The most precious of all the relics and other objects on display is without doubt the chain with which, according to ancient tradition, the Apostle Paul was joined to the Roman soldier who was guarding him during his forced stay in Rome. This sacred relic was cited for the first time by Pope Leo the Great in the 5th century.
The Pinacoteca (Picture Gallery)
The current gallery, located in the sacristy and in two adjoining rooms, contains precious paintings from the old basilica, about forty works from the 13th to 19th centuries, some copies of rare documents including an illustrated Carolingian Bible from the 8th century and various engravings of the fire of 1823.
In the cloister you can see various sarcophagi and around 2.000 fragments of tombstones with inscriptions in Greek, Latin or Hebrew found at the burial ground which came to light during the various excavations at the Basilica. The most interesting sarcophagus, known as the ‘Dogmatic’ is currently kept at the Museo Pio Cristiano in the Vatican. Among the exhibits is the ‘Praeceptum’ a large marble stone bearing the name of Pope Gregory the Great (590-604) attributed to a female monastic community that was housed in the Basilica.