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Vatican archaeologists find tomb believed to be that of Apostle Paul

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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....

 

USAToday

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I thought his head had long been preserved in the church of St Paul Without the Walls (the very one where the excvations are said to have taken place).

 

I don't find the discovery surprising, unexpected or unlikely. The tomb of Peter was clearly known and venerated long on the site of what was the Vatican - though I cannot recall whether his body has been found. St Paul was only slightly less notable in Christian terms - maybe he had the edge up to around 300 when the power/succession requirements of the emerging Papacy put Peter in the stronger position.

 

If St Paul's remains do indeed rest within the coffin then analysis would be fascinating - I wonder whether a missing epistle (or three - perhaps one to the Spanish) could be lurking under his shroud. What might they reveal if so - and what would the catholic church do about publishing such potentially explosive documents?

 

Phil

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No doubt that this sarcophagus will become a beacon to pilgrims. I suppose it will end up like the Byzantine drawing of Jesus and that thousands will flock to the Vatican to see it. It's a very interesting discovery, even if it isn't the tomb of Paul.

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It always amuses me how the most holy relics (e.g. Peter, Paul, Mark the Evangelist) seem to have a tendency to get lost underneath those enormous churhes.

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I prefer to wait first for the C14 dating of the bones and, if possible, if there are any signs of the body having been decapitated. Even if these elements are proved correct, I would accept the claim with caution, taking in consideration a well-known history of fakes.

 

No doubt that this sarcophagus will become a beacon to pilgrims. I suppose it will end up like the Byzantine drawing of Jesus and that thousands will flock to the Vatican to see it. It's a very interesting discovery, even if it isn't the tomb of Paul.

That's what I think is the main reason behind this "discovery": the Catholic Church is in crisis and nothing like a bombastic discovery to attract again some people.

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