Was font inside St. Paul’s Basilica used for baptism for the dead?
There is an email going around that claims that there is a baptismal font located deep inside the Basilica of St. Paul that was used for the purposes of baptism for the dead. The email goes like this:
This photo was taken by Kevin Barton, grandson of Keith Barton, a Stake Patriarch, when Kevin was on his mission to Italy in 2001. These pictures were taken in Rome at St. Paul’s Cathedral which is centuries old. Kevin found a chained off area of the Cathedral, which he shouldn’t have entered but did, and discovered this old unused, I’m sure for hundreds of years, baptismal font with a mosaic inscription above it indicating it was used for baptisms for the dead.. There are probably more old Cathedrals in Italy (If they haven’t been remodeled) that still have these closed off fonts that were used centuries ago.. I wonder why they stopped ? This is truly profound and amazing..
Included in the email are very blurry photos showing the wall inscription and the nearby baptismal font, with labels overlaid showing the supposed translation.
If this news was true, it would be very exciting for members of the LDS faith. It has all the great elements of a myth- the font was hidden away in an area the photo taker was not suppose to be and it helps prove the Mormon religion. So does this make this story too good to be true….yup.
The font in the picture actually turns out to be simply the baptistry found on the lower level of St. Paul outside the walls in Rome, Italy. It is relatively open to the public. The inscription has nothing to do with baptism for the dead at all.
The full inscription is “CON SEPVLTIENIM SVMVS CVM ILLO PER BAPTISMVM IN MORTEM.” It turns out that this is Latin from Romans 6:4: “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death.” This verse, of course, is not talking about baptism for the dead, but baptism as symbolic of death, and the death of Christ.