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The Saint Philomena Question Answered

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April 17, 2005 - 12:00 PDT


Catholic PRWire

A conference was held in Rome to get answers for "The Philomenan Question".

On April 9, 2005, a panel, of scientists, priests and devotees presented reports that offered resounding answers which will put to rest the years of questioning once and for all time.

It was a Blessed week in Rome, as many of us experienced the celebration of our beloved Pope John Paul II.

Also, it is a wonderful coincidence that the magazine, "Inside the Vatican" should have a large article about our Saint on the news stand the same week. Inside the magazine, there are lots of pictures and among other things, it reports about the great growth of the devotion world-wide to our Saint, estimating it to be around five million strong now. The Sanctuary wants to praise each of you in each Universal Archconfraternity. This is truly a testament to all of the very hard work you do to spread the devotion of St. Philomena.

The following is the statement released by the Rector of the Sanctuary of St. Philomena, Monsignor Giovanni Braschi:

2005 is a very special year for all us devotees of St. Philomena as it is the celebration of the 200th anniversary year of translation of her Sacred Relics from Rome to the Sanctuary of Mugnano del Cardinale. This journey itself is a story and you will be able to read of this and many other historical events surrounding our Saint in our newsletters this year, The Messenger of St. Philomena.

Two hundred years ago St. Philomena was placed in a special Altar at the Sanctuary, situated on the central left side as you walk into the Church. And from that moment she changed the lives of everyone who encountered her. Now, in these present days she touches the lives of many people worldwide and calls them to the Sanctuary in Mugnano del Cardinale.

Sadly, many devotees have reported to me confusion stemming from the St. Philomena controversy. I have been Rector of the Sanctuary for over twenty years and I have worked to correct any confusion or misunderstandings surrounding St. Philomena. Therefore, as Rector, I decided the most effective solution was to devote myself to engage the best minds available in the scientific world today to find out the truth about our Saint. From the onset of this effort, I was prepared to accept the truth as final no matter what the results of the scientific research revealed. My desire was to settle the controversy once and for all to relieve any anxiety devotees may have about our Saint.

We announced the results of the new and exhaustive scientific research at the Conference of the New Philomenian Studies on April 9, 2005, at the Catacombs of St. Pricilla in Rome, where the tomb of Saint Philomena was discovered in 1802.

There are two main parts of this investigation; the first is that of the tomb stones. They tell the story of the person buried there with specific symbols depicting the history of the sufferings and the death which occurred along with the name of the person.

The controversy was initiated when the case of St. Philomena was discussed and argued in the beginning of the 20th Century: using scientific methods only available in his time, the archaeologist Orazio Marucchi stated the theory that the tomb stones had been sealed more than once, which would have meant they were re-used.

Additionally, he postulated that the reason the order of the first and last tomb stone were reversed is because the tomb had been opened and then resealed.

The present-day scientific investigations using modern and technically advanced equipment has demonstrated clearly that the tomb stones were only sealed once.

More importantly, with these modern techniques, they are dated 202 A.D, which mean that St. Philomena is an earlier Martyr of the Church than first thought.

With the new scientific results of the tomb stones which originally were placed in the wrong order now have an explanation; With powerful modern tools a closer and more detailed examination of the three tiles revealed a surprise that no one previously had realized.

At the time of her burial, there where originally two tomb stones, but three were needed to completely close the tomb. The larger of the two stones was cut horizontally in half resulting in two separate stones out of it, which made the required three in total. The now three tiles were laid out and the inscription was applied across the total of them, PAXTE - CUMFI - LUMENA. Each of the three tiles had a portion of the message the first stone had, PAXTE, the second stone had CUMFI and the third stone, LUMENA.

After having done this, the mason worker realized that the tomb was taller at one end than the other. The stones were reversed to move the wider stone to the wider opening to accommodate the wider opening. Therefore, in order for the stones to be placed to properly fit the opening, it resulted in reversing the three sections of the inscription to the following order: LUMENA - PAXTE - CUMFI, placing the last original stone in the place of the first one, which by doing this, meant that the words on them were put in the wrong order.

The second part of the results of the new scientific investigation was regarding the glass vase which was found in the tomb with the Relics of Saint Philomena. It has been scientifically proven now to have blood in it and to our surprise a small fragment of bone was also found in it. This new discovery indicates that St. Philomena did have a violent death.

I sought to find the truth, again, regardless of the results, and happily, I am able to report now that the results dispel any confusion or misunderstanding that may have existed before about St. Philomena.

All the representatives of the worldwide Universal Archconfraternity centres of St. Philomena will receive a full transcript of the conference and scientific results soon.

They also have a full detailed list of the events which will be held at the Sanctuary for this special anniversary year.

For the 200th anniversary I ask you all to spread the word of St. Philomena to as many as you can, let her name be a common word in your community and encourage the joining of a local novena prayer circle. Form these little family and friends groups and pray to this powerful Saint who is very close and powerful with God.

Blessing you with the benediction of St. Philomena through the Sacred Heart of Our Lord and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Monsignor Giovanni Braschi
Santuario Santa Filomena
83027 Mugnano del Cardinale
Avellino, Italy
tel:+39 81 8257204
fax: 081-511 2733


Santuario Santa Filomena
, IT
Giovanni Braschi - Rector, 81 8257204


Saint Philomena



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