Researcher says he's 'astonished' by results of study of martyrs' bones
Published: June 25, 2012
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (CNS) -- A team of researchers has been studying the skeletal remains of martyrs kept in reliquaries at a Louisville Catholic church, and so far the results seem to confirm information about the two saints passed down over the centuries. Since 1902, the bones of two martyrs -- St. Magnus, a Roman centurion, and St. Bonosa, a young Roman virgin -- have flanked the altar at St. Martin of Tours Church. There the pair, who are believed to have been martyred in the third or fourth century in Rome, have attracted the curious and the faithful alike. In late May, their remains were removed from their reliquaries -- made of marble and glass -- and a team of researchers from the University of Louisville began examining the bones in a former chapel at St. Martin. Philip DiBlasi, an archaeologist who teaches skeletal forensics at the University of Louisville, and four students are taking an inventory of the remains, determining their demographic profiles and hoping to learn even more about the pair of ancient saints. While his research isn't complete, DiBlasi said during an interview with The Record, Louisville archdiocesan newspaper, that he has been astonished by the findings. "I am really comfortable with (the notion) these (remains) are who they represent," he said. "I am frankly astounded that the demographic information (that was passed down in stories about the saints) is so close to what we have found."
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