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)

9th century pumpkin patch revealed in Rome

Experts from the Vatican are excited by a pumpkin patch - one that was part of a Benedictine monastery surrounding the Basilica of St Paul’s outside the Walls.

Social media may help choose patron saint of England

There are two camps in England when it comes to who would be the best patron saint, St Edmund or St George, and both are being promoted in a surprising way: Facebook. While George has been the preferred saint since Richard the Lionheart, Edmund is gaining support.

Stone priory seal restoration complete

In 2011, English metal detector enthusiast Tont Burke found a treasure in a Survey field with the discovery of a copper 12th Century seal matrix of Stone Priory, bearing the image of the Virgin and Child. Now, fully restored, the seal is returning to St Michael and St Wulfad's church in Stone. (photo)

Lyminge excavations shed light on the "Dark Ages"

After the Romans left Britain in the 5th century, the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes moved in, bringing their culture and architecture to the country. The recent discovery of what is believed to be an Anglo-Saxon royal feasting hall in the Kent, England village of Lyminge is shining a new light on the 7th century in England. Jason Urbanus of Archaeology has a feature story. (aerial photos)

Medieval guide to witch hunting

What do you know about witches? Most modern ideas of witchcraft may come from a manuscript, one of only four known copies, found in the library of the University of Alberta. Treatise against the Sect of Waldensians, written in the 15th century, created the framework for witch hunts. Paul Kennedy of CBCRadio hosts an hour-long podcast on the book.

Digitization of Vatican Library faces challenges

A year after the project's announcement, the firist digitized volumes of the Vatican Library are now available online. Experts began with the library's "most delicate" volumes, including "the Vatican’s 8,900 incunabula (books printed before 1501): the Sifra, a Hebrew manuscript written a millennia ago, a 4th century manuscript of the Greek Bible and the De Europa of Pope Pius II, printed around 1491."

14th century Expositiones Vocabulorum Biblie comes home

A 14th century, hand-written copy of the Expositiones Vocabulorum Biblie has returned to its place of origin after surviving the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII in the 1530s. The parchment manuscript, which was created to help the nuns of Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire study and understand the Bible, is now on display at the abbey thanks to the National Trust which purchased the document at auction. (photos)

Research article compares historical and mythical versions of Saint Patrick

According to an article by Laurel A. Rockefeller, "Saint" Bishop Patrick as we think of him is far more myth than history.

Adrian IV last English Pope

The Conclave is over and a new Pope chosen, but the English never stood a chance. There has not, in fact, been an English Pope since Adrian IV in 1155.

Book of Kells now online

The Trinity College Library in Dublib, Ireland has announced that the Book of Kells is now available to view, thanks to the library's Digital Resources and Imaging Services. An iPad app of the book is also available.

Wool fleece helps date Christian church

A tiny scrap of wool fleece, found in a grave, has helped to date an early Christian church in Maryport, Cumbria, England. The wool, which dated to the 3rd or 4th century CE, showed that a structure, accompanied by Christian burials, was probably a Christian church from the late Roman period.

St Oran's Cross to return to Iona

St Oran's Cross, one of the world's oldest celtic crosses, will be restored and returned to Scotland's island of Iona in time to see the celebration of the 1450th anniversary of the arrival of St Columba. The 8th century cross weighs over a ton and will stand nearly 15 feet tall. (photo)

Swiss farmer relieved of 14th century debt

In 1357, A Swiss land owner, Konrad Müller, killed another town resident. In restitution, Müller pledged to provide for a sanctuary lamp at the Catholic church of Näfels. Finally the debt, passed perpetually to his heirs, has been declared invalid.

Knights of Malta celebrate their 100th birthday at the Vatican

February 9, 2013, marked the 900th birthday of the founding of the Knights of Malta, a Roman Catholic religious order noted for its charitable works. The group celebrated its birthday with a parade around St. Peter's Square and a visit with Pope Benedict XVI, who is himself a member of the Knights.

Pope tweets

Ancient meets modern when Pope Benedict XVI tweeked his first message last month - in Latin. Since that time, the Pope has amassed 2.5 million followers.

New Year magic in the Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, the period after Christmas was a time for looking ahead to the new year. Practices included superstitions and methods to predict weather for the coming year. The clergy accepted some of the age-old rituals, but were loathe to allow others. A recent article for looks at Christmas Day fortune telling.

Manx Museum to display 14th century bishop's seal

In February 2012, metal detectorist Andy Falconer discovered a silver seal on te Isle of Man in England. The seal was identified by the Manx Museum as a 14th-century bishop's seal, and have now placed the important artifact on display. (photo)