Statue of St. Paul in front of the Basilica
According to the Associated Press, the Vatican has announced that archeologists have discovered the tomb of St. Paul, underneath the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.
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 hasn't been opened ... "Well, if they find his head in there attached, that might be a problem" as someone quipped at lunch. Besides, isn't his head supposedly in a reliquary on the top of the Baldachino above the high altar at St. John Lateran? I do hope they do continue the research ... this is exciting!
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.
"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.
View of the Basilica from across the Tiber
This blog provides a little more background into the excavations, along with a photograph of the sarcophagus.
Interior of the Basilica.
Sadly, I have no photographs of the Confessio itself (which, incidentally, holds the tomb of St. Timothy). S. Paolo fuori le Mura is one of my favorite spots in Rome, and praying at the Confessio one of the highlights of a trip to the Eternal City. For obvious reasons.
Now, I cannot wait for the next trip (whenever that might be!) to pray at the actual tomb of the Apostle!