There are more than a few old relics in my church (and yours)!
Steady! I mean holy relics.
Our own church has a new old altar which has come to us via the local monastery.
Please don’t tell my parish priest that I lost concentration when he was telling us the history but it’s very old, and holy.
Holy relics are the currency of the Catholic Church.
Symbolically and literally.
The various body parts of Our Lord and the Saints were sold on pilgrimages in the Middle Ages to pay for fancy churches.
It’s all about the pilgrimage, to Canterbury say or to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain to atone for sins.
Santiago is of course where the bones of St James the Greater (I always felt sorry for the Lesser as the son of a James) are kept.
And you could buy these relics of the saints or Our Lord along the way thus feeding the greater Church.
That also fired outrage among protestants who found common cause and went onto found their own church.
All of which brings me to St Anthony’s gnashers.
The legend goes that St Anthony’s gift of oratory was such that when he was exhumed his tongue was still moist.
And so in his native city of Padova (or Padua in English) pilgrims can venerate his tongue and a couple of teeth.
Which are kept in a reliquary.
Skin and teeth
You’ll find pieces of the Lord and the Saints all over the world so much so that you’d almost suspect some artistic licence.
That maybe they were multi-multi-limbed and had a set of teeth akin to a shark.
But maybe I’m splitting hairs – and they were for sale too.
So you want to read more… there is a review of Padova and how Giotto inspired Michelangelo on this site https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/15/padova-city-of-frescoes/.
Some more holy relics in Brugges https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/firstworldwar-in-flanders-fields/.
And why the Camino is one of the most inspiring things you’ll ever do https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/camino-a-pilgrims-prayer/.
For the Via Francigena into Rome check out https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/.
Here’s an important website for Padova… http://www.turismopadova.it/en/ context/423.
While for Caminos visit http://www.caminoways.com
MEET YOU IN THE PEWS