• Since it was considered beneficial to the soul to be buried close to the remains of saints, several large “funerary halls” were built over the sites of martyr’s graves, including
    Old Saint Peter’s Basilica.

  • [citation needed] The earliest recorded removal, or translation of saintly remains was that of Saint Babylas at Antioch in 354, but, partly perhaps because Constantinople
    lacked the many saintly graves of Rome, they soon became common in the Eastern Empire, though still prohibited in the West.

  • “[42] Until 2017, the Catholic Church divided relics into three classes: • First-class relics: items directly associated with the events of Christ’s life (manger, cross, etc.)

  • List of claimed relics[edit] The Seamless robe of Jesus in Trier Cathedral Detail of the Girdle of Mary in the Basilica of Our Lady in Maastricht The Shrine of the Three Kings
    in Cologne Cathedral • Relics of the True Cross of Jesus are claimed by many churches around the world.

  • [16] The Council decreed that every altar should contain a relic, making it clear that this was already the norm, as it remains to the present day in Catholic and Orthodox

  • By the middle of the 16th century, the number of relics in Christian churches became enormous, and there was practically no possibility to distinguish the authentic from the
    falsification, since both of them had been in the temples for centuries and were objects for worship.

  • Sometimes, one of the signs of sanctification is the condition of the relics of the saint.

  • The relics of saints (traditionally, always those of a martyr) are also sewn into the antimension which is given to a priest by his bishop as a means of bestowing faculties
    upon him (i.e., granting him permission to celebrate the Sacred Mysteries).

  • [citation needed] Believers would make pilgrimages to places believed to have been sanctified by the physical presence of Christ or prominent saints, such as the site of the
    Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

  • “[18] There are also many relics associated with Jesus.

  • The consecrating bishop will place the relics on a diskos (paten) in a church near the church that is to be consecrated, they will then be taken in a cross procession to the
    new church, carried three times around the new structure and then placed in the Holy Table (altar) as part of the consecration service.

  • • Second-class relics: items that the saint owned or frequently used, for example, a crucifix, rosary, book, etc.

  • [18] Some early Christians attributed healing powers to the pulvis (dust) from graves of saints, including Gregory of Tours.

  • The Eastern capital was therefore able to acquire the remains of Saints Timothy, Andrew and Luke, and the division of bodies also began, the 5th century theologian Theodoretus
    declaring that “Grace remains entire with every part”.

  • Many Buddhist temples have stupas and historically, the placement of relics in a stupa often became the initial structure around which the whole temple would be based.

  • Catholic teaching prohibits relics to be divided up into small, unrecognizable parts if they are to be used in liturgy (i.e., as in an altar; see the rubrics listed in Rite
    of Dedication of a Church and an Altar).

  • [46] However, the Catholic Church permitted the sale of third-class relics.

  • In the Orthodox service books, the remains of the departed faithful are referred to as “relics”, and are treated with honour and respect.

  • [10] The 2nd-century geographer Pausanias reported that the bones of Orpheus were kept in a stone vase displayed on a pillar near Dion, his place of death and a major religious

  • In classical antiquity In ancient Greece, a city or sanctuary might claim to possess, without necessarily displaying, the remains of a venerated hero as a part of a hero cult.

  • [16] Pieces of the True Cross were one of the most highly sought-after of such relics; many churches claimed to possess a piece of it, so many that John Calvin famously remarked
    that there were enough pieces of the True Cross to build a ship from.

  • [citation needed] Christianity History[edit] One of the earliest sources that purports to show the efficacy of relics is found in 2 Kings 13:20–21: And Elisha died, and they
    buried him.

  • Parts of the saint that were significant to that saint’s life are more prized relics.

  • Again, an item more important in the saint’s life is thus a more important relic.

  • [25] After Becket’s death, his successor and the Canterbury chapter quickly used his relics to promote the cult of the as-yet-uncanonized martyr.

  • Many great works of Byzantine enamel are staurothekes, or relics containing fragments of the True Cross.

  • [citation needed] Economic effect[edit] As holy relics attracted pilgrims and these religious tourists needed to be housed, fed, and provided with souvenirs, relics became
    a source of income not only for the destinations that held them, but for the abbeys, churches, and towns en route.

  • [14] With regard to relics that are objects, an often cited passage is Acts 19:11–12, which says that Paul the Apostle’s handkerchiefs were imbued by God with healing power.

  • [41] The Congregation for Saints, as part of the Roman Curia, holds the authority to verify relics in which documentation is lost or missing.

  • [1] It usually consists of the physical remains or personal effects of a saint or other person preserved for the purpose of veneration as a tangible memorial.

  • A number in Europe were either founded or rebuilt specifically to enshrine relics, (such as San Marco in Venice) and to welcome and awe the large crowds of pilgrims who came
    to seek their help.

  • Matthew Brown likens a ninth-century Italian deacon named Deusdona, with access to the Roman catacombs, as crossing the Alps to visit monastic fairs of northern Europe much
    like a contemporary art dealer.

  • Such relics (called contact relics, or secondary relics)[49] were, however, scarce and did not provide most believers with ready access to proximity to the holy.

  • The opening of his tomb during Constantine the Great’s reign yielded no bones, giving rise to the belief that his body was assumed into heaven.

  • As with the relics of Theseus, the bones are sometimes described in literary sources as gigantic, an indication of the hero’s “larger than life” status.

  • [25] Instead of having to travel to be near to a venerated saint, relics of the saint could be venerated locally.

  • In 2017, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints abolished the relics of the third degree, introducing a two-stage scale of classification of relics: significant (insigni)
    and non-significant (non insigni) relics.

