Jeremy explains St Paul’s Outside the Walls

After the Graffiti tour, Jeremy asked if we’d like to visit St Paul’s Outside the Walls which was nearby. Of course, the majority of us said “yes” and we were off.

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The outside

Façade of the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls

St Paul in the garden out front

St Paul outside the Basilica doors

St Peter outside the Basilica doors

When you first enter the basilica

The 5th century archway

St. Paul on the right (note: he is pointing down to his tomb holding his remains)

The archway

The Apse mosaic

St Paul’s tomb

The beautiful ceiling

Above the doors as you exit

During the 4th century, Paul’s remains, excluding the head, were moved into a sarcophagus (according to church tradition the head rests at the Lateran). Paul’s tomb is below a marble tombstone in the Basilica’s crypt, at 1.37 metres (4.5 ft) below the altar. The tombstone bears the Latin inscription PAULO APOSTOLO MART (“to Paul the apostle and martyr”). The inscribed portion of the tombstone has three holes, two square and one circular. The circular hole is connected to the tomb by a pipeline, reflecting the Roman custom of pouring perfumes inside the sarcophagus, or to the practice of providing the bones of the dead with libations. The sarcophagus below the tombstone measures 2.55 metres (8.4 ft) long, 1.25 metres (4.1 ft) wide and 0.97 metres (3.2 ft) high.

On 6 December 2006, it was announced that Vatican archaeologists had confirmed the presence of a white marble sarcophagus beneath the altar, perhaps containing the remains of the Apostle. On 29 June 2009 Pope Benedict XVI announced that carbon 14 dating of bone fragments in the sarcophagus confirmed a date in the 1st or 2nd century. “This seems to confirm the unanimous and uncontested tradition that they are the mortal remains of the Apostle Paul,” Benedict announced at a service in the basilica to mark the end of the Vatican’s Paoline year in honor of the apostle (Wikipedia).

Ciao for now,
♥ Christine


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