confession

Latin: confessio, acknowledgment

A term originally used to designate the tomb of a martyr; later, the altar erected over the tomb, the underground cuhiculum which contained the tomb, the high altar of the basilica erected over the tomb, the basilica itself; or even the new resting place to which the remains of a martyr were translated, or the hollow reliquary in an altar. The most celebrated confession, in the sense of tomb, is that of Saint Peter, under the high altar of Saint Peter’s, Rome. The relics of Saint Peter, originally interred in a stone sarcophagus in an underground vault on the Via Cornelia, were secretly removed to the catacombs of Saint Sebastian during the persecution of 328, and from there transferred to the Vatican a basilica being erected over them by Constantine. The vault in the Confession of Saint Peter has not been opened since the 9th century.