|Saul of Tarsus
St. Paul was born Saul in the first decade of the first century
A.D. in Tarsus, the capital of the ancient Roman region of Cilicia
in what is now Turkey.
Though he never met Jesus Christ, he joined the first Christians
after a dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus, as told
in the Acts of the Apostles, one of the Bible's New Testament
Baptized as Paul, he traveled around part of what is now Turkey
as well as ancient Greece and Rome, founding a number of religious
Paul's thought largely influenced Christian doctrine by means
of 13 or 14 letters, the Pauline epistles, included in the New
Testament. Perhaps his most recognizable passage—to modern
wedding guests, anyway—is his poetic definition of love
("Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does
not boast. … ").
According to later reports, in A.D. 65 Paul of Tarsus was imprisoned
in Rome, beheaded, and then buried in the family tomb of a devout
Roman noblewoman, Matrona Lucilla
"Around A.D. 320 Emperor
Constantine built a first small basilica to receive the pilgrims
visiting Saint Paul's tomb," Filippi said.
390 Emperor Theodosius enlarged the building and encased Paul's
remains in a sarcophagus located on view in the middle of the
basilica—the same sarcophagus we found."
know for sure it's the same object because the stone coffin
is embedded in the layer of the Theodosian basilica," he
In A.D. 433 part of the building collapsed during an earthquake.
In the course of renovations the floor was elevated. The sarcophagus
was buried and covered by a marble tombstone.
In 1823 a fire completely destroyed the ancient basilica, and
the modern Saint Paul's Outside-the-Walls was built on the site.
"The sarcophagus and the tombstone were covered by concrete
and debris, on top of which the main altar, named the Papal
Altar, was placed," Filippi said.