THE RELICS




Mark 15:43; John 19:38 - Joseph of Arimathea sought Christ's dead body instead of leaving it with the Romans. Joseph gave veneration to our Lord's body.

Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1 - the women came to further anoint Christ's body even though it had been sealed in the tomb.

John 19:39 - Nicodemus donated over one hundred pounds of spices to wrap in Jesus' grave clothes. This is also veneration of our Lord's body.

Matt. 9:21; Mark 5:28 - the woman with the hemorrhage just sought the hem of Christ's cloak and was cured. This shows that God uses physical things to effect the supernatural.

Acts 19:11-12 - Paul's handkerchiefs healed the sick and those with unclean spirits. This is another example of physical things effecting physical and spiritual cures.

Acts 5:15 - Peter's shadow healed the sick. This proves that relics of the saints have supernatural healing power, and this belief has been a part of Catholic tradition for 2,000 years.

Rev. 6:9 - the souls of the martyrs are seen beneath the heavenly altar. Their bones are often placed beneath altars in Catholic churches around the world.

2 Kings 13:21 - Elisha's bones bring a man back to life. The saints' bones are often kept beneath the altars of Catholic churches and have brought about supernatural cures throughout the Christian age.

Rom. 13:7; Phil. 2:25-29; Heb. 3:3; 1 Pet. 2:7 – we are taught to honor the people of God and in 1 Cor. 4:16-17; 1 Cor. 11:1-2; Phil. 3:17; 1 Thess. 1:6; 2 Thess. 3:7; Heb. 6:12; Heb. 13:7; James 5:10-11 – we are reminded to imitate them. Keeping relics of the saints serves both to honor and imitate their heroic faith in Christ (just as keeping articles of deceased loved ones helps us honor and imitate them).



IMAGES AND STATUES


Deut. 4:15 - from this verse, Protestants say that since we saw "no form" of the Lord, we should not make graven images of Him.

Deut. 4:16 - of course, in early history Israel was forbidden to make images of God because God didn't yet reveal himself visibly "in the form of any figure."

Deut. 4:17-19 - hence, had the Israelites depicted God not yet revealed, they might be tempted to worship Him in the form of a beast, bird, reptile or fish, which was a common error of the times.

Exodus 3:2-3; Dan 7:9; Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32; Acts 2:3- later on, however, we see that God did reveal himself in visible form (as a dove, fire, etc).

Deut. 5:8 - God's commandment "thou shall not make a graven image" is entirely connected to the worship of false gods. God does not prohibit images to be used in worship, but He prohibits the images themselves to be worshiped.

Exodus 25:18-22; 26:1,31 - for example, God commands the making of the image of a golden cherubim. This heavenly image, of course, is not worshiped by the Israelites. Instead, the image disposes their minds to the supernatural and draws them to God.

Num. 21:8-9 - God also commands the making of the bronze serpent. The image of the bronze serpent is not an idol to be worshiped, but an article that lifts the mind to the supernatural.

I Kings 6:23-36; 7:27-39; 8:6-67 - Solomon's temple contains statues of cherubim and images of cherubim, oxen and lions. God did not condemn these images that were used in worship.

2 Kings 18:4 - it was only when the people began to worship the statue did they incur God's wrath, and the king destroyed it. The command prohibiting the use of graven images deals exclusively with the false worship of those images.

1 Chron. 28:18-19 - David gives Solomon the plan for the altar made of refined gold with a golden cherubim images. These images were used in the Jews' most solemn place of worship.

2 Chron. 3:7-14 - the house was lined with gold with elaborate cherubim carved in wood and overlaid with gold.

Ezek. 41:15 - Ezekiel describes graven images in the temple consisting of carved likenesses of cherubim. These are similar to the images of the angels and saints in many Catholic churches.


Col. 1:15 - the only image of God that Catholics worship is Jesus Christ, who is the "image" (Greek "eikon") of the invisible God.




St. Agatha : Saint Agatha (died c. 250). The majority of Saint Agatha’s bones are enshrined in a chapel in the Cathedral of Catania. During volcanic eruptions of Mount Erna. which overlooks the city. Saint Agatha’s veil has been removed from her shrine and carried in procession through the streets; it is said that through the prayers of the saint, the city has been spared from disaster several times, including in the twentieth century. Both Palermo and Catania on the island of Sicily claim to be Saint Agatha’s birthplace. but there is no reliable documentation to settle the question. In ict, there is no reliable biography of this saint at all. The only thing we know for certain is that a Christian women named Agatha was martyred in Catania about the year 250 and that immediately after her death she was venerated fìrst by her fellow Sicilian Christians, and then by Christians throughout the Roman Empire. In the Roman Canon of che Mass she is invoked along with six other female martyrs.

