During Fifteen Century, the medieval period, people had strong belief in relics and their miracles which were found in almost major religions of that time. It was quite a common thing that devout and faithful of the various religions who were well known for their special deeds such as mystical behaviours and miracle or psychic ability are venerated after they die. It was however a popular event in the church of Rome that there began to exist Relic-hunters who were keen of stealing relics of body parts of canonised faithful stored in special reliquary of churches scattered around Europe and store it in their own desired places.
Yep, I know you must have heard of this story of medieval saints many times; whether you believe in it or not just wait am trying to reach at something so eventful that had happen since the quest of sainthood and their relics. The Second Council of Nicæa in 787 ordered that no church should be consecrated without relics, and they are still housed in the altars of Roman Catholic churches around the world. Some stories surrounding some of these relics are so eventful and captivating that you won’t stop reading further……
8) St Don Luigi and His Disappearing Shoes
In the winter of March 1940 Father Don Luigi Orione who suffers from a serious cardiac and pulmonary ailments went to a house in Sanremo city Italy. Only three days later, being 12 March 1940 he said his last words “Jesus, Jesus! I am going”. Before then he was a catholic priest known for his work with the poor and the orphans and his founding of a religious congregation called Little Work of Divine Providence later renamed The Sons of Providence in 1899. As time went by, his religious and other people would learn to recognize Don Orione by his old and worn-out shoes which he got by exchanging his new shoes with a shabbily dressed beggar
Since his burial on March 19, 1940, his body was later exhumed in 1965 for examination at which it was claimed to still be intact without decays. But one thing am trying to hint out in the whole story of Luigi’s sainthood was that when Doctor Maria Venturini, of Prof. Msgr. Gianfranco Nolli’s medical team, had preserved Don Orione’s body, she tried to change his shoes as she prepared his body for burial — but every time she left the body alone, the new shoes mysteriously had been removed. ‘’When we clothed him”, the expert doctor of anatomy recounts,
“the priests gave us a pair of new shoes for his feet. We put them on him but, strangely, the next morning we found that they had come off. We tried again the following evening, and, in the morning, we found them again off his feet. Fr. Ignazio Terzi remarked to us, with what seemed to us rather pious reasoning, that perhaps Don Orione did not want new shoes, but old shoes, like a poor person. So we put on an old pair of shoes, which fitted him well. They are the ones that are still on the feet of Don Orione”.
7 ) St Teresa of Avila and Her Stolen dismembered body parts.
Born in March 1515, St Teresa was a Roman Catholic Nun who was known for living her life true mental prayer and her establishing and nurturing of more than 16 convents throughout Spain. It was noted that sometimes she prays and felt God was going to levitate her body, she stretched out on the floor and called the nuns to sit on her and hold her down.
She also wrote on how she uses to have Out Of Body Experience. She was one of the great mystics and religious women of the Roman Catholic Church. In October 4, 1582, in Alba de Tormes she died, in which her last humble words were: “After all I die as a child of the Church”, and “O my Lord and my Spouse, the hour that I have longed for has come. It is time to meet one another”.
In 1622, forty years after her death, she was exhumed and canonized by Pope Gregory XV. But one thing I want to point out from her story was that during that time her incorrupt body was parcelled out by relic-hunters. The right foot and part of her jaw went to Rome. The heart and left arm went to Alba de Tormes. Imagine when a toe was smuggled away in the mouth of a Cleric. A priest cut off her left hand, from which he took a finger, wearing it around his neck for the rest of his life. In 1930s, one thing I don’t know was how the left hand ended up in the possession of Generalissimo Francisco Franco (Spanish military dictator) who kept it by his bedside till his death,
But in 1984, the church she was displayed in was robbed; the glass case containing her relics was shattered and her foot was stolen. It was returned days later wrapped in a communist newspaper. The embalming team chemically treated the foot and placed it back in the reliquary, perhaps giving St. Teresa a bit of peace.
6) St Mary Magdalene And the Chewing Bishop Hugh of Lincoln
Hope you may have heard of the popular Mary Magdalene who was a Jewish woman and one of the main followers of Jesus Christ. She was popularly known for her witness of the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ, for those who haven’t heard.
Well, the Relics bones of St mary Magdaline was claimed to be in the Basilica of St Maxima-la-Bonto and fecamp monastery France. So once upon a time Hugh (who was elected bishop of the cathedral chapter of Lincoln in the Kingdom of England in 25 May 1186) is a guest at the abbey of Fécamp in about 1190. When he is shown by the monks their precious arm of Mary Magdalene. In spite of their outraged protests, he tries to break a piece off. Finding it too hard, he attempts to bite off one of the saint’s fingers – ‘first with his front teeth and finally with his molars’.
