Monday, June 29, 2009

Apostle Paul Grave Unearthed: Vatican Finds Apostle Paul

The Vatican announced that they have unearthed the sarcophagus containing the remains of the Apostle Paul. The grave dates back to "at least AD 390."

Apostle Paul - Vatican
The sarcophagus was excavated by Vatican archaeologists but has not yet been opened, and it is unclear whether it will ever be opened. Vatican officials said they heard many expressions of disappointment from tourists that the sarcophagus of Paul cannot be viewed by the public, and they decided to do something about it.
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 grave of the Apostle Paul had two churches built above it before the current basilica was erected. Some history the website The Papal Basilica St. Paul Outside-the-Walls
Basilica of St. Paul

THE TOMB In 61 A.D. Paul arrived in Rome to undergo judgment. Here he was beheaded [1] between 65 and 67 A.D. His body was buried two miles away from the place of his martyrdom, in the sepulchral area along the Ostiense Way, owned by a devout Christian woman named Lucina, which was part of a pre-existent burial place [2]. Even though he was a Christian, it was possible to bury the Apostle Paul in a Roman necropolis, due to his Roman citizenship. Shortly thereafter, his tomb would become a place of worship and veneration. Upon it was erected a cella memoriae or tropaeum, namely a memorial, where during the first centuries of persecution many of the faithful and pilgrims would go to pray, drawing the strength necessary to carry out the work of evangelization of this great missionary [3].

THE MARBLE TOMBSTONE At 1.37 meters below the present Papal Altar lies a marble tombstone (2.12 m. x 1.27 m.), bearing the Latin inscription PAULO APOSTOLO MART (Apostle Paul, martyr)... It is composed of various pieces. On the piece where PAULO is written there are three holes, a round and two square ones [4].

THE SARCOPHAGUS It is above a massive sarcophagus, measuring 2.55 meters long, 1.25 meters wide and 0.97 high, that the “Altars of Confession” were later placed. During recent work in the Basilica, a large window-like opening was made just below the Papal Altar, in order to allow the faithful to see the Apostle’s tomb.

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton