Archaeologist says Vatican holding treasure trove of sacred Jewish objects dating back some 2,000 years.
By World Israel News Staff
Ancient artifacts dating back to Israel’s Herodian Jewish Temple, located in Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago, including shofars, priestly garments, and Torah scrolls, may be secretly held by the Vatican, according to an investigative archaeologist writing for the Jerusalem Report.
Harry Moskoff, a Torah scholar and archaeology expert, wrote that evidence points to the Vatican being in possession of countless sacred Jewish relics.
Some of the Jewish artifacts currently held by the Vatican include the “Temple candelabra given to Pope Innocent III by Baldwin I after the sacking of Constantinople and the massacre of the Christian Orthodox population,” Vatican expert Dr. Michael A. Calvo told the Jerusalem Report.
“Temple shofars and utensils; garments of the High Priest; the Tzitz – a gold plaque with the words Kodesh L’Hashem (“Holy to the Lord”); cultural objects, and many other objets d’art, books and manuscripts that the Vatican and other churches have appropriated and placed in their own storerooms, libraries and museums.”
These items reportedly made their way to the Vatican from a rich array of places, including ancient Byzantium, throughout multiple conquests over centuries.
For example, some of the holy Jewish objects held in Byzantium by Christian priests and emperors were then evacuated to the Vatican for safekeeping after the region fell to Muslim conquerors.
According to Moskoff, several Jewish and Israeli visitors have been brought down to the Vatican’s storage facility for the items — reportedly four stories underground, beneath St. Peter’s Museum, at the entrance to the Necropolis — and have confirmed the existence of the items.
One visitor who arrived at the site in the early 20th century, esteemed Libyan Rabbi Yitzchak Chai Bokovza, reportedly was so shocked by the treasures held by the Vatican that he took a vow of silence after viewing them. He died 40 days later.
Moskoff wrote that the existence of various international agreements to which the Vatican is a party, alongside an increasing international sentiment that cultural artifacts should be returned to their rightful owners, may mean that Israel can request for the Vatican to transfer ownership of these items to the Jewish State.
However, Moskoff acknowledged that the Vatican would likely not be eager to surrender them, and such a transfer would likely require a lengthy court battle.