Christianity

Location of Llanllyr nunnery discovered in Wales

Sometime in the late 12th century, Rhys ap Gruffudd founded a daughter house to the convent of Strata Florida in the Aeron Valley of wales. Researchers have known about the Llanllyr nunnery, but never its precise location - until now when excavations in Ceredigion have revealed the convent as well as a cemetery and Tudor mansion.

"Holy Grail" stolen in Wales

The Nanteos Cup is missing. Rumored to be the Holy Grail, brought to Britain by Joseph of Arimathea, the olive wood cup is normally kept in a bank vault in Wales, but was loaned to an ailing women in Weston-Under-Penyard. It was stolen from her home July 14, 2014. (photo)

14th century lead bulla found in Polish castle

Archaeological excavations at Człuchów castle in Poland have unearthed a 14th century lead bulla of Pope Gregory XI, a seal used to authenticate documents. The bulla is believed to have originated during the Teutonic Order's crusade against pagan Lithuania.

British books barred from leaving England

The British Library has been successful in acquiring the Catholicon Anglicum, a 15th-century English-Latin dictionary, and a printed traictise owned and annotated by John Ponet, thanks to the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest which barred the books from export.

Japanese IT company to digitize more Vatican documents

The Vatican Library processes many requests to use documents and manuscripts from its enormous collection, but the increased requests have led to fear that the fragile documents will be damaged. Enter NTT DATA, a Japanese IT company who has been contracted to digitize 3,000 manuscripts at a cost of 18 million euros (US $22.6 million).

Beautiful mosiac floors revealed in Israeli Byzantine church

An excavation of a site near the Bedouin village of Hura by the Israel Antiquities Authority has revealed a 6th century Byzantine church, complete with amazingly intact mosaic floors. (photos)

Christians in Denmark by 9th century

New studies of the Domskirke in Ribe, Denmark show that Christians may have lived in the area 100 years before Denmark officially became a Christian country. Excavations at the site have unearthed over 70 Christian burials dating to the mid-to-late 9th century.

1,500-year-old Christian church unearthed near Tel Aviv

Construction work for a new neighborhood at Moshav Aluma, 30 miles south of Tel Aviv, has unearthed the foundations of a 6th century Byzantine church. The remains of the basilica and its artifacts discovered include "a cistern, a pottery workshop, cooking implements, oil lamps and central halls with a pair of side aisles divided by marble pillars."

Wyoming college hosts Biduum Latinum

Latin is alive and well at Students at the college are required Wyoming Catholic College where students and professors recently participated in Biduum Latinum, a Latin immersion weekend, where everyone spoke only Latin. KCWY News 13 has the story.

Excavations show connections between Paganism and early Christianity in Ireland

Recent excavations at Caherconnell, County Clare, by the Caherconnell Archaeology Field School are shedding light on the transition from Paganism to Christianity in 5th century Ireland. Burials found in stone cists show that mourners used a combination of both religions to honor their dead.

St Piran's Oratory to be excavated

In 1910, the remains of St Piran's Oratory near Perranporth, Cornwall were encased in a concrete bunker to preserve them from the coast's harsh weather, but now archaeologists have received permission to excavate the sixth century chapel, believed to be Britain's oldest place of Christian worship. (photos)

The basilica under the lake

The foundations of a 5th century Byzantine basilica have been discovered beneath the waters of Lake İznik near Bursa in northwest Turkey. The discovery was revealed by aerial photosgraphs. (photos)

Forgotten warrior-saint may have inspired Tolkien's Aragorn

British historian Max Adams believes that 7th century King Oswald has been overlooked as a hero. This opinion was apparently shared by author J.R.R. Tolkien, when he based his own warrior king Aragorn on the early English monarch who also "was exiled as a young man before returning to his homeland in order to claim his birthright and become king." (photos)

Cambridge hopes to acquire Codex Zacynthius

In 1821, the Bible Society, in Swindon, England was presented with the Codex Zacynthius, a 6th or 7th century Gospel of Luke. Now the Society is offering the Bible for sale, with Cambridge University as its buyer of choice. In order to acquire the manuscript, Cambridge will need to raise UK£1.1m. (photo)

Contemplating Alfred the Great

In a feature-length story for History Today, historian Barbara Yorke looks at the history and reputation of King Alfred the Great, who she names "The Most Perfect Man in History."

