Paul, apostle – January 25th, June 29th
(Relics: Rome, Italy; Valletta, Malta)
First Class Relics
Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls
Via Ostiense 186
*St Paul is buried in the confessio of this church. Above his tomb are the chains that were used to imprison him prior to his martyrdom. These chains were placed in this prominent location in 2008.
*Also the main altar in the left transept is dedicated to the Conversion of St Paul. The painting above this altar, completed by Vincenzo Camuccini, depicts this event.
Basilica of St John Lateran
Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano 4
*Positioned above the Papal Altar of this church are two busts of St Peter and St Paul. According to tradition the skulls or parts of the skulls of St Peter and St Paul are within these busts. Also located within the Papal Altar is a wooden table that St Peter and many of the earliest popes are said to have celebrated the Eucharist upon.
*Located to the left of the Papal Altar is another very ancient table. This table rests above the altar where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved. It is placed directly behind a bronze relief of the Last Supper. Tradition claims that it was upon this table that Jesus and the apostles celebrated the Last Supper.
*Also the tomb of Pope Leo XIII (d. 1903) is to the left of the Papal Altar.
St Paul’s Shipwreck Church
74 St Paul’s Street
1212 Valletta, Malta
*A wrist bone of St Paul rests within a reliquary in the right transept of this church. Also to the right of the main sanctuary is part of the pillar to which St Paul was tied when he was martyred.
Churches of Honor in Rome
Tre Fontane (The Three Fountains)
Via Acque Salvie 1
*Located south of the Aurelian Walls.
*There are three churches located at this shrine. The one located on the backside of the property, called San Paolo alle Tre Fontane, is believed to mark the spot of St Paul’s martyrdom. Legend says that after St Paul was decapitated his head bounced three times and with each bounce a fountain of water sprang up. Three grated areas along the eastern wall of this church cover up the locations of these three fountains. Also within this church is the column to which St Paul was bound and the table upon which he died.
*Another church on this property, Santa Maria Scala Coeli, is believed to mark the spot of St Paul’s imprisonment prior to his martyrdom. This is the first church on the right as one enters. A crypt below the main sanctuary of this church marks the spot where St Paul was imprisoned.
San Sebastiano Fuori Le Mura
(Saint Sebastian Outside the Walls)
Via Appia Antica 136
*This church is southeast of the Aurelian Walls.
*This church has an ancient tradition connecting it to St Peter and St Paul. The Depositio Martyrum shows that in the year 258 pilgrims came to San Sebastiano Fuori Le Mura on June 29th, the Feast Day of Saints Peter and Paul, to honor these two great saints. Therefore, it is presumed that at one time this church housed the remains of both St Peter and St Paul.
*St Sebastian (d. 288) was originally buried in the catacombs located under this church. At some point, however, these remains were removed. Some of these remains are now located within an urn in a chapel on the left side of the nave. This is the chapel with the very impressive statue of St Sebastian created by Giuseppe Giorgetti.
*Directly across from this chapel on the right side of the nave is a reliquary chapel that contains the column to which St Sebastian was tied and an arrow that pierced his flesh. Also within this same reliquary chapel are some small relics said to be from St Peter, St Paul, St Andrew, and a number of other saints including the pope, St Fabian (d. 250). St Fabian was originally buried in the Catacombs of San Callisto but later his remains were moved to this church.
*Tradition also claims that within the catacombs located under this church St Philip Neri (d. 1595) experienced such an enlargement of his heart due to a supernatural infusion of God’s love that two of his ribs cracked.
San Paolo alla Regola (Saint Paul at the Regola)
Via di San Paolo alla Regola 6
*This church is near the Jewish quarter
*This church claims to be built over the spot where St Paul lived for two years while he was under house arrest in Rome. A chapel to the right of the main sanctuary marks the location of his rooms.
*Also within the main sanctuary are three frescoes depicting scenes from St Paul’s life.
Santa Maria in Via Lata (Our Lady on Via Lata)
Via del Corso 306
*This church is near Piazza Venezia.
*It is believed that this church is also built over a location where St Paul resided while he was under house arrest in Rome.
Santa Maria del Popolo (Our Lady of the People)
Piazza del Popolo 12
*This church is at Piazza del Popolo.
*In the Cerasi Chapel, to the left of the main altar, are two exceptional works by Caravaggio. The one to the right is entitled the Conversion of St Paul.
San Pietro in Montorio (Saint Peter in Montorio)
Piazza San Pietro in Montorio 2
*This church is located on the Janiculum hill.
*A painting within the right transept by Giorgio Vasari depicts the Conversion of St Paul.
Santa Maria in Campitelli (Our Lady in Campitelli)
Piazza di Campitelli 9
*This church is near the Jewish quarter.
*A painting within the third chapel on the left side of the nave, entitled the Conversion of St Paul, depicts St Paul falling off of his horse. It was completed by Ludovico Geminiani in the 17th century.
*The body of St John Leonardi (d. 1609) is enshrined in the second chapel on the left side of the nave.