Bishop Hugh manages eventually to break off two pieces which he gets safely back home. When he was challenged by the guardians of the precious relic, he uses the holy sacrament as a Surprising analogy to justify the use of his teeth. St Hugh of Lincoln argues that using his teeth on a bone of Mary Magdalene is no different from eating the body of Christ: ‘If a little while ago I handled the sacred body of the Lord with my fingers in spite of my unworthiness, and partook of it with my lips and my teeth, why should I not treat the bones of the saints in the same way – and without profanity acquire them whenever I can.’
It was said that when a man possessed by a demon came to the Dominicans in Lausanne hoping to be cured, The friar Sacristan began his exorcism by swearing on Mary Magdalene strength, but the devil responded loudly ‘’Clearly, Friar you do not know what you are talking about; I tell you, you are lying cause that’s not the body or relics of Mary Magdalene so am not leaving this man of yours’’
5) St Francis Xavier Relics and His Missing Toes
Francis Xavier who was born in the royal castle of Xavier, in the Kingdom of Navarre was a co-founder of the Society of Jesus. He was one of the first seven Jesuits who took vows of poverty and chastity at Montmartre, Paris in 1534. St Francis was generally known for his missionally work in Asia, most in India and Japan. He resuscitates a boy who died in a well at Cape Comorin. He died in 1552 before he could extend his missionary to china.
In February 1553, his incorrupt body was taken from the first burial beach at Shangchuan Island, Taishan, Guangdong (Though the body is rumoured to be that of a Buddhist Monk dressed up, Francis Xavier’s body having been buried as sea) During the time of exhumation, a piece of flesh was cut off from left knee by servant who exhumed the body at Sancian. In 1554 a Portuguese lady called Dona Isabel de Carom, bit off the little toe of his left leg, as she was anxious to have a relic of the Saint. This toe in the possession of the family of the Count of Nova Goa in Portugal was donated to Santa Casa De Misericordia, a state run Portuguese Charity who also maintains a well known museum in Lisbon.
In 1614 by order of Fr, General Claude Aquaviva, arm was cut at elbow and sent to Rome, venerated at the Church of GESU. During the exposition of 1952, a dried skin of one leg was hanging. Dom Jose da Costa Nunes, the then Patriarch, cut it and out of it many small relics were made and placed in small reliquaries. After the exposition in 1890, one of the toes fell off. Archbishop Valente placed it in a crystal case in 1894, which is kept in the Sacristy of Bom Jesus and is offered to those who want to kiss it.
Yet some of the missing toes could not be explained how they were lost. However the major remainder of the Relics of St Francis Xavier are enshrined in the Mausoleum at the Bom Jesus Basilica in Old Goa.
4 ) St Claire of Assisi and Her Casket Full Of Moths
Born in 1193 in little town of Assisi France, Lady Claire was eighteen years old when St. Francis, preaching the Lenten sermons at the church of St. George in Assisi, influenced her to change the whole course of her life. Francis took her at once for safety to the Benedictine convent of St. Paul, where she was affectionately welcomed. When it was known at home what Clare had done, relatives and friends came to rescue her.
She resisted valiantly when they tried to drag her away, clinging to the convent altar so firmly as to pull the cloths half off. Baring her shorn head. She was known as pioneer of a religious congregation called Poor Claires. She died in 1253 and was canonized two years later in 1255 by Pope Alexander IV, at Anagni. Her body, which lay first in the church of St. George in Assisi, was translated to a stately church built to receive it in 1260.
Nearly six hundred years later, in 1850, it was discovered and was embalmed. In 1987 her body was found by the nuns working there in a casket full of moths. She had been treated with primitive methods when she died in 1253, with some herbs inserted into her muscles and wrapped in cotton. The cotton proved to be damaging, leaving the casket damp and inviting insects. For that reason, most holy people are now wrapped in linen.
3 )Pope Pius XII and the Fainted Swiss Guard
Pius XII though not yet a saint(born March 2, 1876, Rome, Italy) was a pope, bishop of Rome and head of the Roman Catholic Church, who had a long, tumultuous, and controversial pontificate. During his reign as pope, the papacy confronted the ravages of World War II, the abuses of the Nazi, fascist, and Soviet regimes, the horror of the Holocaust, the challenge of postwar reconstruction and if you want more of him you can check here
In October 1958, Pope Pius XII died on his sick bed in Castel Gandolfo in the Vatican. Dr Riccardo Galeazzi-Lisi, was in charge of temporary treating of the popes body for 5 day exposition to the public in which he was assisted by Professor Oreste Nuzzi. But because Pope Pius XII did not want the vital organs removed from his body, Dr Riccardo Galeazzi-Lisi used a different approach to treat his body where he claimed to have used Oils and resins which was the same used on Jesus . The treatment was completely opposite to the ordinary embalming style. Instead of draining bodily fluids and keeping the cadaver cold, Galeazzi-Lisi covered the corpse with a plastic bag, inside which he placed herbs and spices. Virtually eliminating the air circulation, he dramatically accelerated the anaerobic putrefaction.
