Remains of the Apostle Paul have Likely Been Found

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by Dark Knight, Dec 7, 2006.

  1. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight New Member

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    Vatican archaeologists have unearthed a sarcophagus believed to contain the remains of the Apostle Paul that had been buried beneath Rome's second largest basilica.

    The sarcophagus, which dates back to at least A.D. 390, has been the subject of an extended excavation that began in 2002 and was completed last month, the project's head said this week.

    "Our objective was to bring the remains of the tomb back to light for devotional reasons, so that it could be venerated and be visible," said Giorgio Filippi, the Vatican archaeologist who headed the project at St. Paul Outside the Walls basilica.

    The interior of the sarcophagus has not yet been explored, but Filippi didn't rule out the possibility of doing so in the future.

    Two ancient churches that once stood at the site of the current basilica were successively built over the spot where tradition said the saint had been buried. The second church, built by the Roman emperor Theodosius in the fourth century, left the tomb visible, first above ground and later in a crypt.

    When a fire destroyed the church in 1823, the current basilica was built and the ancient crypt was filled with earth and covered by a new altar.

    "We were always certain that the tomb had to be there beneath the papal altar," Filippi told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061207/ap_on_sc/vatican_st_paul_s_tomb&printer=1

     
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  3. kato

    kato New Member

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    Very interesting.
     
  4. angelmom

    angelmom The love stays...forever in our hearts

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    How cool!

    Can you imagine being so close? I am easily awed by gravestones from the 1800s!
     
  5. Cypros

    Cypros New Member

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    I had the opportunity to tour the necropolis under St. Peter’s basilica in 2002. It is a fascinating tour. You get to walk the alleys of the ancient cemetery and go into some of the sepulchers. At the end of the tour, you are directed to peek through a crack to see a corner of a shrine that was built over the sarcophagus that was claimed to be Peter’s. The site was identified as holy in the 4th century by Constantine the Great and the basilica built over the necrolopolis, preserving those tombs that were not destroyed by the construction.

    This travel site has a pretty good description (4th entry):
    http://www.virtualtourist.com/trave...gs_To_Do-Rome-St_PetersVatican_City-BR-1.html

    The Vatican is very secretive about the whole thing. You have to make reservations in person and then IF you are approved you return a few days later for the tour. You can make reservations by mail but must do it well in advance and they have all kinds of ways of rejecting you (http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/i...uffscavi_doc_gen-information_20040112_en.html) There is no advertising of the necropolis tour there and no signage identifying the office where you check in. You have to find your own way. They also do not hand out any literature and it is difficult to find good photographs of the site.

    Here is a cross-section of the site:
    http://www.stpetersbasilica.org/Plans/Necropolis-St%20Peter's-plan.jpg

    and a plan:
    http://www.stpetersbasilica.org/Plans/necropolis layers.jpg

    This page has some old photos of the necropolis:
    http://www.stpetersbasilica.org/Necropolis/MG/TheTombofStPeter-5.htm
     
  6. CuriousAnne

    CuriousAnne Former Member

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    This is fascinating!

    Cypros - I've been to St. Peters Basilica, but had no idea about the Necropolis...what a bummer!

    Was it just amazing?
     
  7. Hbgchick

    Hbgchick New Member

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    Thanks for the information Cypros! Great web sites. Lucky you to have been there!
     

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