The legend of Saint Agatha. which dates from about the sixth century tells us that she was beautiful, chair, and the daughter oía noble family When a consul named Quinrianus asked to marry hcr, Agatha refused, explaining that she had consecrated her virginity co Jesus Christ. Angry and humiliated titar he had been rejcced, Quinrianus had her arrested and tortured. At one point, the writer sliced off Agatha’s breasts. Guards carried her unconscious and half dead to ;i prison cell where Saint Peter appeared and healed lier. 

When the prison guards reported to Quintianus that Agatha was alive and ruar her breasts had been restored, he condemned her to be rolled over red hot coals until she died. That is the basic legend of Saint Agatha there are other versions. Saint Agatha is invoked against breast cancer and all diseases of the breast, volcanic eruptions, and all natural disasters. She is the patron saint of wet nurses and bell makers, and she is one of the patron saints of Sicily Feast day February 5.
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St. Therese of Lisieux entered the Carmelite convent at the age of 15. Her hair was shorn (as was the common practice), and her very devoted father saved this particular cascade of hair as a keepsake. It is now on display at the Carmel in Lisieux.

a small drum, flute and pandereta (timbrel)
used by St. Therese
St. Therese died from tuberculosis in 1897 and was canonized 28 years later by Pope Pius XI. This decision was made despite Canon Law, which states a person cannot be proclaimed a saint until 50 years after their death, and was made and approved because of the thousands of reported miracles throughout the world, which was an unprecedented event. She is honored with the title "Secondary Patroness of France Equal to St. Joan of Arc", and "Principal Patroness Equal to St. Francis Xavier of All Missionaries & Missions of the World". On October 19, 1997, St. Therese was named Doctor of the Church on October 19, 1997. She is the 3rd woman, and the 2nd Carmelite to be named a Doctor of The Church. She was only 24 years old when she died.
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Parish Church of St. Stephen the King (Pest Basilica, Archdiocese of Esztergom). This silver reliquary contains the right hand of  St. Stephen the king, made by a viennese craftsman after the designs of Jozsef Lippert (1862).



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This silver reliquary of the head of St. Ladislas, King of Hungary (early 15th c.) is in the Cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady (Diocese of Gyor). It is located in the Sanctuary of the Hedervary Chapel.
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The bones of St. Innocent the Martyr, are located under the pulpit (shown on the far right) of the Parish Church of Our Lady, in the Diocese of Szombathely.
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Saint Agnes (died 304). A chapel in the Church of St. Agnes in Agone in the Piazza Navona preserves Saint Agnes’s skull. The majority of her bones are kept in a silver casket tinder the high arraigned of the Basilica of St. Agnes on Rome’s Via Nomentana.


During Emperor Diocletian’s empire—wide persecution of Christians, Agnes was arrested and arraigned. She was about thirteen years old at the rime, the child of a family of Christians who lived in Rome. It is likely that by the time Agnes was taken, her parents had already been martyred.


The judge who presided over her case threatened to burn her alive if she did not renounce Christianity and sacrifice to the Roman gods. Agnes refused. Since she was a virgin, the judge sent her to serve in the rcmpie of the goddess Vesta, which was tended only by virgins, but Agnes would not perform any function in a pagan sanctuary Finally, in the arena that stood on what is now Rome’s Piazza Navona, the judge had agnes exposed naked to the jeering crowd, then beheaded.


Saint Agnes is the patron saint  of chastity and innocence, of engaged couples of the Girl Scouts, and of the sodality of the Children of Mary. She is almost always represented with a lamb: this emblem represents her purity and is also a pun on her name— the Latin word for lamb is agnus. 

Feast day : January 21.
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Saint Albert the Great, also known as Albertus Magnus (1206—1280). The remains of Saint Albert the Great lie in a large, plain stone sarcophagus that dominates a tiny crypt beneath rite Church of St. Andrew in Cologne.


One of the great minds of the Middle Ages, Albert is best known fir reaching rheology to Saint Thomas Aquinas. In addition to theology, Albert’s interests extended to all the natural sciences; in fact, he wrote forty books on the subject, always arguing that for true scientists, “experiment is the only safe guide.” In this he was ahead of his time; most “men of science” in thirteenth—century Europe still relied on ancient “authorities who made absurd claims, for example. that barnacle geese were hatched out of trees. Albert wrote in response. “The aim of natural science is nor simply to accept the statements of others, but to investigate the causes that are at work in nature.” 

Tragically during tite last years of his life Saint Albert suffered from a form of dementia. 

Saint Albert the Great is the patron saint of scientists, particularly natural scientists. 

Feast day: November 15.

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Saint Alexander Briant or Brian (1556—1581). As is true of most of the English martyrs of the Reformation period, very few relics of Saint Alexander Briant survive. One exception is his missal, with prayers written in the martyr’s own hand on the flyleaves at the back of the book. He is said that Catholics purchased the saint’s little wooden cross from the churlish Anglican minister who snatched it out of his hands during his trial; the cross is preserved at the English College in Rome.

