Pastoral Notes 28th June 2015

The site of St Paul’s martyrdom (by beheading, as he was a Roman citizen, from an established Roman colony) is today a Trappist monastery. The church of Tre Fontane (three springs) goes back to the 5th century and is built over what is believed to be the scene of his martyrdom, where the ‘three springs’ flowed. The present church was built in 1599. St Paul’s remains are now in the basilica of St Paul (outside the ancient city walls, as with all burials at the time). St Peter may have been imprisoned in a notorious prison close to the centre of ancient Rome, the Capitol, but is believed to have been martyred, along with many others in an arena of the emperor Nero, then on the Vatican slopes. There is overwhelming evidence that St Peter was buried in a catacomb (cemetery above and below ground) underneath the high altar of St Peter’s basilica. Innumerable Christian graffiti can be seen there, asking his prayers, as we do ask the prayers of the apostles on this feast.