stage of human history.  Nostradamus’ prophecy of the great Antichrist dovetails with that of the 13th Chapter of Revelation, in which the Antichrist is depicted as a False Messiah abetted by a False Prophet.  Logically, therefore, they are the pair described as “Dog and Doham” in this passage.  While the Provençal Prophet was a master of many languages, he seldom used English words like “dog” except when it served his purpose in setting up an anagram. Among the words one can create by rearranging the letters of “Dog and Doham” is “Dogma” ― perhaps a reference to the rigid dogmatism that will characterize Antichrist’s ecclesiastical accomplice.  It should be obvious that this dogmatic prelate is one and the same as the prophesied Antipope of whom we’ve been speaking.

Later the Epistle,[43]  Nostradamus reveals that the Antipope will be an adherent to a religious “sect” which will be promoted by the Triumvirate of temporal rulers and will spread throughout the World.  Initially, therefore, the Third Antichrist will not be a solitary tyrant, but will rule the World jointly with two other “Triumvirs”.  Not coincidentally, the pattern of the Triumvirate also characterized the rise to power of both Napoleon and Hitler.  Before becoming Emperor of France, Bonaparte was one of a triumvirate of Consuls.  Similarly, in the formative years of the Nazi Party, Adolf Hitler shared power in a triumvirate with Joseph Goebbels and Hermann Goering.

Consequently, the Antichrist of the Apocalypse may be characterized as a “Triumvir” is two senses.  First, as we have just said, he will initially share power as one of the Triumvirate of the “three temporal Kings” foreseen by Nostradamus.  Second, he will be the “third” in the line of historical Antichrists, the rightful heir to the odious legacies of Bonaparte and Hitler.  Nostradamus speaks of this “third one”, who will nonetheless rank “first” in perpetrating atrocities:

The third one ranks first, doing worse than Nero,

The valiant finished off, so much human blood to flow:

He will cause the ovens to be rebuilt,

Golden age dead, new King, great scandal.[44]


Since this is the 17th Quatrain of Century IX, we again find the number 17 associated with the fall of the Papacy and the rise of the Antichrist.  Moreover, it’s possible that Nostradamus intentionally positioned this stanza as Quatrain 9.17 as an allusion to the year 1917, when the Third Secret of Fatima was revealed.  In the last line, we see a reference to the “great scandal” engulfing the Catholic hierarchy ― the widening sexual scandal that is destined to bring an end to the “golden age” of the Vatican’s moral authority.  Particularly ominous is the allusion in the third line to the rebuilding of “ovens”, which suggests that the “third one” will resume the nightmarish Holocaust of Dachau, Treblinka and Auschwitz.  And the reference to Nero all but clinches the identification of the “new King” as the Antichrist, since the notorious figure 666 of the Beast of Revelation is a numerical rendering of the name “Nero Caesar”.


Simon Magus


Nero was, of course, the Emperor who supposedly ordered the execution of St. Peter.  According to one version of the story, Nero sought revenge on Peter because he had brought disgrace on the Emperor’s favorite magician, Simon Magus.[45]  If Nero was the original prototype of the Beast, then it must be said that Simon Magus was the original prototype of the False Prophet who serves as the Beast’s spiritual accomplice.  Although the pejorative “Magus” epithet ― meaning ”magician” ― was later attached to his name by Christian writers, he was actually known in Rome as Simon Magnus, or Simon the Great.  And, while the historical presence of Simon the Apostle in Rome is, at best, uncertain, Simon Magus’ sojourn in the Eternal City is quite well documented.  In fact, Simon Magus founded his own sect which came to dominate the early Christian community in Rome.  This sect later evolved into a form of Christianity known as “Gnosticism”.[46]

When Gnosticism was subsequently branded a heresy by the official Church, the fact that the original Christian community in Rome had been established by Simon Magus understandably became quite an embarrassing historical detail, and one that weighed heavily against the claim of Rome to be the supreme See.  The standard response of authoritarian institutions to inconvenient historical details is to alter them, and this was apparently what the Church of Rome hoped to accomplish by promoting the fiction of St. Peter’s role in founding the local Christian community.  As it often did in converting the tales of popular pagan deities into the “lives of saints”, the Roman Church simply merged the identities of Simon Magus and Simon the Fisherman, fashioning a fictional persona for the latter out of the historical character of the former.

