Loading
Test ‘seems to confirm’ bone fragments are St. Paul’s, Pope Benedict says
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI

.- Speaking at a service to mark the end of the Pauline year, Pope Benedict has announced that scientific tests apparently confirm a sarcophagus long believed to be the tomb of St. Paul contains remains dating from the first or second century.

Archaeologists recently unearthed and opened a white marble sarcophagus located under the Basilica of St. Paul’s outside the Walls in Rome. The faithful have believed the sarcophagus to be the tomb of the Apostle Paul.

When Pope Benedict brought the Pauline Year to a close yesterday,  he said that carbon dating tests on bone fragments show them to date from the first or second century.

"This seems to confirm the unanimous and uncontested tradition that they are the mortal remains of the Apostle Paul," he said.

Tradition holds that St. Paul was beheaded in Rome in the 1st century during a persecution of early Christians by Roman emperors. Bone fragments from St. Paul’s head are believed to be in St. John Lateran, another Rome basilica, while his other remains are believed to be in the sarcophagus.

Archaeologists who opened the sarcophagus discovered the bone fragments alongside some grains of incense, a “precious” piece of purple linen with gold sequins and a blue fabric with linen filaments, Pope Benedict said.

In 2002 Vatican archaeologists began excavating the 8-foot-long tomb of St. Paul, which dates from at least the year 390 A.D.

The top of the coffin has small openings which were covered with mortar. In ancient times, Christians would insert offerings or try to touch the remains through the openings.

A related discovery was announced on Saturday in L’Osservatore Romano. Inside the catacombs of St. Tecla in Rome, a fresco which depicts St. Paul was discovered on June 19. The round fresco is edged in gold and features the emaciated face of St. Paul.

It is described as the oldest known icon of the Apostle, according to the Vatican daily.

Monsignor Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Vatican’s culture department, said the discovery was an “extraordinary event” and an “eloquent testimony” to the Christianity of the first centuries.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
24

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Gospel
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »

Saint
Date
04/24/14
04/22/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Homily
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: