Soon after the Emperor's visit to Rome, his aged mother St. Helena made her famous pilgrimage to Jerusalem, during which, according to later legend, miracles which revealed the true Cross occurred. Churches were built on the sites of the Passion and Resurrection, of the Ascension, of the Nativity at Bethlehem. The nails which had pierced the hands and feet of the Savior were sent to the emperor who used them as protective charms. On all sides fresh sacred places and new relics of the saints of old were being disclosed; and, whilst the theologians were debating the highest mysteries with much subtlety and intellectual acuteness, a very different sort of Christianity from that of the Creeds was being developed. The popular faith was rapidly becoming one of sacred spots, of wonder-working relics, of a hierarchy of saints, each varying in his power in Heaven, but all ready to act as intermediaries for sinners. A stream of pilgrims set in towards Jerusalem and soon another was in motion in the direction of Rome, crowded as it was with relics of the martyrs, and, above all, as the scene of the labors, suffering and burial of the great Apostles Peter and Paul.

The early history of the great Church of Rome is indeed disappointing. Of its importance there can be no doubt; but by some curious fatality, not a single outstanding name is connected with it. No native writer comes forward to give its traditions the weight of contemporary authority. Its many inscriptions supply us with material for inference rather than with definite facts. Even the Liber Pontificalis, a later work which gives us all the writers knew of the popes, tell us practically nothing of any before Silvester. The silence regarding St. Peter is therefore more regrettable than unaccountable; and we have now to show how he gradually appears almost in solitary grandeur, for even the Apostle Paul falls into the background when Peter begins to rule Rome.

from pages 220-221, Peter: Prince of the Apostles