Templar interest increases with approaching 700th anniversary

With material such as The Da Vinci Code to capture the public's attention, the myths of the Knights Templar are more popular than ever. Lawyer, noveliest and historian Dr Dominic Selwood has a feature article for The Telegraph.

Crusaders still exist in Malta

Crusaders still exist on the islands of Malta, where reporter Elisabeth Eaves of the New York Times spoke with one for a feature article.

Geneva Breeches Bible stolen from Welsh church

Thieves of a rare 16th century bible must have had a guilty conscience when they left a modern replacement bible in a locked case in St Mary's church in Trefriw, Wales. The Geneva Breeches Bible was produced by Protestants in Switzerland in 1589.

Byzantine monastery to become mosque

The 5th century Byzantium Monastery of Stoudios in Istanbul, Turkey is scheduled to become a mosque after renovation concludes in 2014. The site will be renamed İmrahor İlyas Bey Mosque.

The unicorn phenomenon

Unicorns have been a part of the known bestiary since Greek and Roman times. In his book, A Natural History of Unicorns, University of Nottingham geographer Chris Lavers looks at the history of the beast and human obsession with it.

Basilica "of enormous importance" excavated on Cyprus

Archaeologists from the Cyprus Antiquities Department have unearthed the remains of a 7th century basilica the size of Westminster Abbey near the Royal Air Force Station of Akrotiri on Cyprus. Experts believe that the huge church was only used for 30 years.

Pope Francis displays bones of St. Peter

For the first time ever, the relics of St. Peter, discovered in the necropolis under St. Peter's Basilica in 1939, were displayed during mass, and prayed over by the Pope. The relices include nine pieces of bone. (photos)

Richard III to be reburied with medieval pomp and ceremony

Reburial of nobles was common practice in the 15th century, so the spirit of Richard III should feel right at home when he is soon reinterred in Leicester Cathedral. Experts have discovered a medieval ceremony of reburial, parts of which will be used in the upcoming service.

Vatican teams with Bodleian for US$3.2 million digitization project

Thanks to a US$3.2 million grant from the Polonsky Foundation, rare manuscripts from the University of Oxford's Bodleian Library and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana will be digitized and made available online through both libraries. NPR's Annaliese Quinn has the story and interview.

The jewels of the saints

After the Reformation, many Catholics were depressed about the loss of relics of their saints. In the 16th century thousands of skeletons were taken from the catacombs in Rome, bedecked with jewels, and distributed throughout Europe. A slideshow of jeweled saints, photographed by art historian Paul Koudounaris, is online.

Site of "national importance" trumps carpark in Donegal

“I am hugely excited by the discovery. We have definitely put it up there to be possibly on a par with Clonmacnoise or Inishmurray,” said archaeologist Mick Drumm of Wolfhound Archaeology about the recent discovery of a 7th century monastery at Drumholm, near Ballintra, Co Donegal, Ireland. (photo)

Illumination meets graffiti to celebrate the Lindisfarne Gospels

Dutch graffiti artist Niels Meulman, AKA Shoe, is no stranger to medieval manuscripts, having been inspired by such works as the Irish Gaelic poem Pangur Bán, so it isn't surprising that he has been chosen to help celebrate the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to the north of England as part of an exhibition.

Medieval handbell re-created

Archaeologists know what early medieval handbells looked like from the "rusty shadows in the museum case" that still exist, but not what these bells sounded like. Now a team of experts from the National Museum of Scotland has re-created such a bell, "used by Scottish monks more than 1,000 years ago." (photo)

Luther pamphlets stolen from museum in Eisenach

Officials at the Lutherhaus museum in Eisenach, Germany were shocked to learn that three original 16th century printed pamphlets by Martin Luther had been stolen from the museum July 12, 2013. The pamphlets included hand-written notes by contemporaries of Luther.

A mendicant friar at Pennsic

Most people spend Pennsic fighting, going to classes, dancing, or just hanging out around the campfire. Not the case for Ercc Glaison, who chose to spend his War in the persona of a wandering friar. (photos)