Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

Of all the cities I've visited in my travels, I cannot think of a place more spectacular than Rome, Italy. There's more to it than world renowned architecture and art, high fashion, and five-star cuisine.
From the moment I arrived there on a train one midnight in August, and as I've mentioned throughout this blog, the Eternal City has been dear to me. It holds memories of a carefree youth, finding my faith, and learning more about my ethnic heritage.
There is so much that impressed me on my three trips to Rome. And, one of the things was June 29, a holiday in the city that honors the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. It is a liturgical feast which recognizes their martrydom. It was chosen because it was either the day they died or the day of translation of their relics (It was never determined since it happened so long ago).
St. Peter was born in 1 AD in Galilee and St. Paul in c.5 in Tarsus. They were Apostles of Christ who were martyred c.67.
Instead of writing about their lives, which most people know, there's something new and exciting I'd like to share. Just last week it was announced that the first icons of Saints Peter and Paul were discovered in a catacomb in Rome. They are in an underground burial chamber beneath an eight-story contemporary office building.
The icons were made in the second half of the fourth century and the images were uncovered through the use of a new laser technique that allows restorers to burn off centuries of thick white calcium carbonate deposits without destroying the brilliant dark colors of the original paintings underneath.

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