Pope permits examination of the tomb of St. Paul

Pope Benedict has given his permission to open a tomb believed to be that of the apostle Paul. The sarcophagus was rediscovered during excavations of the site in 2002 and 2003.

In the fourth century, Emperor Theodosius found what he believed to be the tomb of the saint and had a small church built over it. Over the centuries, a basilica swallowed up the church, covering the grave until recent excavations uncovered it. "There has been no doubt for the past 20 centuries that the tomb is there. It was variously visible and not visible in times past and then it was covered up. We made an opening (in the basilica floor) to make it visible at least in part," Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, archpriest of the basilica, told Reuters last year.