Researchers try to answer mystery of saintly skull
The skull of St. Lucius was one of the most important relics of medieval Denmark, and was housed in Roskilde Cathedral. However, a team of scientists recently made a study of the skull, and although an examination shows it to belong to an elderly male, the result of the carbon 14 dating leaves no doubt: this is not St. Lucius, who died around 254 CE.
The legend of how the skull ended up in Denmark starts in the 1100’s, when the people of Roskilde felt that their new cathedral should have a patron saint to whom they could appeal for help and protection. Two priests were sent as envoys to Rome to ask for an appropriate relic. The priests were led to Santa Cecilia, where they were to select a relic from the many found there. They caught sight of a skull shining brightly in the sun, and so the legend goes, it turned out to be that of St. Lucius (whose name means ‘light’). One of the priests claimed that St. Lucius had appeared in a dream declaring that he was destined to be the cathedral’s patron.
The dating was carried out by Jan Heinemeier at the Department of Physics, University of Aarhus. The results showed that the skull came from the period 340-431 CE, and therefore proved that it did not belong to St. Lucius (who died in 254 CE).
The relic of St. Lucius