Benedict XVI reported that a probe was inserted into the saint's sarcophagus. Bone fragments were from a person who lived in the first century.
Pope Benedict XVI ended the Pauline Year on Sunday (28/06/2009) and revealed that remains in the Basilica of St. Paul Extramuros in Rome belong to the Apostle of the Gentiles.
In front of thousands of faithful and representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople gathered in the basilica dedicated to the apostle Paul, the Pope reported that recently a probe was inserted into the sarcophagus that remains under the largest local altar.
Pope Benedict XI (Photo: Tara Todras-Whitehill / AP)
The probe revealed inside the sarcophagus a precious purple-colored linen cloth laminated in pure gold and a blue-colored linen with linen threads, as well as red incense grains and proteinaceous and calcareous substances.
Small bone fragments were also found, which were examined by "experts who were unaware of where they came from, and which resulted in belonging to a person who lived between the first and second century," the pope added.
"Everything seems to confirm the unanimous and incontrovertible tradition that these are the remains of the apostle Paul, which fills us with deep emotion," said the pontiff.