Vatican Archaeologists Find St Paul's Sarcophagus

Society | December 8, 2006, Friday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
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A sarcophagus believed to contain the remains of the Apostle Paul was unearthed by Vatican archaeologists.

The relic, which dates back to at least 390AD, had been buried beneath Rome's second largest basilica.

The sarcophagus has been the subject of an extended excavation that began in 2002 and was completed last month, the project's head said.

The interior of the sarcophagus has not yet been explored, but project's head Giorgio Filippi said further examination will be done in the future.

Two ancient churches that once stood at the site of the current basilica were successively built over the spot where the saint was believed to have 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 said.
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