Saint Paul’s church or St. Paul outside of the walls
Via Ostiense,186, 00146 Rome, Italy
The exact designation of the Saint Paul’s church in Rome, an absolutely exceptional strength place, reads St. Paul in front of the walls. In front of the walls, because the church is located about 2 km outside of the ancient – and preserved until today – Aurelian city wall.
In accordance with tradition the body of the apostle after his decapitation around 67 AD was taken further into the city and – because he was a Roman citizen – entombed at the via Ostiense in a Roman Necropolis (= structurally arranged funeral and consecration place). Very soon after a „cella memoriae “(= a little one „memorial building) was build above his burial place, because this was even at that time this was venerated as a special strength place and was visited by many Christians, in order to get the strength for their difficult evangelism activity.
Saint Paul’s church – The holy grave of the apostle Paul
A strength place, what is that? A strength place is a place that has a very special, verifiable high terrestrial radiation. Churches were almost always built on ancient shrines or tombs of religious leaders, which is what made them places of strength.
Saint Paul churches can be found in many places, all of them are considered strength places, but the Saint Paul’s church in Rome is special, because it actually has the mortal remnants of the apostle Paul.
When the persecution of Christians finally ended in 324 AD Pope Sylvester on behalf of Emperor Constantine build a Basilica over the grave of apostle Paul – and so the first „Saint Paul’s church“. In the course of the following centuries this Saint Paul’s church was developed and adorned further by the Popes and up to the construction of the St. Peter’s Basilica in 1626 the biggest and most lush church in all of Rome. Since then many pilgrims’ have come to Rome to visit this Saint Paul’s church, this exceptional place of strength!
Saint Paul’s church goes up in flames
Also famous for its artistically valuable design, unfortunately Saint Paul’s church in the night of July 15 1823 became a victim of the flames. Fortunately the Popes made every effort to reconstruct Saint Paul’s church again and restore it to its former beauty in order to preserve this unique strength place for Christianity.
Saint Paul’s church in Rome, meaning St. Paul in front of the walls, today is one of the four Papal basilicas of Rome. This means that on its main altar („altar of confession “) only the Pope may hold Holy Mass. In addition it is one of the seven pilgrim churches of Rome. Owing to the Lateran treaties Saint Paul’s Church of Rome is an exterritorial property of the Holy See. Besides St. Peter’s Basilica it is safe to say this is Rome’s most important Church.
In 2006 archeologists confirmed to have found Paul’s sarcophagus in the Saint Paul’s church after a four year excavations at the basis of the main altar, which was placed thereafter directly on top of the sarcophagus. A broad window-like opening under the altar now permits a view of the burial place. Already very early on there was a monastery enterprises beside the basilica. The current Benedictine abbey does not have any territorial function anymore and is managed nowadays by an arch priest.
The characteristics of Saint Pauls church: The 265 Medallions with the portraits of all Popes. Further the annual prayer week starting on January 25 (Paul’s conversion date). In addition Benedict XVI opened the Paul year in the basilica on June 28th, 2008 (2000, the apostle’s year of birth.) with Bartholomew I, the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople.