Bible Archaeology

Bulgarian Archaeologists Uncover Christian Complex


A large complex of small Christian churches has been gradually unearthed by Bulgarian archaeologists in downtown Sofia during continuing excavations at the construction sites of the Sofia Metro.

During the excavations near the Serdica metro station and the TZUM department store in the downtown of the Bulgarian capital last summer, the archaeologists found the remains of a medieval church.

They have now found two more medieval churches dating back to the 14th and 16th centuries located within 70 m from one another, archaeologist Snezhana Goryanova has revealed.

The northern church is located 30 m away from the Banya Bashi mosque; it was built in the 14th century, during the period of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396), and is believed to have functioned as a temple until the middle of the 16th century, which is when the second church was built. Sofia was conquered by the Ottoman Turkish Empire in 1385 AD.

While the older church has two layers of murals, the second one has six. It is believed to have functioned until the end of the 19th century when it was destroyed for the construction of the Vitosha Blvd and Sofia’s urban planning as the capital of Bulgaria.

Archaeologist Mario Ivanov, who is charge of the excavations near TZUM, said the archaeologists have found items dating back from the 1st to the end of the 19th century. The greatest number of items after from 4th-6th century and the 16th-19th century.

Sofia, called Serdica by the Ancient Thracians, Greeks, and Romans, was the favorite city of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, who is known for saying, “Serdica is my Rome.” The city became part of Bulgaria in 805 AD, and was renamed with its Slavic name Sredets.


Priest Slaps 9 Year Old Girl in Church

How vicious! Totally deplorable:

Thrissur, India:  A nine-year-old girl who failed to take confession in a Church here was allegedly slapped by the angry Vicar, prompting the child’s father to file a police complaint.
The police said as per the complaint, Father Paul Pulikottil, the Vicar of the nearby Vadookara Little Flower Parish Church, had allegedly slapped the girl on July 9 in the church hall in the presence of several others.
The girl’s father, Biju, who is the president of the Kerala Catholic Youth Movement of the parish unit, said the Vicar had ordered that all children who had received their first Holy Communion, should confess once every three months.
After mass on July 9, the Vicar asked the children if they had followed his orders.When the girl stood up and admitted that she had not, the angry priest slapped her hard on the cheek, he said.
The girl’s face became swollen and one of her teeth loosened up. She was admitted to a district hospital the next day and later discharged, Biju told PTI.
Police have registered a case against the priest for assaulting a minor girl under the Juvenile Justice Act 2000.
The investigation was progressing and a report would be submitted to the court shortly, police said.

Biju said pressure was being exerted on him by certain influential people to make a compromise in this regard as the priest was likely to leave for the US in two months.
He said he had met the Archbishop of Thrissur in this regard.
The Vicar was not available for his comments.

Watch out America! The report says he’s coming your way…


Over 300 Austrian Priests Join ‘Call to Disobedience’

Catholic Culture reports:

Over 300 of Austria’s 4,200 priests have pledged to take part in Aufruf zum Ungehorsam (Call to Disobedience), an initiative launched in June.

The Call to Disobedience document cites “the Roman refusal of a long-overdue Church reform and the inaction of bishops.” Priests who support the document pledge

  • to pray for Church reform at every liturgy, since “in the presence of God there is freedom of speech”
  • not to deny the Holy Eucharist to “believers of good will,” including non-Catholic Christians and those who have remarried outside the Church
  • to avoid offering Mass more than once on Sundays and holy days and to avoid making use of visiting priests–instead holding a “self-designed” Liturgy of the Word
  • to describe such a Liturgy of the Word with the distribution of Holy Communion as a “priestless Eucharistic celebration”; “thus we fulfill the Sunday obligation in a time of priest shortage”
  • to “ignore” canonical norms that restrict the preaching of the homily to clergy
  • to oppose parish mergers, insisting instead that each parish have its own individual leader, “whether man or woman”
  • to “use every opportunity to speak out openly in favor of the admission of the married and of women to the priesthood”

“The open call to disobedience shocked me,” Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna said in a July 7 letter, noting that many professionals would have “long since lost their jobs” if they had called for disobedience. Reminding priests that they had freely promised obedience to their bishop at ordination, he asked, “Can I rely on you?”

“Christian obedience is a school of freedom,” the cardinal added. “It is about the concrete translation into life of what we pray in every Our Father, when we ask the Father that His will be done in heaven and on earth … This willingness is made concrete in religious obedience to the Pope and bishops.”

Those who truly in conscience believe that they must disobey the hierarchy, and that “‘Rome’ is on the wrong track [and] gravely contradicts the will of God,” ought in consequence to “travel the way no more with the Roman Catholic Church. I believe and hope, however, that this extreme case does not occur here.”

“The one who gives up the principle of obedience dissolves unity,” the cardinal continued, as he pledged to meet with the initiative’s leaders and point out its “inconsistencies,” such as “priestless Eucharist.”

The new initiative’s web site is registered in the name of Father Hans Bensdorp, until 2010 the parish priest of the Church of the Rosary in Hetzendorf in the Archdiocese of Vienna. A YouTube video, uploaded in 2009, shows an excerpt from the Mass commemorating the 35th anniversary of Father Bensdorp’s priestly ordination, according to the video’s description. Tensions between the papacy and segments of the Church in Austria are not novel, as witnessed by the advent of Josephinism in the 18th centry, the fin-de-siècle Los von Rom (Free from Rome) movement, and disagreements between the Vatican and Vienna Cardinal Theodor Innitzer in the face of the Nazi Anschluss.

A ‘Call to Disobedience’?! That says it all.

Bible Archaeology

The Magdala Archaeological Site

Inspires gospel reminiscing:

The Magdala Center’s new guesthouse, along with a uniquely written Catholic mass will bring to life New Testament times in the Galilee.


The Magdala Center, Notre Dame Pontifical Institute’s planned guesthouse, is on the shores of the Galilee and hosts a peek into the time of Jesus. Even though the Gospels barely mention the city, Magdala (or Migdal) played a historic role in the 1st century as revealed in the ongoing archaeological dig on the site.

Father Juan Maria Solana, charge of the Holy See at Notre Dame in Jerusalem, is the visionary behind this ambitious project and much needed accommodations. Solana spoke with Travelujah about Notre Dame’s plans to continue uncovering the ancient city on the grounds while building the 130-room guesthouse, called Notre Dame of the Galilee.

“I want to believe that there are a couple of gospel miracles that happened in Magdala,” Solana said.

The entire archaeological area uncovered is exclusively 1st century, which is rare. Most sites, even those nearby, usually show an overlap of periods. This one so far is purely Roman era. It has also revealed a community that was likely very wealthy.

“In this synagogue they had a great leader – not common, very rich,” he said.

Solana listed some of the impressive findings in the excavations including a synagogue, a marketplace, a villa, a perfectly preserved mosaic, rooms paved with well-cut stones and three arches, one of which is still standing. The synagogue contains mosaics, a carved stone menorah and frescoes.

Another key find is the port of Magdala, some 50 meters from the current shoreline and near the marketplace. On one side of the port is all the remnants of the lake that had lapped against the wall.

With a villa, a marketplace and a port, Magdala could possibly have been more of a leading town than Capernaum, previously thought of as the “capital” of the Galilee. And the excavations continue.

“We still have a lot of space to dig, dunams and dunams,” Solana said. “We will find many other things, but what we have found until now shows a very leading and active town.”

“For people, especially Christian pilgrims, looking to understand the time of Jesus, we have the time of Jesus seen here, very pure.”…

There’s more here.