FANDOM


Pot

The Pot of Abraham


What are religious relics?

Basically, relics are body parts of a holy person (a saint or martyr), or some stuff they owned or had contact with. The Latin term 'reliquiae' refers to the physical remains preserved after the death of a holy person and also personal artifacts or items with which the individual had contact. The gory body bits (and the instruments of Christ's passion) are referred to as primary or "first class" relics: Jesus NEVER went 2nd class. A 2nd Class Relic consists of something that was owned by the Saint or instruments of torture that were used against a martyr (Ems: I want me some of those). A 3rd Class Relic consists of something that has made contact with a 1st or 2nd Class Relic. Anyone can make their own 3rd Class relic by touching an object to a 1st or 2nd Class Relic, including the tomb of a Saint. So girls, get those vibrators out and find yourself a saint tomb and turn that buzzy into a holy relic for your hole-y.

It took the Catholic Church some time to recognize this form of devotion and allow people to venerate the relics of saints. This was mainly because Judaism (from which Christianity originated), strongly prohibits the worshipping of idols. This was in sharp contrast to the polytheistic beliefs of neighbouring states, the Pagan cult of the dead and the magic powers associated with charms made of body parts. It could also be speculated that mere mortal sinners, by the nature that God gave them, had a desire for more tangible signs of holiness, rather than just believing shit people said about saints and their supposed healing powers. Eventually The Church permitted the worship of relics, but has had to be vigilant about people trying to con the faithful into handing over a lot of coin for dubious supposed relics such as the turd of Jospeh of Aramathea's cat that glows in the dark and can cure fractures of the third toe of the left foot.

How did the whole relic "thing" begin?

The reverence of relics started at the end of Christian persecutions in the Roman Empire, when the Edict of Milan proclaimed Christianity as a state religion (313). Over time, collections of bones of martyrs buried in catacombs became an important aspect of their worship. Every man and his ass wanted to be buried near a holy martyr of the faith and have their graves attract throngs of pilgrims (like Elvis). Later, temples were built above holy people's remains with the main altar set directly above the their graves. Thus, "the relic became the altar of God himself” (St. Augustine). The veneration of relics also gained popularity due to the emperors erecting impressive basilicas above the graves of the saints and the uncovering of the Holy Cross relic, found as a result of a special crusade to Jerusalem by the Emperor’s mother, St. Helena. Around the 5th century, towns that did not have a martyr’s body began to import relics and the bodies began to be cut up and traded in order to satisfy demand. This was the beginning of the era of the relic, whose popularity peaked in the Middle Ages.

To protect the bodies of saints and martys from being fed through a mincer and sold in tablespoon size lots for a hundred bucks a pop, secondary relics were introduced. These included cloth in which the relic was wrapped, anything laid on the grave, oil used in the graveside lamps, water from nearby wells, crabs from nearby prostitutes etc. Surprisingly, some relics were (shock horror) counterfeited, stolen, traded, desecrated, or purchased for superstitious or magical uses (as opposed to religious uses, coz they are really different). Basically, saints were believed to be able to heal and save lives from fires and plagues, so if you were in possession of a relic, you were feeling a lot more optimistic about the future than the plebs without one.

The relics’ life To emphasize the true worship of God through the relics, the Holy See introduced the practice of acknowledging the sainthood of individuals. This was done through the process of canonization or beatification with the ceremony of 'elevatio', i.e. the exhumation of a saint’s remains, which were then transported to the site of worship ('translatio') and displayed for veneration ('depositio') by the altar. As you can imagine, the places where the relics were stored were subsequently visited by heaps of pilgrims, especially if there were reports of healings associated with them. You can imagine the owners of said locations and/or relics rubbing their hands together and going "ker-ching" as a result.

I did find a "Q&A" about relics, where the question was asked: 'Where does one find a Relic in a Church or Chapel?"
The answer was: "The Relics that you find in Churches and Chapels are usually kept in one of two places. A Relic may be kept in a cavity ("sepulchre") inside the Altar. Or it may be in a "reliquary." Relinquries come in various forms, such as boxes, Noah's Ark, caskets, the shape of a body part such as an arm or a leg. Usually they are decorated in gold and silver."

Nice to know one can find Noah's Ark in churches all around the world.

