Skip to comments.ST Paul's tomb 'may be opened'
Posted on 06/27/2009 4:34:40 PM PDT by BGHater
A Roman tomb believed to be that of St Paul may be opened for the first time in 2000 years, the archpriest of the cathedral where it is located said Friday.
''We've been thinking of opening St Paul's sarcophagus for a while and Pope Benedict XVI has not ruled out ordering a thorough analysis of the tomb,'' said Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo of St Paul's Outside the Walls.
''We've also studied how we could do it. You have to bear in mind that this sarcophagus has been there for 20 centuries and has never been opened,'' he said.
''Opening it would be a major job, given that the tomb is enormous and it would mean we'd have to demolish the papal altar.
Vatican archaeologists uncovered the tomb in 2006 in a crypt under the basilica and said the fact that it was positioned exactly underneath the epigraph 'Paulo Apostolo Mart' (Paul the Apostle and Martyr) at the base of the cathedral's main altar was conclusive proof that it was the apostle's sarcophagus.
The tomb also has a hole in the top through which which pieces of cloth could be pushed, touching the relic and becoming holy in their turn.
However, nobody actually knows what is inside the tomb, which may even be a cenotaph (empty tomb) erected in the name of the saint.
Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo said past attempts to enter the tomb using sophisticated microcamera technology had failed because of its 25-centimetre-thick walls.
St Paul's Outside the Walls is located about three kilometres outside the ancient walls of Rome and is the largest church in the city after St Peter's.
Paul was a Roman Jew, born in Tarsus in modern-day Turkey, who started out persecuting Christians but later became possibly the greatest shaper of the Church.
He did not know Jesus in life but converted to Christianity after seeing a shining light on the road to Damascus.
The saint, who called himself the Apostle to the Gentiles, was a great traveller, visiting Cyprus, Asia Minor, mainland Greece, Crete, and Rome bringing the gospel of Jesus.
His 14 letters are largely written to churches which he had founded or visited.
They tell Christians what they should believe and how they should live but do not say much about Jesus' life and teachings.
Paul's influence on Christian thinking has, arguably, been more significant than any other single New Testament author.
His works were hugely influential on some of the great Christian thinkers and leaders of movements, including St Augustine and Martin Luther.
They have also been criticised by feminist writers for assigning women a subordinate role in the Church.
Paul is believed to have been executed for his beliefs around AD 65.
He is thought to have been beheaded, rather than crucified, because he was a Roman citizen.
According to Christian tradition, his body was buried in a vineyard by a Roman woman and a shrine grew up there before Emperor Constantine consecrated a basilica in 324.
The basilica was enlarged and restored over the centuries but had to be rebuilt in the 19th century after it was destroyed in a fire.
St Paul is the patron saint of Malta and the City of London and has also had several cities named in his honour including Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Saint Paul, Minnesota.
He’s not There
Just Ashes and Dust will meet them
And no good will be done
> The tomb also has a hole in the top through which which pieces of cloth could be pushed, touching the relic and becoming holy in their turn.
However, nobody actually knows what is inside the tomb, which may even be a cenotaph (empty tomb) erected in the name of the saint. <
They should just leave it alone. I think at the back of their minds, they would find a well-preserved body like what you read in the books due to the Holy Divinity.
St. Peter’s bones (or bones BELIEVED to be St. Peter’s) which were found under his basilica in Rome are just bone.
If they can push stuff through why won’t a camera work?
It shouldn’t be opened, but if it is, there should be independent (non-Catholic) observers there too.
If there’s a hole to push cloth through, then it’s big enough to put a scope through and they can see what’s inside before doing a thing.
Most dead people I have known are just dead
I suspect this will also be true here
The living however have the most odd concepts of
the dead, as if the dust has some magical meaning
Magical thinking has a high probability
of being in error
As does the behavior associated with it
My guess is that if they do open it, they will have a half dozen or so of the top archeologists in the world who specialize in these type things (more than likely there will be some Egyptian and Israeli experts and probably some from the British Museum and Smithsonian).
The LAST thing the Vatican will allow is for this to turn into some sort of circus and the Church is very aware that it is important to have "skeptics" present.
“And no good will be done”
But neither will there be any harm. It seems that many religions seem to favor symbolism over spirituality. The dust is...dust, but the man’s works.....
what the hell is that picture of? Al Capones secret outhouse?
“OK dudes, bring that scope inside...what do you see?
“Just some rags and bones”.
“Really? Let’s call it a day.”
The basilica is called “outside the walls” because it was outside the ancient city of Rome, constructed between 271 and 275 AD by emperors Aurellius and Probus. The walls enclosed the seven hills, plus the fields of Mars: Paul was killed outside the walls to dishonor him.
Emperor Constantine constructed a church there, on the site of an earlier, 1st-century memorial. Some archeologists were skeptical of this; you can still see words like “allegedly” and “according to legend,” despite Benedictine assertions they found the insciption, “Paolo, Apostolo, Mart[yri]” when the basilica was rebuilt in the 1820s. In 2006, excavating beneath the basilica was found the sarcophagus.
This is the body of the St. Paul.