According to the press, the body literally decomposed before the eyes of the mourners, during the procession from Castel Gandolfo to Rome. Despite Galeazzi-Lisi’s efforts, decomposition was unstoppable: the Pope’s chest exploded due to gaseous accumulation, the nose and fingers fell off and the body reportedly turned into an “emerald green” (or black, depending on the source) color. The stench was so acrid that some Swiss Guards fainted, and had to be rotated every 15 minutes. Others had tears running down their cheeks due to the smell.
2 )The Duplicate St Pancratius Relics.
St Pancratius was claimed to be a victim of the martyrdom who was converted to Christianity and was beheaded at the age of 14 due to his refusal to perform a sacrifice to the roman gods under the reign of Emperor Diocletian, around 303 AD.
It was claimed that a Roman matron named Ottavilla recovered Pancras’ body, covered it with balsam, wrapped it in precious linens, and buried it in a newly built sepulchre dug in the Catacombs of Rome.. Pancras’ head was placed in the reliquary (a container for relics) that still exists today in the Basilica of Saint Pancras
However the funny thing here was that despite that the head of the third-century martyr Pancratius was already claimed to be in the Basilica of Saint Pancras, another of his should we say duplicate whole body was claimed to be in The Church of St Nicholas in Wil in Switzerland taken from the catacombs in the 17th century. At St Gallen Monastery Germany a team of nuns, prayed over the [another set of] remains of St Pancratius until they were rewarded by details of his preferred articulation, dress and jewels. Funny, how many St pancratius do we now have.
1) The congealed blood Relics of St Lorenzo
Just like blood samples of various saints, the blood of St. Lorenzo (AD. 258) rests in a small flask in the right wing of the church of St. Maria in Amaseno. Lorenzo was martyred on August 10, 258 under the order of the Emperor Valerian (d. 260), and although he was condemned to be burned to death on a grill, some of his blood was caught and preserved by his fellow Christians.
A simple explanation for blood relics that liquefy only in summer is that some mixtures of waxes, fats and oils melt when the temperature reaches a certain level, usually 30C. In 1996 Italy’s national TV Company, RAI asked a chemist, Luigi Garlaschelli, to test the congealed blood of St Lorenzo (just like St Gennaro or Januarius conjealed blood). This blood liquefies every August 10 at a church in Amaseno near Naples. Normally the “blood” is a solid, tan-coloured substance, but Garlaschelli found that the substance in the phial had already liquefied and was now bright red. It was a hot day. The temperature inside the church was more than 30C. Garlaschelli made an obvious connexion. He put the phial in iced water, and the contents solidified again. He then heated the water to 30C. The contents melted again.
The conclusion was obvious, especially as the miracle could be easily replicated using common local materials. The Church had clearly made an error in allowing even this limited experiment. Garlaschelli noted that “This suggests that the relic, and many like it, consists of natural fats, waxes, or a mixture of the two, and is coloured with a dash of ‘devil’s blood’, a fat-soluble red vegetable resin that was widely used as a dye during the middle ages.
For proof, you’d need to analyse the contents by extracting a tiny sample with a syringe, but up till today the church hasn’t given permission to do so which sometimes seems to be a misinterpreted liquefaction miracle as claimed by Science.
ST. Teresa one of her Trans Experience
But it was our Lord’s will that I should see this angel in the following way. He was not tall but short, and very beautiful; and his face was so aflame that he appeared to be one of the highest rank of angels, who seem to be all on fire. ……In his hands I saw a great golden spear, and at the iron tip there appeared to be a point of fire. This he plunged into my heart several times so that it penetrated my entrails.
When he pulled it out, I felt that he took them with it, and left me utterly consumed by the great love of God. The pain was so severe that it made me utter several moans. The sweetness caused by this intense pain is so extreme that one cannot possibly wish it to cease,
WRITTEN BY: Aneke Francis Chinedu
- Subscribe for our newsletters to get any of our current stories on your email.
- Say something as a comment, as an acknowledgement to our effort in making you feel like you are watching a movie.
- Always remember to comment at down page, after reading any of our Articles and stories