St. Paul's Tomb

A Survey of Web-Accessible Documentation Concerning

St. Paul's Martyrdom and Tomb

A Just-For-Fun Survey of the Web-Accessible Documentation Relating to Saint Paul’s Tomb in the Papal Basilica of San Paolo Fuori le Mura in Rome

Redacted by Tom Seddon

A local news story just before Christmas of 2006 suggested that St. Paul's tomb, long lost to history, had recently and unexpectedly been discovered in Rome.  I found this surprising since I had always thought that St. Paul's tomb lay under the altar of the great basilica patriarchal church of St. Paul's Outside the Walls in Rome.  Indeed, I understood that the Emperor Constantine had constructed the first basilica in the early 4th Century just as he constructed St. Peter's on the Vatican Hill and the Tomb of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.

Out of curiosity, I began searching web sites for reasonably factual documentation on St. Paul, his death, his entombment, and the Christian memorials constructed to St. Paul.  Before I realized it, I had collected over 70 pages of information!

My conclusions:  Using Occam’s razor, Peter and Paul were most likely swept up in Nero’s murderous attempt to scapegoat the Christians of Rome for the horrific fire of July 64.  They were probably not singled out for special attention but, along with perhaps thousands of others, died hideous deaths.  It is possible depending on the exact circumstances of their death that their followers may have been able to retrieve their remains for burial in a nearby cemetery and marked that location.  However, subsequent centuries of Roman and Italian internal strife and civil war, “Saracen” invaders who looted and pillaged, ancient and modern “urban renewal,” natural disasters including earthquakes, floods, and fires and the good intentions of Christians resulted in numerous modifications and alterations under 5 emperors and 13 popes with actual relocations of the remains perhaps several times.  Thus, it is unlikely that the tombs are in the “correct” location or that the remains to be found in the tombs are “authentic.”  But, does any of that really matter?  tes


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Redactor’s note:  Editorial notes written by the redactor are generally enclosed by italic braces {} and embolden.  Some text paragraphs are emboldened to highlight immediate relevance to the subject.


Words! Mere Words! Was there anything so real as words? - Dorian Gray