Alexander Briant was eighteen years old when he abandoned his studies at Oxford University and crossed the English Channel to enter the English seminary at Douai in France. In 1578 he was ordained a priest, and in 1579 he was sent back to his homeland to minister in secret to Catholics while trying to bring Anglicans back to the Catholic faith. For two years he managed to elude the priest—hunters but in April 1580 he was arrested in London and imprisoned in the Tower.

In addition to the usual questions Queen Elizabeth’s government put to captive priests—In whose house did he say Mass? Who attended? Whose confessions had he heard? Who had he reconciled to Rome?—Father Briant’s interrogators in the Tower also wanted to know the whereabouts of another Jesuit missionary to England, Father Robert Persons, who had taught Briant when he was at Oxford. As punishment for his refusal to cooperate, Father Briant was stretched on the rack for two days in succession. In a letter smuggled our of the Tower by a friend, Briant told the Jesuit superiors on the Continent that as the torture began he fìxcd his mind upon the Passion of Christ and felt no pain until the session ended. Then he asked to be admitted to the Society of Jesus. The Jesuits accepted him at once, although it is not certain if Father Briant ever learned that he had been received into the society

On November 21, 1581, Briant and six other priests were escorted into Westminster Hall for trial. Briant held in his hand a tiny wooden cross he had made in his cell. An Anglican minister snatched it away from him. You may tear it from my hands,Father Briant told the clergyman. “but you cannot tear it from my heart.

Father Briant and his fellow priests were convicted on a trumped-up charge of having sworn to assassinate Queen Elizabeth.

On December 1 Briant, Saint Edmund Campion, and Saint Ralph Sherwin were dragged on hurdles through the streets of London to Tyburn, where each was hanged. disemboweled, and quartered. Alexander Briant was the last to die; he was twenty—five years old. 

Feast day: December 1.
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Saint Alexander Nevsky (1220—1263). Russia’s Communist government confiscated the relics of Saint Alexander Nevsky (along with the magnificent silver sarcophagus in which the relics had bed enshrined) in 1919 when they shut down the Sr. Alexander Nevsky Lavra, or monastery and executed twenty of the monks.

The saint’s relics were put on display in an anti religion museum in St. Petersburg, while the sarcophagus, which liad been commissioned by Tsar Peter the Great, was exhibited as a work of art at the Hermitage Museum. In 1989 the Russian government authorized the transferal of Saint Alexander’s relics from the museum back to holy Trinity Cathedral in die St. Alexander Nevsky Lavra, where they were enshrined in a new sarcophagus. The original shrine was not returned and remains in the Hermitage.

Saint Alexander was prince of Novgorod and grand duke of Vladimir during one of the most difficult periods in Russia’s history. In 1236 the Mongols invaded, laying waste to every major city and town in what is now Russia and the Ukraine, and killing or enslaving tens of thousands of men, women, and children.

Princes Such as Alexander’s father, Yaroslav II, hoped to stop the slaughter and destruction by acknowledging the Mongol Great Khan as their overlord from whom they received the authority to rule their domains. But the khans were suspicious of the princes who still exercised great influence over the people of Russia. In 1243 the Great Khan invited Yaroslav to visit him at his capital in Mongolia, and diere Yaroslav was poisoned. Some years later the Khan invited Alexander to his court, but Alexander declined.

In 1240 the Swedes invaded Russia. on the banks of  Neva River. Alexander and his army took the invaders by surprise and destroyed them. To commemorate this victory the price was given the surname Nevsky, which means of the Neya.

Alexander’s most famouS Victory Occurred two years later. The Teutonic Knights. a German military order that was carving out an empire for itself in Eastern Europe and the Baltic, besieged the city of Pskoc Alexander met the knights at lake Peipus. It was the first week of April but the lake was still frozen. The battle was a stalemate until Russian cavalry reinforcements arrived; at the sight of them, the knights retreated across the frozen lake. But the ice was not thick enough to bear the weight of the armored men and their warhorses. The ice split open, swallowing up about four hundred knights. The Battle of the Ice was immortalized by Sergei Eisenstein in his 1938 film Alexander Nevsky.

In 2008 the Russia news service Interfax conducted a poll among its readers to learn who Russians regarded as their greatest national hero: Alexander Nevsky took first place with 2,011,766 votes. Saint Alexander Nevsky is the patron saint of soldiers and the protector of’ Russia’s borders. 

Feast day: November 23.


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Saint Alexius : The body of Saint Alexius has been lost, but a portion of the staircase under which he lived for seventeen years is displayed in nie Church of St. Alexius in Rome.

Although Alexius was a very popular saint in the Middle Ages, we know almost nothing about him. According to legend he was the son of a Roman senator and ran away from home on his wedding day, traveling to Edessa in what is now Turkey where lie lived for many years as a Beggar. In a vision Our Lady told him to return home, but while he knocked on the door of his home his family did not recognize him. Without disclosing who he was, Alexius asked permission to live under nie front staircase of the house. Seventeen years later, when Alexius died, his family found him holding a scroll that revealed his identity Saint Alexius is the patron saint of panhandlers. 

Feast day: July 17.
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