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Replica of “Peter’s Boat” installed in Vatican Museums

Bark of St. Peter

Musei Vaticani | Fair Use via YouTube

J-P Mauro - published on 10/11/23

While not expressly believed to be the boat that carried St. Peter and the Apostles, it is the same type of vessel and was dated firmly within the time period of Christ.

A new installation at the Vatican Museums will treat visitors to a glimpse of biblical history. A recreation of the Barque of St. Peter, also known as Peter’s Boat or “Everyone’s Boat” as Pope Francis calls it, will now greet visitors to the vast collections of art in what the Pope has called “everyone’s house.” 

The boat is a faithful replica of the ancient original Peter’s Navicella, a boat that was discovered at the bottom of Lake Tiberias, or the Sea of Galilee, in 1986. While this boat is not expressly believed to be the same one that carried Peter and the Apostles during the biblical narrative of Christ walking on the water and stilling the sea, it is the same type of vessel that is known to have been used at the time and is mentioned more than 50 times in the Gospels. According to See The Holy Land, radiocarbon dating placed the original boat firmly within the time of Christ’s life, between 120 BC and AD 40.

The original remains in Yigal Allon museum in Ginosar, in Galilee, to this day. The replica is a fully functional boat – as can be seen in the video below – and was gifted to Pope Francis by a historic family of  ship builders, the Aponte family, in March 2023. According to a press release, the construction of the replica was completed by the Aponte family in collaboration with the International Diplomatic Institute. 

The replica has the same dimensions as the original, measuring about 9 meters by 2 meters, and it stands as an imposing figure and permanent fixture of the Vatican Museums’ “Way of the Sea” exhibit. Pope Francis blessed the installation on October 10 before it was opened to the public. It is featured along boat models from all over the world and throughout history. 

Tags:
ArtBibleHistoryPope FrancisVatican
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