In Rome lies the Santi Apostoli church, cared for by Franciscan brothers for more than 500 years. For more than 1500 years, this site has held the believed remains of two of the earliest Christians and Jesu apostles: St. Philip and St. James the Younger - relics of the Holy Catholic Church.
The researchers considered the remains of St. Philip too difficult to de-contaminate and radiocarbon date, and their age thus remains unknown so far. But the femur, believed to belong to St. James, underwent several analyses. Most importantly, it was radiocarbon dated to AD 214-340.
Thus, the preserved relic, the femur, is not that of St. James. It originates from an individual some 160-240 years younger than St. James, explains Professor Kaare Lund Rasmussen, University of Southern Denmark, adding:
- Though the relic is not that of St James, it casts a rare flicker of light on a very early and largely unaccounted for time in the history of early Christianity.
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