That being the case, it’s likely that the victim of the execution decreed by Nero on Vatican Hill in 64 AD was not Simon Peter, but Simon Magus.  The fact that Simon Magus had at one time been the one of the Emperor’s favorites does not at all argue against this scenario, since Nero was notorious for disposing of such people once they fell into disfavor.  Apparently Simon had exceeded the limits of his magical powers in an effort to please the crowds who assembled for the diversions offered by Nero at his Vatican circus maximus.  When he fell from the sky during a levitation performance, the scorn of the rabble grated on the pride of his patron Nero, who petulantly demanded his crucifixion.  The image of “falling from the sky” is one that Nostradamus applies prophetically, to the Antipope who will be the modern counterpart of Simon Magus:

Under the oak tree of southern France, struck from the sky,

Not far there, the treasure is hidden:

He who for long centuries had been gathered in,

Found dead, the eye gouged out by ambition.[47]


Again we encounter the theme of the hidden, enigmatic treasure mentioned in Quatrain 5.7 in connection with the discovery of the “bones of the Triumvir”.  We have seen that this treasure, the legendary Holy Grail, is possibly buried under St. Peter’s Basilica or in southern France.  The mention of the oak tree in the first line also invokes the Fatima vision of the martyred Pope Peter slain beneath an idolatrous Cross of oak tree trunks.  Interestingly, the apocryphal stories of Peter’s execution in Rome have his body being buried beneath an oak tree on Vatican hill.[48]  In two subsequent Quatrains,[49]  Nostradamus also uses the phrase “struck from the sky” to describe the precipitous fall of the Antipope when he, like Simon Magus, incurs the wrath of his tyrannical patron.  One of these Quatrains suggests that the Antipope’s fall will coincide with a “falling out” among the three leaders who comprise Antichrist’s Triumvirate:

During the appearance of the bearded star [comet],

The three great princes will become enemies:

Struck from the sky, peace earth trembling,

Pau, Tiber inundated, serpent washed ashore.[50]


In Chapter Two we mentioned that the city of Pau in Navarre refers to the homeland of Henry IV of France, who Nostradamus uses as an Antichrist prototype under the acronym “Chyren”.  In the dialect of the Navarre-Basque region, moreover, the word pau translates as “peace” ― which reminds us that the Beast will initially present himself to the World as a latter-day “Prince of Peace”.

Putting all these clues together, we are being drawn toward a rather bizarre and startling conclusion.  If Simon Magus was the man actually crucified on Vatican Hill by Nero Caesar, then his was the tomb marked by the First Century burial monument that was later encased by Constantine’s marble sepulcher in the original St. Peter’s Basilica.  In that case, Simon the Great is the “great Roman”, the discovery of whose bones was prophesied by Nostradamus.  Assuming that the Roman Church later appropriated the story of Simon Magus’ death and applied it to St. Peter, then Simon must have been crucified head downwards, in the manner that the Apostle supposedly was.  While orthodox Church historians have never satisfactorily explained why the Fisherman would have requested to be crucified that way, its symbolism is readily understandable from the standpoint of the Gnostic creed espoused by Simon Magus.

Since Gnosticism is a form of dualism, it views the material World as entirely corrupt and morally inverted.  To achieve salvation, therefore, the Gnostic seeks to reverse all of the accepted norms of this World, to figuratively turn temporal reality “on its head”.  The Gnostic symbolism of the inverted crucifixion is confirmed by the earliest Christian account of St. Peter’s execution, which appears in the apocryphal scripture known as the Acts of Peter.  In that rendering, St. Peter, while hanging inverted on the cross, delivers a brief speech explaining to his disciples why he requested that mode of crucifixion.   In his speech Peter quotes a passage from the Gospel of Thomas, a principal source of Gnostic teachings:

“You must know the mystery of all nature… For the first man, whose likeness I have in my appearance, in falling head downwards, showed a manner of birth that was not so before … He therefore … established the whole of this cosmic system … in which he showed what is on the right hand as on the left, and changed all the signs of their nature, so as to consider fair those things that were not fair, and take those things that were really evil to be good.  Concerning this, the Lord says in a mystery: ‘Unless you make what is on the right hand as what is on the left and what is on the left hand as what is on the right and what is above as what is below and what is behind as what is before, you will not recognize the Kingdom.’  This conception, then, I have declared to you, and the form in which you see me hanging is a representation of that man who first came to birth.”[51]


