Mystery of the Murdered Saints

2011 ,    »  -   58 Comments
Ratings: 6.81/10 from 21 users.

Mystery of the Murdered SaintsFor the first time, the Catholic Church is allowing scientific experts and historians to openly test the veracity of the remains of reported saints.

National Geographic has exclusive access to the forensic investigation.

Deep in the crypt below the Cathedral of Reggio Emilia lie a set of bones believed to be those of two ancient saints, Chrysanthus and Daria.

For more than 1,500 years they've been hidden away ... until now. Can science prove that these are a man and woman who were brutally executed by the Romans in the fight against a growing Christian faith?

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58 Comments / User Reviews

  1. David Ewer

    This seems more an advert for RC Christianity than a documentary.

  2. dewflirt

    The bones stand up to all the tests modern science can throw at them, they ARE bones and they ARE old!!! :)

  3. Emmy Kahanca Gallo

    Then you did not look at this film from a scientific view. Never once in this film was their a push of conversion. This was a scientific exploration,

  4. Jack1952

    Old bones are so fascinating. It would have been disappointing if their findings would have proved them to be new bones. They would be just junk bones, then. Not worth doing a documentary about.

  5. Jack1952

    Not really. Unless you believe any discussion of Christian history to be an attempt at conversion.

  6. Dai76

    I am disappointed by National Geographic's bias

  7. Gen_Grant00

    wow.... some old bones. Docs like this usually start out with " We will find out if this is true so stay tooned" and end with "All evidence points us to this conclusion but we still don't really know". SMH...

  8. Guest

    bone dry

  9. Achems_Razor

    Who cares about "dem bones"!

  10. dewflirt

    They are fascinating, I think the programme didn't do the subject justice. Needed more meat on the bones :)

  11. Jack1952

    The aspect of this story that I found interesting was that Chrysanthus objected to the excesses of Roman Life. This led to his conversion to Christianity. These early Christians were the foundation of the Roman Catholic Church. Today, we have those who object to the excesses of modern life and in particular to the Catholic Church. It would seem that no matter how much one tries to change the system for the better, it stills manages to revert to the old corrupt system. This is a lesson that modern reformers should take into consideration, such as the OWS movement, the Venus Project, or Zeitgeist.

    The Christian movement of Roman times may be their version of OWS.

  12. dewflirt

    Hadn't thought of it that way, I like it! I'm still going to hope that this time it might be different, it's too depressing to think that the best we can do is maintain the status quo. Sadly I have to agree that we always end up back where we started, someone always has to be on top. If only humans weren't so prone to Power Madness. Maybe we could do with a restore point or a factory reset. Return to a place in time when it was almost working and try again, but when would that be? Maybe childhood? :)

  13. dmxi

    paul/us aka saul/us was the founder of the roman church after he had killed stephan/us & had an epiphany which he had in the dessert whilst tracking down the companions of stephan/us.he converted to the teachings of jesus,whose brother jacob/us was the leader of the judaic splinter group, after J's demise.paul was exiled due to not being conform with the essential message & making jesus god-like,which nearly got him lynched,but was saved in the last minute by roman soldiers,who brought him back to rome & there the story of the roman church started to evolve,in total contradiction to the original
    teachings of jeezers weezers(how he was aka'd,back in the day).
    jacob was swallowed in time by conquering historians & the true message was distorted to make it fit for spiritual slavery.
    et voila.....& this is still at work with plenty of idle hands to their

  14. Jeremy

    Cuz you were there right? You saw it yourself?

    Oh you read it in the bible... nevermind.....

    it must be true then!!!

  15. dmxi

    no,historical fact,that's from the protagonists letters determined by unreligious scientists with cross references to historian accounts of the time.that is the status quo of unbiased reseachers,thats all.i'm a-gnostic,
    by the way,if that calms you down.

  16. wald0

    Something tells me that if the results had of disproven the legend we would have never heard of the study in the first place. The Catholic church takes no chances and has years of practice at hiding inconvenient truths.

  17. PavolvsBitch

    I was recently reading a letter by Mark Twain with reference to an earlier text he'd seen in Latin recording events from the period shortly after the crucifixion and emergence of a fledgling new religon: Christianity.

    It was stated that the Romans had not realised that those they had killed were Christians, for the religion was only forming. Instead, they thought they were Jews. Twain's point being that hatred of the Jews stems back before Christianity was established into the Roman Catholic demonic pagan cult and offshoots. So the skeletons may have been Jews.

