The Discovery of Gamaliel's Remains
Gamaliel was a renowned rabbi in Jerusalem who taught the apostle Paul. He is honored in the Christian tradition for his defense of the early apostles.
The Jewish authorities prohibited Peter and the other apostles from preaching about Jesus, and when they continued, they were arrested and tried. Gamaliel was a man of great respect and was considered a leading teacher of his time. He defended the apostles (Acts 5:34-39), arguing that they not be executed. “If their work is their own, it will come to nothing,” he said. “If it is of God, you cannot overthrow it, unless you are found to even fight against God.”
Some believe that Gamaliel was baptized by Sts. Peter and John, along with his son, Abibo (who later became a saint). He is honored on August 3 because in the fifth century, his relics were miraculously discovered on this date and transferred to the cathedral in Pisa, Italy. In Jewish tradition, Gamaliel remained a Pharisee until he died.
The stained glass window above, from the Basilica’s reliquary chapel, depicts the discovery of his remains. It is an appropriate scene to watch over the more than 1,600 relics there, including remains from all twelve apostles, because Gamaliel protected the Church’s first saints. (His name on the tomb in the window appears in the foreign spelling as “Cheliel”.)
Gamaliel, defender of apostles, pray for us!