Thus, the symbolism of the inverted crucifixion is directly linked to Gnostic teaching regarding the irredeemable corruption of the material universe.  The pictorial representation of that teaching survives today in the image of the Hanged Man appearing in the deck of Tarot cards, which were originally used as teaching aids by medieval Gnostics, such as the Cathars of southern France.             One of the philosophical consequences of viewing mundane reality as essentially demonic is the belief that reality can manipulated by the invocation of demons.  For that reason, there has always been a strong nexus between occultism and dualistic creeds, such as Gnosticism.  In fact, the storied feats of Simon Magus were attributed to his skill in manipulating the power of demons.  For that reason, Simon served as the model for Goethe’s demon-invoking character Faust.  One of the most memorable scenes in Goethe’s tragedy involves Faust’s participation in Walpurgis Night ― a sort of annual orgy of demons and their occult worshipers.  Traditionally, Walpurgis Night is the eve of May Day, the last night of the month of April.  Nostradamus seems to be referring to that date in one of his most enigmatic stanzas:

The tenth day of April by Gothic reckoning

Revived again by devilish people:

The fire extinguished, diabolic assembly

Searching for the bones of the Demon of Psellus.[52]


“Gothic reckoning” pertains to one of the ancient calendar systems that were replaced by the current Gregorian calendar late in the 16th Century.  One of the characteristics of the old calendar systems, such as the Julian calendar, is that the same date occurs later than it does in our modern calendar.  Hence, by “Gothic reckoning”, the tenth of April would fall at the end of our month of April.  Of particular interest, in terms of our inquiry, is the mention in the last line of “the bones of the Demon of Psellus”.  Michael Psellus was an 11th Century Byzantine writer who authored one of the earliest treatises on demonology, entitled De Daemonibus.  In his prose Preface to the Centuries, Nostradamus relates how he burned several centuries-old volumes of “occult Philosophy”, fearing the malevolent uses they might be put to after his death.  Psellus’ book is thought to have been among those that the good Doctor consigned to the flames.  Addressing his son and heir César, Nostradamus explains the evil he sought to avert by destroying Psellus’ occult manual:

Thus, so that you might not be led astray in the future in a search for the perfect transformation of silver, or of gold, or of incorruptible metals under the earth, or hidden in the sea, I have reduced them to ashes.[53]


This passage implies that the demonic manipulation of physical reality, as explained in books like Psellus’, aims at the “alchemists’ dream” of transmuting base metals into gold and silver.  It’s not coincidental, moreover, that the legendary Holy Grail was said to have the miraculous power to transform ordinary matter into precious objects.  While the Grail is typically represented as a golden Chalice, the latter is simply an emblem for the occult knowledge which the Grail embodies.  As we’ve already seen, Nostradamus’ prophecies indicate that the search for the Grail is somehow tied in with search for the bones of “St. Peter”, aka Simon Magus.  We’ve also learned that the number 17 and its expanded derivative 153 furnish important “clues” in this search.  Pursuing this lead to Quatrain 1.53, we read the following:

Alas!  the people will see a great one tormented

And the holy law in utter ruin,

[Replaced by] other laws throughout Christendom,

When a new source of gold and silver is found.[54]


The description, in the first two lines, of a “great one tormented” and the “holy law in ruin” fits neatly into the scenario of a martyred Pontiff and the installation of a “dark, counterfeit Church” in Rome.  Apparently, the forces behind this Vatican coup will have at their service the diabolical power of the Grail ― the “new source of gold and silver” ― with which they will purchase the loyalty of the venal.  As for those few who cannot be bought, like Pope Peter and his disciples, they will either be killed or driven into exile.  In three separate Quatrains, Nostradamus links this exodus of the true Church out of Rome to the discovery of a column or pillar of porphyry.[55]


The Smoke of Satan


Porphyry is a semi-precious stone which, because of its imperial purple color, became a architectural emblem of the Roman Caesars.  When the Papacy of the 11th Century appropriated the imperial trappings of the Caesars, they donned purple vestments and erected porphyry columns.  But, ironically, the porphyry column also had a specific relevance to St. Peter in early Christian iconography.  It should be remembered that the Apostle Peter who is portrayed in the Gospels is not a wholly “good” individual.  He has a distinct “dark side” which surfaces on a few occasions.  On one of these occasions, Christ even addresses him as “Satan”.[56]  His most infamous lapse into the dark side of his persona occurs when he deserts Jesus and denies knowing him on the night of his arrest.  The third and last of his denials is followed by the crowing of a cock ― as prophesied hours before by Christ ― which fills Peter with shame and causes him to revert to his ”good” self.  According to early Christian lore, the cock that crowed at St. Peter was standing on a column of porphyry.  In fact, the original porphyry column was said to have been removed from Jerusalem by St. Helena (Emperor Constantine’s mother) and placed in the Lateran Church in Rome.[57]

