- Sorry about duplications.Message 1 of 1 , May 29, 2003View Source
FW: NYTimes obit
Sorry about duplications.
From: Popplestone, Ann
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Subject: NYTimes obit
May 29, 2003
Antonio Ferrua, Jesuit Archaeologist, Dies at 102
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ROME, May 28 — Antonio Ferrua, a Jesuit archaeologist who was in charge of the digging that brought to light what are believed to be the tomb and bones of St. Peter, the first pope, died on Sunday, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano said. He was 102.
Excavation in the grottoes under St. Peter's Basilica was ordered by Pope Pius XII. It started in 1940 and went on for about a decade.
The work uncovered an ancient necropolis, and a tomb found at the site was declared to be that of St. Peter.
Years later Pope Paul VI, whose papacy spanned 1963 to 1978, declared that the bones of an elderly man found at the site were those of Peter.
Father Ferrua was also considered a leading scholar in epigraphy, the study of inscriptions of ancient Christian origin, a field he had explored since his youth. He shed light on thousands of inscriptions, and scores of books included his findings.
He joined the Jesuits in 1918 and began studies in epigraphy, Latin literature and archaeology.
In 1947, he became secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology, a post that allowed him to explore many sites, in particular, ancient cemeteries and catacombs. He filled that position for 24 years.
From 1973 to 1979 he was the rector of the Pontifical Institute for Christian Archaeology.
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