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500 years after being laid to rest in an unmarked grave, Nicolaus Copernicus, the 16th-century astronomer whose findings were condemned as heretical by the Catholic Church, has been reburied by Polish priests claiming him a hero.
After his death in 1543, his remains rested beneath the floor of the cathedral in Frombork, Poland. This was considered a proper burial at the time and did not reflect the condemnation of the Catholic Church that was to occur decades later.
In 2004 scientists found the skull and bones of a 70-year-old man, Copernicus’ age when he died. Forensic reconstruction resembled a self-portrait and DNA testing of bones and teeth matched hair found in Copernicus’ books. Scientists believed they had indeed found the author of the famous treatise “On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres”
His remains lay in state for weeks in Olsztyn then were toured around the region. At the time of his final burial an honor guard carried the coffin into the cathedral and lowered it into the same spot where his bones had originally been found.
The local bishop who had urged the search for Copernicus, said that the burial was a reconciliation of science and faith.
Posted by Karen Jones, author of DEATH FOR BEGINNERS Your No-Nonsense, Money-Saving Guide to Planning for the Inevitable
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