 It was a longstanding traditional belief that the crowing of a cock at dawn dispelled the demons and evil spirits who go abroad at nighttime.[58]  In a manner of speaking, therefore, the crowing of the cock drove the Christ-denying demon out of St. Peter.  The porphyry pillar on which the cock stood thus becomes a reminder that there is a “dark side” to the great Fisherman.  It’s conceivable that this symbolism also relates to the two columns of marble and porphyry that frame the supposed burial monument of St. Peter beneath the Basilica in Rome.  In any case, it’s the unearthing of this dark side of the Petrine legacy to which Nostradamus is certainly alluding in his references to the pillar of porphyry.

As we mentioned earlier, porphyry and marble were the materials used in the construction of Constantine’s 4th Century cubical mausoleum encasing St. Peter’s purported tomb.  If one visits St. Peter’s Chapel in the grotto below the Basilica, one can see, through the leaden metallic grillwork behind the alter, a white marble wall with column-like porphyry stripes, which is part of Constantine’s mausoleum.  In Quatrain 5.2, we read that the “bones of the Triumvir” would be discovered in a “cavity of marble and metallic lead”, so this seems to fit the bill.  But when the German archaeologists opened the sepulcher in 1942, they found no human remains within it.  Perhaps the answer lies in another Quatrain, which also speaks of a tomb encased in marble and lead:

The King exposed will complete the slaughter,

After having found his origin:

Rush to open the tomb of marble and lead,

Of the great Roman with a Medusine insignia.[59]


Again, in the first line, we have the prediction that the Antichrist will resume the genocidal Holocaust initiated by Adolf Hitler.  The demonic spirit that will invest the Beast has its origins in the “buried evil” associated with the tomb of the “great Roman”, Simon Magnus.  In the pagan mystery religions of the ancient Mediterranean, the “Medusine insignia” was a device used to maintain secrecy by scaring off the curious.  According to the myth, anyone who looked at the face of the Medusa would turn to stone.  Apparently, Nostradamus intended the Medusa to serve as a metaphor of sorts:  The man who would have the courage to penetrate the shroud of secrecy would become “stone”, in the sense that the name Peter means “stone”.  Thus, the Provençal Prophet is speaking, albeit somewhat cryptically, of Pope Peter ― that is, St. Malachy’s “Peter the Roman”.

Along with the First Century burial monument, Constantine’s mausoleum also enclosed an adjoining marble wall which was covered with ancient graffiti.  When the German archaeologists failed to find any bones in monument itself, they began to examine the so-called “graffiti wall”.  They found that it contained a cavity, but when they examined its contents in 1942, they uncovered only an a few bone fragments.[60]  It’s interesting that the graffiti on the wall consisted primarily of the a symbol called the Labarum, consisting of the superimposed Greek letters chi and rho.  Parenthetically, the combination of these two Greek letters is the basis of Chyren, which is one of Nostradamus’ code-names for the Antichrist.  The Labarum originated in a vision that Constantine experienced on the eve of his victory at the Milvan Bridge in 312 AD, which secured for him the imperial throne.  In his vision, the Chi-Rho insignia appeared in the sky, accompanied by the words In Hoc Vinces, meaning “In this Sign, you will conquer”.  At the time of his vision, Constantine was a worshiper a solar war-god known as Sol Invictus, and he interpreted the Labarum as a sign from that deity.

Since no human skeleton was found either in neither the sepulcher nor the graffiti wall, the story might have ended there, with the search for St. Peter’s bones having been in vain.  But instead, the story takes a strange twist which makes it all the more puzzling.  It seems that Pope Pius XII did not entirely trust the German archaeologists who were conducting the excavations beneath St. Peter’s Basilica.  He therefore assigned his most trusted associate, Monsignor Ludwig Kaas, to “monitor” their activities.  Kaas, we remember, was the German priest who had headed the German Center Party when it cast the crucial votes in the Bundestag to confer dictatorial powers on Chancellor Hitler.  Kass, it seems, had been instructed by Pius to remove the bones from the cavity in the graffiti wall before the German scientists could find and examine them.  Kaas then kept these bones locked up in his Vatican office in a box labeled “bones-urn-graf[itti]”, where they supposedly remained “forgotten” for over twenty years.

We can only surmise that Pius XII feared the conclusions that might have been reached by the Germans had they analyzed the bones that Kaas removed from the graffiti wall.  It was not until the reign of Pope Paul VI that the bones where “rediscovered”, at which time the Vatican closely controlled their analysis so as to insure the “correct” interpretation.  On July 27, 1968, Paul VI announced that the bones had been positively identified as those of St. Peter.  But the only “identification” of the bones was performed by an obscure anatomy professor from Palermo, Sicily, who opined that they had belonged to a rather short old man.  The role of Pope Paul VI in this mystery is itself rather intriguing, since, as the Vatican’s under-Secretary of State, he had helped organize the “rat-line” by which many high officials of the Third Reich escaped to South America at the end of the Second World War.[61]

The bones taken by Kaas from the graffiti wall were found wrapped in a gold-embroidered purple cape.  This circumstance was cited by the Vatican’s “experts” as indicating that the remains were those of an important Church dignitary.  The problem with this argument, however, is that Church dignitaries did not start aping the Roman emperors by wearing purple capes until a thousand years after St. Peter’s death.  In First Century Rome, only someone associated with the royal family ― as Simon Magus had been ― would be allowed to “wear the purple”.  Another circumstance for which the Vatican offered no satisfactory explanation was that the bones of “St. Peter” had been found mixed in with the bones of several animals, including a cock, a pig, a bull and a lamb.  This is significant because such animal bones were used in the ritual invocation of demons, as described by such occult writers as Michael Psellus and Cornelius Agrippa.  Therefore, we might expect to find such animal bones in the tomb of an occult icon like Simon Magus.

Whatever the exact details of the “Devil’s bargain” entered into by Pope Paul VI over the accursed bones, the dolorous consequences for the Roman Catholic Church soon began to become evident.  The prestige and revitalization which the Church had enjoyed after the reign of the saintly Pope John XXIII and his Second Vatican Council was soon completely dissipated.  Before the end of Paul’s fifteen-year reign, the seeds of the current demoralization of the Catholic priesthood had already taken root, and the aging Pontiff despaired to observe the “smoke of Satan” rising within the walls of the Vatican itself.[62]

The prophecies of Nostradamus clearly warn us, however, that there remains an unwritten chapter to this story.  The demonic powers that lay entombed for centuries with the bones of Simon Magus have been set loose within the walls of the Vatican and have taken hold of the Church hierarchy, leading them helter-skelter toward their own destruction.  In the last chapter of the story, a World leader, initially one of a Triumvirate of rulers, will step forward to “save” the Princes of the Church, only to cruelly betray them and install an Antipope as his own vassal.  At that juncture, the dark side of the spirit of St. Peter ― the one expelled by the crowing of the cock ― will have achieved a calamitous, albeit temporary, supremacy in Rome.  In a manner of speaking, the bones of St. Peter will have been transformed into the “bones of the Triumvir”. 




Up to this point, we have examined visions of events leading to the rise of Antichrist and his domination of the Roman Catholic Church.  The next logical next stop in this spiritual journey of ours should take us into a study of prophecies concerning the identity of the Beast.  And indeed it will ― in part.  But to deal with Antichrist only as an individual man is to fall into his cloud of deception, because we thereby fail to see ourselves as already part of his abominable body.  This embodiment of mankind’s collective false identity corresponds to an ancient idol known as Moloch, which will be the theme of the next chapter.




Chapter Four:  The Bones of the Triumvir


[1]. As one respected Church historian has observed:  “the fact is that we have no reliable accounts either of Peter’s later life or of the manner or place of his death.”  Eamon Duffy, Saints & Sinners, A History of the Popes, p.1 (Yale Univ. Press, 1997)


[2]. D.W. O’Connor, Peter in Rome, p. 207 (Columbia Univ. Press, 1969)


[3]. While Lorenzo Valla, a papal aide, proved the Donation of Constantine to be a forgery in 1440, the book disclosing his findings was not published until 1517.  See Peter DeRosa, Vicars of Christ, p.42 (Crown Publishers, 1988)


[4]. Matthew 8:14, Mark 1:30, and Luke 4:38


[5]. Duffy, op. cit., p.89


[6]. St. Paul, in the second chapter of his Epistle to the Galatians, rebukes Peter for his strict adherence to Jewish rituals.


