Tuesday, July 7, 2009

St. Paul's Tomb has Been Discovered

At the closing of the Pauline Year, on June 28, Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged in his homily that the tomb may indeed contain the mortal remains of the Apostle St. Paul which confirmed the traditional beliefs of many.

A scientific analysis was performed on the sarcophagus conserved in the basilica and it confirms these are the remains of St. Paul.

Archaeologists drilled a small hole into the tomb so they could insert a small special probe, which revealed traced of costly purple colored linen fabric, laminated with gold and blue fabric. Grains and red incense and protein along with chalk substances were also discovered. They obtained tiny bone fragments which were sent for carbon-14 testing by experts who were not made aware of their origin. The results came back with this person being alive between the firs and second centuries.

St. Paul is said to have been beheaded at Aquas Salvias, where the Church of Tre Fontane was erected. The tomb had always had lots of attention and devotion but over the years it disappeared from view and could not be identified. After a fire in 1823, the basilica was reconstructed and two marble plaques dating from the time of Pope Leo the Great (440-461), contained some very faint markings inscribed with “Paolo Apostolo Mart” (Paul the Apostle Martyr) were discovered beneath the “confession” altar.

Archaeologists started their studies in 2002-2003 in the area of the “confessio”. Identification of the remains of Constantinian and Theodosian are where two basilicas have been erected, one being placed by the Emperor Constantine and the other by the “Three Emperors” (Theodosius, Valentinian II and Arcadius) during the fourth century. Between May 2 and November 17, 2006, a marble tomb was discovered dating from 390, when the Constantinian basilica was expanded.

From 2007 forward visitors have been granted access to enter below the basilica’s altar to pray before the tomb of the Apostle.

On June 28, the Pope concluded in his homily that these initiatives and beliefs that had taken place throughout the year are conclusive that this is the burial place of St. Paul.

He also noted that St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, the world cannot be renewed unless we ourselves undergo renewal. Renewal can only be through Jesus Christ. He also noted St. Paul’s references to an adult faith, claiming that phrase has many Catholics twisting it into believing only those truths of the faith that they find they can justify or which make themselves feel comfortable.

Going against the Magisterium of the Church is not a sort of “courage” it is the opposite, courage is needed when you adhere to the Church’s faith especially when it contradics many people that surround us in today society. Mans inner weaknesses must be fought against the world’s latest trends and fashions and instead fight to uphold our true love and truth in the Catholic faith.

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