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Catholic World News News Feature

Pope approves examinaton of St. Paul's tomb June 29, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI has approved an examination of the tomb of St. Paul, located in the Roman basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls, the Kath.net news service reports.

The German-language news service reportsthat the Pope has given the green light for a plan to examine the interior of the tomb located beneath the altar of the ancient basilica, using an endoscopic probe.

Last December an archeologist announced the discovery of a large marble sarcophagus in excavations under the altar of the basilica, marked with a marble slab that read: "St. Paul, apostle." Although the basilica was built on the site of St. Paul's martyrdom and burial, the exact location of his tomb had been lost to history after a fire early in the 19th century. Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, the archpriest of the basilica, conceded that while the sarcophagus is marked as that of St. Paul, there is no certainty about the contents of the tomb. Having removed debris and plaster that surrounded the site, archeologists now plan a careful examination of the interior.

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