Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI announced that the first-ever scientific dating of bones discovered in a hidden tomb under the alter of St. Paul’s Basilica in Rome “seems to confirm the unanimous and uncontested tradition that they are the mortal remains of the Apostle Paul.” Radio carbon dating performed on the bone fragments indicate they are from the first or second century AD. The announcement came just a day after the Vatican reported the discovery of the oldest known icon of Paul found on a fresco inside another tomb that had been excavated, St. Tecia in Rome. St. Paul, one of the main Apostles of Jesus to spread Christianity after his crucifixion, is traditionally acknowledged to have been beheaded in Rome under the emperors’ persecution of early Christians. It is widely believed that the bone fragments discovered in the tomb under the Basilica of St. Paul are the remains of his body, while his skull fragments are believed to be held in another basilica, St. John Lateran in Rome.
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