Archaeologists have discovered a Catholic reliquary in the tomb of the leader of the first Protestant Church in the USA

Finding gives the Foundation of Rome to be closer to the Vatican

WASHINGTON. American archaeologists have produced a sensation. Excavations at the first permanent English settlement in the U.S., the colony of Jamestown (Virginia), they discovered the remains of captain Gabriel Archer, one of the leaders of the settlers. The uniqueness of this discovery in two of the accompanying nuances. First, in the Archer’s grave was discovered a silver reliquary, in which were found several bones and a tiny vial filled with Holy water or blood. Secondly, the captain was buried in a hexagonal coffin, head East. In this way, indicates the American edition of the Atlantic, often buried Catholic priests. From here the intrigue: Jamestown was a Protestant colony, but now the conclusion is that it flourished clandestine Catholic community, whose members consisted of some leaders of the settlement, and the Archer could be its secret leader or even a priest. “Finding mysterious little silver box containing the relics was one of the major surprises, — said the President of Jamestown Foundation, James horn. — We’re still trying to figure out what it means: it is very uncommon to find a Catholic reliquary in the tomb of the leader of the first protestantskaja in the country.”

American and British Catholic publication, for obvious reasons, interested in the discovery of archaeologists, yet not make far-reaching conclusions from this event. But there is no doubt that the issues it raises are many. When in the 1600’s the British outcasts went in search of happiness in the New world, their religious affiliation was of great importance. According to the American portal of the Catholic National Catholic Register, at the beginning of the XVII century, the fear and hatred of the “papirnica” experienced in England one of the highest peaks in the country’s history. Exposed “the gunpowder plot”, prepared by the English Jesuits in exile boards Douai and Valladolid to assassinate king James I, his family and the British Parliament in 1605 led to the adoption of restrictive laws against the Catholics, and severe repression. Any English Catholic priest, especially a Jesuit, could be suspected of inciting and conspiring against the ruling system. So the monarch is unlikely to be happy to find out that the Catholic opposition is secretly integrated into the teams of settlers going to the newly opened continent. Although in 1629 the English colony of Maryland was given religious freedom, allowing Catholics and Anglicans freely profess their faith, after the expulsion of the last Catholic king of England James II the “Glorious revolution” of 1688 Maryland Catholics had to go underground as they were banned from holding services publicly.

Therefore, the question of religious foundations of the American nation during its national construction still decided in favor of Protestantism, which was considered “local”, and Catholicism — “alien”. The first Catholic colonizers in this interpretation was recognized by the Spaniards and the French, who since the sixteenth century based their colonies from Florida to California. Accordingly, during the war, North American settlers with European countries Catholicism with its priests and monks of the orders admitted for “enemy agents” of foreign countries. The history of the Catholic of America, according to the researcher the colonial period from Brandeis University Maura Jane Farrelly, generally accepted theory begins in 1820’s-1830’s with the wave of immigrants from Germany, Ireland, Austria-Hungary, Italy and the Russian Empire. In 1820, the number of Catholics had increased to 200 thousand people, thirty years later there were about 1.6 million people, and by the end of the XIX century — up to 12 million people. The growth of the Catholic community was challenged on religious and political level. In the XIX century there were even so-called movement “nativists” or “know nothings”. Known for its ideologues was the inventor of the Telegraph Samuel Morse and the father of the famous writer-opponents of slavery, the President of a theological Seminary in Cincinnati, Lyman Beecher. Morse and Beecher believed in a “conspiracy against democracy” involved not only Catholic bishops, but also European monarchical States, and the Austrian Chancellor Metternich and Russian Tsar Nicholas I.

As remarked associate Professor of Church history and historical theology, father David Endres, American Catholics always suspected of disloyalty and lack of American identity due to the fact that their Supreme shepherd is located in Rome. Today this issue, says a Catholic historian, is again at the forefront in the definitions of “Catholic” and “American” should be correct for a noun, what adjective? In this sense, archaeologists discovered the find in Jamestown gives American Catholics reason to enter their ancestors in a number of the founding fathers of the country, and Rome to be closer to Washington. Of course, there remains the intriguing question, what was the fate of mystery of the Catholic community in this first English settlement and where its members and their descendants — dissolved over time in a Protestant society or, to the delight of fans of “conspiracy theories”, went to a secluded underground and continued to secretly perform their rituals, receiving instructions from the popes. Wait for the next opening of historians, if only not to be given any mark or sign from.

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