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article imagePope Declares Test Shows Bone Fragments are Saint Paul’s

By Carol Forsloff     Jul 1, 2009 in World
Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday that the “first-ever scientific test” on bone fragments reveals they belong to Saint Paul. The Apostle Paul is known as an important figure in the teaching and foundation of much of Christianity.
This report comes on the heels of another announcement about St. Paul which was the discovery of a fresco inside a tomb showing St. Paul, which officials maintain is the oldest known icon of the apostle.
It also came at a time when Pope Benedict welcomed an Orthodox delegation sent to Rome for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul by His Holiness Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople. The delegation included Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, director of the office of the Orthodox Church to the European Union; Bishop Athenagoras of Sinope, assistant to the Metropolitan of Belgium, and Deacon Ioakim Billis of Fanar.
Benedict told worshippers on Sunday that archaeologists found the white marble sarcophagus located under the Basilica of St. Paul's outside Rome walls. Believers have considered it for 2000 years to be the tomb of St. Paul. Carbon dating was done on the bone fragments to make the determination. The test determined the remains date from the first or second century.
"This appears to confirm the undisputed tradition that they are the mortal remains of the apostle Paul. All this fills our spirit with profound emotion," Pope Benedict said.
The basilica now stands at the place where Paul is believed to have been beheaded about 67 AD.
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