The remains of the first Catholic pope have been exhumed by archaeologists and have been remarkably well preserved, as well as turning up some secrets the church would rather have stayed buried.
The mummy of Pope St. Pius I is one of the best preserved in the history of mankind. His corpse was not embalmed, it was mummified naturally for a period of about 1,700 years.
His remains are considered a true discovery for science, because even though during life he suffered from cardiovascular diseases, gallstones, gout, diabetes, caries and tuberculosis, these organs preserved very well.
The man thought to be the first pope is believed to have died around 155AD and was initially buried in the cathedral in the city of Aquileia.
The cathedral was knocked down, and the tomb opened in 1789 before being transferred to a chapel for reburial in 1875.
The remarkable preservation is thought to have been due to a combination of the large number of humidity and plants inside the tomb and the fact that he was buried in the winter months, allowing less decomposition to take place in the first few months that the body was buried.
More interestingly alongside the body, the archaeologists found numerous documents also preserved from the time of his death detailing alternate accounts of key events and even some that suggest that the Messiah was, in fact, a fabrication created by the Christians of the time to further their agenda.
If the documents are verified as genuine, it could cast doubt by the entire Catholic faith system which has been damaged greatly already in recent years due to numerous scandals.
Alongside the numerous conflicting accounts of the life of Jesus are also hundreds of other stories relating to other similar prophets throughout the ages, many of whom bear striking similarities fo Jesus.
From the documents found it appears that the life of Jesus as most people know it was largely created from handpicked moments from the stories of other previous messianic figures from history.
The true life of Jesus, who science has supported was a real person, may have been very different and not at all as the Bible suggests. Some of the other messianic figures who predated Jesus but bear striking similarities include Horus and Mithras, both of whom are said to have been the basis of some of the life story of Jesus in the past.
Horus, the Egyptian god of the sky and kingship, was born of a virgin, baptized at the age of 30 and had 12 disciples. He was also crucified and resurrected similarly to Jesus thousands of years later.
Mithras was a Roman cult god and also had a virgin birth, had a festival on December 25th, marked his followers on the forehead, was associated with the lion nd the lamb, sacrificed himself and had a sacred day on Sunday.
All centuries before Jesus had been born or Christianity had taken root. More information on Mithras can be found here.