  18. eva bergner

    I watched exactly 1:06 of this film....they described the bodies in the crypt as christian "martyrs" and something blah blah "PAGAN ROME" blah blah....sorry NatGeo, the Roman faith traditions were not "pagan" to them. The word pagan has lost its orginal meaning and has come to be a derisive term from the point of view of the practicioners of the ONLY religion that can be tolerated in the US, Christianity.
    My long point: they gave away the ending by using this stereotypical and irritatingly fundamentalist language. booooooooooo, natgeo.

  19. furandfeathers

    I always find it interesting that when the subject of the Catholic Church comes up there are so many negative comments made. What I see instead of the words is that there is so much HATE. That is the common thread. I watch a lot of these documentaries and no other topic seems to have this effect.
    More than any church, group, or label, it is hate that I find the most abhorant. Even athiests know to avoid these people.

  20. Gen_Grant00

    Religion and hate go hand in hand..... but this documentary kinda did suck.

  21. ThisDarkChestOfWonders

    How can you not hate an institution that condoned the slaughter of millions of people throughout history? They coined the term "Manifest Destiny", brought the inquisition, started the crusades, destroyed and colonized most the known world, killed countless people and used countless amounts of resources in the name of something that doesnt exist, harbored pedophiles and psycopaths, follow a book that tells you if you don't obey these laws written by your invisible best friend (who was hiding in a burning bush on a mountain thousands of years ago) you will go to a place of eternal torment, but he loves you! The greatest controlling tool of all time was the catholic church, and it carved out a path through history with brutal bloody force in the name of an absent god. And what an awesome loving society it has created for us! My favorite part is how we are made in this elusive creator's likeness (which is the most vain and laughable idea a sentient being can have). And oh what stupidities he gets blamed for. And you want to know why people hate the catholic church? Because our eyes and minds are open, and we are very angry.

  22. Jack1952

    It is rather ironic that there are those who voice their disapproval of Christian violence and hatred with suggestions of hatred and violence of their own. If this rancor is brought to their attention they defend their hatred by pointing out the hatred of others. They really don't disapprove of hatred or violence...just the hatred and violence of others.

  23. Jack1952

    I know about most of the material you posted except that of Jacob. As far as I know Jacob was one of the Patriarchs and lived long before the time of Paul. There are records of a man called James, who was supposedly the brother of Jesus and head of the church in Jerusalem. He opposed Paul's belief that the new religion should include everyone not just the Jews. In the end, Peter threw his support behind Paul and Christianity evolved from a Jewish sect into what it is today.

  24. Jack1952

    The power madness is not just a human trait. Most creatures that live in social groups exhibit this need. Growing up on a farm, I would watch how the cattle or chickens would react when a new animal was introduced into herd or flock. With cattle, it would even determine their position when walking along a cow path. Those who engage in cockfighting and dog fighting take advantage and distort this biological urge. Human need to establish their position in society seems more pronounced because our unique capacity to reason and achieve our goals in a more relentless fashion. It is a primal urge. Not an easy one for humanity to overcome.

  25. dewflirt

    I looked after a friends show chickens one summer, vicious things. They really do have a pecking order, the ones at the bottom bleed often. Enough good people should be able to make something good happen......all they need is a leader ;)

  26. dmxi

    'the dead sea scrolls deception' by baigent/leigh is very insightful as they quote robert eisenmanns work a lot, concerning the establishment of early christianity , the role of saul/paul & his rivalry with jacob!it's good ,if you are interested in diverse historical lay-outs!

  27. Jack1952

    One does not have to approve of Christianity to acknowledge that there is historical evidence of the existence of the major players in early Christianity. That Jesus, Peter and Paul were actual living people does not validate the religious aspects of what they wrote or taught no more than the Pope's existence validates the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church. Religion and history are two completely different disciplines.

  28. Jack1952

    The first thing such a leader would have to do is acknowledge that people are corruptible. I would think that we should be governed not by leaders, but by a system supported by leaders. The American Constitution is an attempt to govern this way but falls short of delivering what we are talking about. Since the American public feels a loyalty to the Constitution, it is unlikely that the change will come form the United States unless there is a groundswell demanding the changes in the Constitution that is necessary. Too many countries pattern their own constitution on the American one.

  29. Jack1952

    The history of early Christianity is vague and a true account cannot be deriven from the little information we have. This does lead to divergent ideas about what happened back then. I am generally leery of conspiracy theories but I do wonder why some of the later Dead Sea Scrolls have not been made public. It would interesting to know what is written in these documents.

