WARSAW (Reuters) - The Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus has been reburied in Poland in a lavish ceremony 467 years after his death, media reported over the weekend.
During a Roman Catholic ritual, the remains were interred beneath the altar of Frombork Cathedral in northern Poland, where the astronomer had been the canon (head priest) and where he originally was buried in 1543.
The exact location of his grave had been lost and his remains were not conclusively identified until 2005, through the use of modern DNA testing.
Best known for his treatise “On the Revolution of the Celestial Spheres,” Copernicus asserted that the earth revolved around the sun -- contrary to the medieval belief that the earth was the center of the universe.
The theory was viewed with suspicion by the Church, and his treatise was not published until 1543, the year of his death.
Eventually the theory became the cornerstone for a future generation of scientists including Kepler and Galileo, but one of its ardent advocates, Italian cleric Giordano Bruno, was burned at the stake as a heretic in 1600.
The astronomer’s processional transfer began at Olsztyn Castle in February, with extended stops at several northern Poland sites with which he had been connected along the way, and did not arrive at Frombork until the middle of last week.
Reporting and writing by Rob Strybel, editing by Michael Roddy