[7]. C6Q66


[8]. Robert J. Hutchinson, When in Rome, p.92 and 98 (Doubleday, 1998)


[9]. Id. p.85


[10]. Robert A. Hutchinson, Their Kingdom Come, op. cit., p.83


[11]. C5Q7


[12]. John Cornwell, Hitler’s Pope, the Secret History of Pius XII (Viking, 1999)


[13]. Id. p.133-136


[14]. Id. p.152


[15]. Nino LoBello, The Vatican Papers, p.20-24 (New English Library, 1982); National Catholic Reporter, March 8, 1996, p.13


[16]. LoBello, op. cit., p.67-70


[17]. C3Q65.  My reader will recall that in Chapter One we applied this same Quatrain to the assassination of Pope John Paul I.  Several of Nostradamus’ prophecies refer to multiple events which share a common thread.


[18]. Duffy, op. cit., 89-101


[19]. Ernst Kantorowicz, Laudes Regiae, p.138 (Univ. of California Press, 1958)


[20]. C5Q92


[21]. St. Malachy’s prophecies were first published by the Benedictine historian Arnold Wion in his book Lignum Vitae, published in 1559.


[22]. E.g., Psalms 11:1-2 and 64:2-4


[23]. Exodus 29:21; Leviticus 9:30


[24]. C2Q98


[25]. C5Q30


[26]. C5Q29.  The last line may refer to the fact that, after the fall of Mussolini at the end of the Second World War, Hitler set up a puppet government in northern Italy.


[27]. C5Q31


[28]. Chapter One, “The Fall of Papacy”, fn.88, quoting from C2Q97


[29]. C5Q96


[30]. C8Q98


[31]. C8Q99


[32]. Yves DuPont, Catholic Prophecy, p.60-71 (TAN Books, 1970)


[33]. Epistle ¶ 28-37


[34]. Epistle ¶ 33


[35]. In fact, the principal P2 architect of the take-over of the Vatican Bank was a prominent Knight of Malta named Umberto Ortolani.  Ortolani was a Vatican insider who “pulled the strings” to elect the pliable Giovanni Battista Montini to be Pope Paul VI in 1963.  See David Yallop, In God’s Name, p.118-199.


[36]. As reported by the Associated Press (July 10, 2000), the Pope’s assailant Mehmet Ali Agca now contends that his mission on May 17, 1981, was to wound the Pope at the behest of a faction within the Vatican itself.


[37]. Epistle ¶ 33


[38]. World Tribune, April 29, 2002


[39]. Epistle ¶ 34-35.  These passages refer to the desecration of a venerated sepulcher in the city of “Achem”, which is a variation on the name “Shechem”.


[40]. News Telegraph (UK), September 18, 2002


[41]. Epistle ¶ 32-33


[42]. See C2Q41, C10Q29 and Epistle ¶ 28


[43]. Epistle ¶ 37


[44]. C9Q17


[45]. According to the apocryphal “Acts of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul”, Peter struck Simon Magus down while the magician was in flight over Rome.


[46]. Encylopedia Biblica, “Simon Magus


[47]. C1Q27


[48]. “Acts of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul”


[49]. C2Q43 and 56


[50]. C2Q43


[51]. “The Acts of Peter”, The Other Bible, Willis Barnstone, ed., p.443 (Harper SanFrancisco 1984)


[52]. C1Q42


[53]. Preface ¶16


[54]. C1Q53


[55]. C1Q43, C9Q32 and C10Q93


[56]. Mark 8:33


[57]. Rev. S. Baring-Gould, The Lives of the Saints, v.12, p.470 (Edinburgh 1914); Marilyn Aronberg Lavin, “The Rooster on the Column”, Etruria Oggi, No. 45, p.46, fn.18


[58]. See e.g., Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act I, scene i, lines 147-164.


[59]. C9Q84


[60]. The facts regarding the archaeological investigations here and in the ensuing text are taken from LoBello, op.cit., p.9-15, and R.J. Hutchinson, op.cit., p.93-99.


[61]. U.S. News and World Report, Nov. 15, 1999, vol. 127, no. 19, p.44


[62]. Pope Paul VI, June 29, 1972, on the occasion of the ninth anniversary of his coronation.