    I did a little research and all I found was material that talked about Paul's rivalry with James the Just. Nothing about someone called Jacob. Are you sure about this and could you direct me to where you found this information if you are indeed correct.

  30. deskplant

    Your argument is too linear. Many people reject the Catholic Church and feel angry towards it because of what they have witnessed done to them and to others because of it. Do not confuse anger with hate. The Orthodox Catholic Church I grew up in (mind you it is a pre Vatican II sect) taught me that I was responsible for sending the man who sexually abused me to hell, (I was abused between ages 2 & 7) because I was female and therefore 'sinful, sexually wicked and tempting, weak natured and always to blame for male sin. With some very few exceptions the apples I saw drop from this tree were horrific. So I'm not a supporter of it. I don't hate it but I am and will continue to be angry at it.

  31. dmxi

    'the dead sea scrolls deception' examines why the missing texts haven't been published & who has been accounted for this scientific mis-demeanor.don't be irritated by the title &/or the authors(baigent/leigh),this is no out-of-the-world conspiracy fantasy nonesense,it's been properly researched,with information from recognized scholars of this field,i've checked.good read & very'll understand why a lot hasn't been made public.(i've read the german edition,i don't know if names are changed in english. it states the story of jacob the just,i don't believe in mix-ups in names,like with james the just.but i'm not firm with this topic.)

  32. Xplurer

    The advert for the RC church may alway work the opposite way. Unspiritual religions are about things and places. According to the Bible Jesus' whole life mission and effort was to show humankind the difference it makes to put their trust and belief in the invisible and Eternal. Faith is not faith in something. Religions are filled with mystery and politics. Its a lot about power. the gospel is a revelation of a new life focused on what's invisible, and it is about heart religion.

  33. Sieben Stern

    they're being a little disingenuous - they can have it both ways. if the skeletons show a violent death they'd find a myth that concurs with it, and if they didn't they'd just find a different one. what does any of this prove?

    Liked some of the paperwork, though. too bad that didn't go back far enough.

  34. Gen_Grant00

    Grrrrrrrr indeed.

  35. AUWR

    The Greeks had a great knowledge about the human anatomy; so it's nonsense when the narrator says that there was nobody at the time who knew so much about anatomy. Moreover, these experiments doesn't prove that these skeletons where indeed those of Chrysanthus and Daria. All in all, i wasted 45 minutes.

  36. 1849Nevermore

    Exelecent Doc. I really enjoyed the science part of it, very well presented I knew before I started it that they could not prove that these were the actual bones of Chrysanthus and Daria and anybody who did lives in a fantasy world. The age of the bones was an important to me. It was also ver interesting to see the process they went through to reach all the conclusions
    I just don't understand why some nonbelivers watch movies like this. Is it to find God or is it condem. From the looks of most of the posts so far condeming wins. Sad. I appreciated it for the sience mainly but also for the Church to preserve them.

  37. Jack1952

    Bias? An old story concerning early martyrs of the Church and an investigation into their supposed graves. You managed to find bias. Would like to read an elaboration of your claim.

  38. Jack1952

    I tend to disagree. The story of Chrysanthus and Daria may not be true, but it does give insight into the climate of those times. Sometimes it is just as important to get into the heads of the people living in that period by studying the stories that were important to them. Unless, you really aren't all that interested in history. Then it would be a waste of time.

  39. AUWR

    The documentary was supposed to provide evidence to the allegations that the bones belonged to Chrysanthus and Daria. Since they didn't, yes it was a waste of time.

  40. Jack1952

    If that was your reason for watching the video then you're right. I guess we are all motivated in different ways. I found it interesting for my own reasons. I went in thinking that it would almost impossible to prove exactly whose bones they belonged to. I feel no need to validate any religious beliefs. It would have been an incredible accomplishment had they been able to prove the authenticity of those bones but I still can't see how it could have been done.

    In the end it doesn't make either one of us right or wrong....only different. Nothing wrong about that.

  41. AUWR

    Since they took the burden of making a 45 min. documentary on the remains, i had thought they would've gone deeper into the investigation with maternal lineage tests and examination of dental plaque which would have revealed a lot more of their heritage and diet. But yes, now that i think about it, i can't see them doing anything that could've definitely proven their identity.

  42. Jonathan Roseland

    I consider my intellectual, born again Christian and I dislike the description of this video, describing these two as Christian saints.