  • As with the veneration of icons, the veneration (Greek; dulia) of relics in the Orthodox Church is clearly distinguished from adoration (latria); i.e., that worship which
    is due to God alone.

  • [30] Offerings made at a site of pilgrimage were an important source of revenue for the community who received them on behalf of the saint.

  • Over the course of the Middle Ages, other religious structures acquired relics and became destinations for pilgrimage.

  • Mario Conte, executive editor of the Messenger of St. Anthony magazine in Padua, Italy, said, “Saints’ relics help people overcome the abstract and make a connection with
    the holy … Saints do not perform miracles.

  • [48] • St. Peter’s chains, preserved in San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome, a second-class relic • Main Altar of St. Raphael’s Cathedral, Dubuque, Iowa, containing the remains of
    Saint Cessianus, a boy martyred during the Diocletianic Persecution • Relics of St. Demetrius in the cathedral of Thessalonika, Greece • Relic of the True Cross, Decani Monastery, Serbia • Relic of Pope St. John Paul II, declared a saint in
    2014, in the Hong Kong Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Eastern Orthodoxy[edit] Grapevine cross of Saint Nino of Georgia (Sioni Cathedral, Tbilisi, Georgia) Relics of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified in the Catholicon of Mar Saba
    Monastery in the Kidron Valley The importance of relics in the Byzantine world can be seen from the veneration given to the pieces of the True Cross.

  • As a natural outgrowth of the concept in Orthodox theology of theosis, the physical bodies of the saints are considered to be transformed by divine grace—indeed, all Orthodox
    Christians are considered to be sanctified by living the mystical life of the Church, and especially by receiving the Sacred Mysteries (Sacraments).

  • [24] Many tales of miracles and other marvels were attributed to relics beginning in the early centuries of the church.

  • The second includes small fragments of the bodies, as well as objects used by saints and blesseds.

  • [31] According to Patrick Geary, “[t]o the communities fortunate enough to have a saint’s remains in its church, the benefits in terms of revenue and status were enormous,
    and competition to acquire relics and to promote the local saint’s virtues over those of neighboring communities was keen”.

  • [citation needed] Relics play a major role in the consecration of a church.

  • [26][27] By venerating relics through visitation, gifts, and providing services, medieval Christians believed that they would acquire the protection and intercession of the
    sanctified dead.

  • [38][39] Due to the existence of counterfeit relics, the Church began to regulate the use of relics.

  • These relics, a firmly embedded part of veneration by this period, increased the availability of access to the divine but were not infinitely reproducible (an original relic
    was required), and still usually required believers to undertake pilgrimage or have contact with somebody who had.

  • [45] The sale or disposal by other means of “sacred relics” (meaning first and second class) without the permission of the Apostolic See is now strictly forbidden by canon
    1190 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

  • [21][22] The Second Council of Nicaea in 787 drew on the teaching of St. John Damascene[23] that homage or respect is not really paid to an inanimate object, but to the holy
    person, the veneration of a holy person is itself honour paid to God.

  • These miracle tales made relics much sought-after during the period.

  • [19] Relics and pilgrimage[edit] Rome became a major destination for Christian pilgrims as it was easier to access for European pilgrims than the Holy Land.

  • The Buddha’s relics are used to show people that enlightenment is possible, to remind them that the Buddha was a real person, and to also promote good virtue.

  • A year after his death in 1987, his physical body was moved from France and placed in a stupa in one of his monasteries near Boudhanath, Nepal.

  • • Reliquary arms of Saint Thomas the Apostle can be found in churches around the globe.

  • The motivations included the assertion of the Church’s independence against rulers, a desire to have an English (indeed Norman English) saint of European reputation, and the
    desire to promote Canterbury as a destination for pilgrimage.

  • [52] The necessity of provide relics for antimensions in new churches often necessitates continuous division of relics.

  • [2] The bones were not regarded as holding a particular power derived from the hero, with some exceptions, such as the divine shoulder of Pelops held at Olympia.

  • The cult of Martin of Tours was very popular in Merovingian Gaul, and centered at a great church built just outside the walls of Tours.

  • By the Late Middle Ages, the collecting of, and dealing in, relics had reached enormous proportions, and had spread from the church to royalty, and then to the nobility and
    merchant classes.

  • Miracles and healing were not regularly attributed to them;[2] rather, their presence was meant to serve a tutelary function, as the tomb of Oedipus was said to protect Athens.

  • [23] Geary also suggests that the danger of someone murdering an aging holy man in order to acquire his relics was a legitimate concern.

  • Within the Assyrian Church of the East, it is consumed by a couple getting married in the Mystery of Crowning.

  • These places were always outside the walls of the city, but martyriums began to be built over the site of the burial.

  • The veneration of the relics of the saints is of great importance in Orthodoxy, and very often churches will display the relics of saints prominently.

  • Dom Bernardo Cignitti, O.S.B., wrote, “[T]he remains of certain dead are surrounded with special care and veneration.

  • [54] Ivory was widely used in the Middle Ages for reliquaries, its pure white color an indication of the holy status of its contents.

  • He distinguished Gregory’s constant usage of sanctus and virtus, the first with its familiar meaning of “sacred” or “holy”, and the second as “the mystic potency emanating
    from the person or thing that is sacred …

  • Today, many stupas also hold the cremated remains or ringsel of prominent Buddhists.

  • “[15] Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274) pointed out that it was natural that people should treasure what is associated with the dead, much like the personal effects of a relative.

  • If a saint travelled often, then the bones of his feet may be prized.


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Photo credit:’]