Christianity

5th century Byzantine church found in Israel

A team of Israeli archaeologists working on a site near the city of Tiberias have discovered an ancient Byzantine church believed to date from the 5th century.

Renaissance fresco features face of Pope's mistress

The fragment of a fresco painted during the time of the Borgia's is causing some consternation in the Vatican with its depiction of Pope Alexander VI kneeling at the feet of his mistress Giulia Farnese.

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.

"Lost" coronation abbey unearthed

The location of the abbey at Moot Hill, the original home of the Stone of Destiny, was forgotten centuries ago, but it has now been identified by experts from Glasgow University who have been surveying the grounds of Scone Palace for the first time.

Papal dungeons to reopen

The Vatican has announced that the papal dungeons in the Castel Sant'Angelo will re-open after ten years of restoration. The dungeons were used to house criminals during the period of the Papal States.

UK£1m El Cid sword may be a forgery

A controversy has arisen over the authenticity of La Tizona, purported to be the sword of legendary Spanish hero El Cid. The sword was purchased recently for UK£1m by authorities in the Castilla Leon region, but others in the Culture Ministry claim that the sword is a fraud.

Researcher believes Holy Grail still in Rome

Italian archaeologist Alfredo Barbagallo believes that the holy cup of Christ never left the city of Rome and is buried beneath the Basilica of San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura.

Russian participants to re-enact battle for Constantinople

Re-enactors in Russia are preparing an elaborate re-enactment of the 1453 battle for Constantinople, in which it was conquered by the Ottoman Turks.

Gregorian Chant how-to manual

Alban St. Albans reports that he has released the first part of a manual on how to sing Gregorian Chant.

Danish "Kalkmalerier" available online

Imagine standing beneath a magnificent 14th century church mural and letting your eyes wander along its length. This is what you can experience at the panoramas.dk website which offers fullscreen panoramas of various medieval Danish church ceilings.

Using Science to Authenticate Lost Gospel of Judas

The National Geographic Society, the Maecenas Foundation for Ancient Art and the Waitt Institute for Historical Discovery have been working together "to authenticate, conserve, and translate a 66-page...codex."

Tomb of King Herod found

For several decades, Israeli archaeologist Ehud Netzer has been looking for the tomb of King Herod. Now he believes he has found it at Herodium, a flattened hilltop in the Judean Desert.

Sacred books on display in London

Visit Sacred: Discover what we share, an exhibit of sacred texts, is on display at the Pearson Gallery of the British Library. The exhibit runs through September 23, 2007. (Digital books online)

Vatican Library to close for renovation

The Vatican Library, home to "more than one million printed volumes and 75,000 priceless manuscripts" is scheduled to close for three years in order to renovate several buildings to make them more suitable for the preservation of the collections.

Relics of Bulgarian Tzar re-buried

After a special ceremony on April 19, 2007 to anoint the remains, relics from Bulgaria's legendary 12th century Tzar Kaloyan were re-buried in Veliko Tarnovo 800 years following his death.

Da Vinci Music Decoded

An Ex-Royal Airforce Codebreaker and his son claim to have unlocked the mystery of symbols on the Rosslyn Chapel.

America's only medieval church

According to the research of the late historian Alwyn Ruddock, America's only medieval church may have been located in Newfoundland. Now University of Bristol researcher Evan Jones wants to use the notes to find the church purportedly built by an Italian friar in 1498.

American Catholics push for beatification of the Five Friars

Rev. Conrad Harkins, representing the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, Georgia, made a trip to Rome recently carrying evidence he hopes will aid in the beatification of five Spanish missionaries martyred 410 years ago on the Georgia coast.

Rib bone NOT Joan of Arc's

John Leicester of the Globe and Mail reports on the ongoing controversy over the remains of Joan of Arc. The verdict: It is a rib bone, but it did not belong to Joan of Arc.

St. Clare Friary remains to be analyzed

Researchers will soon begin analysis of remains from 30 medieval graves discovered in February, 2007 in Preston, England's city center, believed to have once been the site of a friary dedicated to St. Clare.

Turkey Restores Ancient Armenian Church as Show of Goodwill

Akdamar Church, also called the Church of Surp Khach, or Holy Cross, an Armenian structure dating back to 921 C.E., is being restored in a US$1.5 million project being undertaken by Turkey as a step towards improving relationships between the two neighboring countries.

Scholar believes St. Patrick in Ireland earlier than 5th century

Celtic scholar and linguist Daniel Melia believes that St. patrick may have preached his message to the Irish 50 years earlier than previously believed. The earlier time period would place the saint within provincial Roman society rather than during tribal invasions.

6th century book restored in Ethiopia

In an article for the Spring 2007 issue of Skin Deep, a publication for bookbinders, Mark Winstanley discusses Tsbook [Tigrinya for Good] - The Gospel of Abba, a 6th century Ethiopian Gospel and its repair project.

Bones of Saint Philipp for sale in Russia

The skull and bone purported to be holy relics of Saint Philipp are for sale by a private owner on a Russian website. The Russian Orthodox Church has called the sale "blasphemous."

Medieval priory found beneath Somerset barn

Researchers working on artifacts found beneath a 16th century barn near Dunster, England believe they belong to the Benedictine Priory of Dunster which dates to 1127 CE. Archaeologists have so far discovered two walls, paving and glazed tile fragments.

Marriage, divorce and whiskey in Ireland

The February 2007 issue of the Chivalry Sports online newsletter includes two new articles: Marriage and Divorce Laws in Early Medieval Ireland and A recipe for Irish Whiskey Cake.

The REAL history of Valentine's Day

An article posted on Newswise looks at the history - and myths - of Valentine's Day. "Though it may be swathed in pink fluffy confections, Valentine’s Day is far from sugar sweet. Before you dig into that box of chocolates, here’s the real history behind all the candy and flowers."

New Medieval Views of Stonehenge

This new view of Stonehenge is a tiny Medieval drawing in the "scala mundi" or "world ladder" on a chart which chronicles Creation. While not the oldest image of Stonehenge, it one of only a few known to exist.

Shakespeare's Church Has Leaky Roof

The caretakers of the church where William Shakespeare was baptized and buried want help to fix its leaky roof. Holy Trinity Church in Stratford upon Avon is seeking sponsors to "adopt a gargoyle" and help the church provide the extensive maintenance needed.

Canterbury Cathedral in crisis

England's Canterbury Cathedral has launched an international fundraising campaign in a effort to raise more than UK£50m necessary for urgent repairs.