    This kind of silly Roman Catholic fairy tale is what gives Christianity a bad name.

  43. Mark Conlin

    I thought it was born again fundamentalists that are ignorant their own origins, history and faith that gave Christianity a bad name.

  44. haloween

    The Catholic church[Rome] seems to have a thing for dead people and bones. must be a off shoot of, or is a form of necromancy. They collect bones and hair and fingers and bodies of the dead they say they are so and so, they put the bodies or parts in coffins or shadow boxes, lite candles call them saints, re-do their bodies so they will last longer, pray to them...hummm makes for a great horror picture or book.

  45. sknb

    How do I full screen it?

  46. terence galland

    as i understand it the soul or psyche (personality)are immortal and as the animating source of energy cannot die, but quite how it becomes clothed in flesh again is a great mystery to me, the skeleton is just the scaffolding of the body, the most important parts of a human must surely be the brain and the heart, the bones are merely a distraction from the truth in my mind.

  47. Basketblah

    The conclusion is: The bones are from the same era as the story. Meaning that there is no proof that they really are the saints the church claims they are. I think the church needs to give out refunds to all the gullible people that dumped tons of money throughout hundreds of years of pilgrimages and donations to see a box of unverified bones that they were told, belonged to saints.

  48. Qui

    The conclusion is: a female and a male skeleton was found, from the era as the story. Female skeleton not older than 25 years, the male skeleton even less than 18 years. Both skeletons do not show any signs of torture, they were possibly buried alive. The place where they have been buried alive initially has not been found. These are the facts. The rest of it is history, myth etc. There is a possibility that these skeletons are those of those saints, there is no way the historians would have been able to discover the true identity of those skeletons.

    To the comments I have read, many of you do not see a difference between the church (religious institute), the religion (which is a shape or a system, a worldview, a law) and the belief (which is very personal, is what you make of it).

    Most people do not have the ability to analyze and to put it all together again. Especially when science and religion come together. A explosive mixture like a atomic bomb. Because science is all about facts. And religion is the opposite of it, religion is believing. Think about it.

  49. sknb

    It is very interesting to me to hear the vast difference between the Christianity that is propagated in many American Christian Fundamentalist Churches today and the kind of Christianity that Chrysanthus and Daria were supposedly preaching. Now Christians in America talk constantly about the idea of the Family, and this is part of their hate towards homosexuals and their crusade against gay marriage. However, you have these ancient saints saying that a marriage that does not produce children is ideal.

    And the "Vatican Division of Sacred Archeology"... I would love to talk with them about the influence and prevalence of mushrooms in early Christian art.

  50. Susie

    i agree, i think stable isotope readings and perhaps a laser-scanned reconstruction of the heads would have lent some info about the source of the bones

  51. Tringa Deda

    Great documentary. Serious and convist analyse. The impostance of belive is documented by science. The religion is mater of belive. 2000 year of history, specificaly, is hard to confirm by material science.

  52. Maggie Cunningham

    If the church must prove a miracle is real now through science, then why would it be surprising that the church would investigate old christian martyrs? It doesn't mean that the saints did not exist or that the legend isn't true. Faith and believing in saints isn't about x-rays, it shows us that we can be like Christ, like the did. That's it. Do not make it more complicated.

  53. Maggie Cunningham

    And if it is false, then it should be said to be false, like other "maricles" which were proven false. The church isn't perfect and people within the church can lead to such falsehoods which doesn't mean other miracles and saints are not false.

  54. Alessandra Cinti

    In fact, the approach in this study was purely scientific, faith is something else!

  55. Totsie

    This is a clear example of bull**** to support a dying religion... They gave 3 different causes of death and all of these 3 causes would support ANY dmg to the the bones, (if any damage at all) and in braud pen strokes it supports any teories given.. and nothing here is PROOF that its the real persons at hand.... stupidity at it most deceptive way possible.

  56. Kath

    There's some pretty dodgy reinterperetation of completely inconclusive results in here. "Nobody at the time had the knowledge of anatomy to match these forensic details so pefectly!" What the details of there being no remarkable or distinguishing details at all? Ridiculous!

  57. Maria Christine

    I am so sorry that was said to you! Whatever was said was not a Catholic teaching. I understand your anger. I and hope you have found peace.

  58. Yogurt Head

    I had to stop watching it. From the narrator and the writing, it sounds like this was produced by 7th graders. For me to quit watching something on this subject matter is a testament to how terribly put together it is.

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