The great popularity of relics resulted in the relics being removed from beneath the altars, cut up (they use a much nicer word: "partitioned"), and placed in special vessels called reliquaries. The size, shape and bling factor of the reliquaries varied depending on the affluence of the buyer and prominence of the dead. Monstrances were used for storing fragments of partitioned body parts. The monstrances were hand- or head-shaped. They were displayed for public veneration and carried around during processions and celebrations. Rich people wanting to maintain the prestige of their churches and courts, gathered lots and lots s of relics, which created a source of pride and shaped the national identity of some countries, like France or Germany.

No relic worship without saint worship In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Protestants turned relic worship into a body  bling battle. Altars were accompanied by glass caskets with mummified corpses of saints. If a body was not available, a replica was used instead. Smaller relics were displayed in glass cases next to altars. These have survived until the present time.

Today’s, the Catholic Church approaches relics with caution, requiring people to view them from a distance. The saints preserved as relics are seen as proof of God's grace living in them resulting in heroic virtues worthy of following and sacrificing one’s life for (yes, that is waht it said). They also serve as intermediaries with God, interceding for various human matters. In the devotion to relics, people show respect for and draw from them the power of faith to sustain them in their own lives and the lives of their loved ones (I thought it was food that did that).


Buddhism

In Buddhism, relics of the Buddha and various sages are venerated. After the Buddha died, his body was divided into eight portions. Afterward, these relics were enshrined in stupas (mound-like or semi-hemispherical structures), despite his instructions that relics were not to be collected or venerated (STFU Buddha, who do you think you are, Buddha or something).

A stupa is a building created specifically for the storage of relics. Many Buddhist temples have stupas and the stupa often became the initial structure around which the whole temple was based. Today, many stupas also hold the ashes or ringsel (pearl-like beads that are found amongst the ashes of prominent/respected Buddhists who were cremated). Some say these are the encapsulated pure spirit of holy men. Others say they are kidney stones.  In rare cases the whole body is conserved, and can be observed in a glass casket in a turpa.

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

Islam

Worship in Islam also involves relics. While various relics are preserved by different Muslim communities, the most important are those known as The Sacred Trusts, which include more than 600 pieces stores in the Topkapı Palace Museum in Istanbul.

Muslims believe that these treasures include:

Most of these can be seen in the museum, but the most important of them can only be seen during Ramadan. The Qur'an has been recited next to these relics uninterruptedly since they were brought to the Topkapı Palace in the 16th Century (and boy does that guy need some voice care counselling, and a microphone).


In Buddhism, relics of the Buddha and various sages are venerated. After the Buddha died, his body was divided into eight portions. Afterward, these relics were enshrined in stupas (mound-like or semi-hemispherical structures), despite his instructions that relics were not to be collected or venerated (STFU Buddha, who do you think you are, Buddha or something).

A stupa is a building created specifically for the storage of relics. Many Buddhist temples have stupas and the stupa often became the initial structure around which the whole temple was based. Today, many stupas also hold the ashes or ringsel (pearl-like beads that are found amongst the ashes of prominent/respected Buddhists who were cremated). Some say these are the encapsulated pure spirit of holy men. Others say they are kidney stones.  In rare cases the whole body is conserved, and can be observed in a glass casket in a turpa.

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

Worship in Islam also involves relics. While various relics are preserved by different Muslim communities, the most important are those known as The Sacred Trusts, which include more than 600 pieces stores in the Topkapı Palace Museum in Istanbul.

Muslims believe that these treasures include:


Most of the trusts can be seen in the museum, but the most important of them can only be seen during Ramadan. The Qur'an has been recited next to these relics uninterruptedly since they were brought to the Topkapı Palace in the 16th Century (and boy does that guy need some voice care counselling, and a microphone).

So, let's take a look at some of the better known (or just funny) religious relics out there.

We'll start with:

The Hand of Saint Teresa of AvilaEdit

Give St Teresa a hand, everyone, coz apparently she's a little short in that department.

One of the reasons I chose this relic as worthy of our meaty attention was because I have always enjoyed watching Catholics squirm over trying to explain the ecstasy of Saint Teresa as something other than a Godgasm.

St. Teresa was born in 1515 into upper class Spanish society. Despite the objections of her family, she became a Carmelite nun in her teenager years (obviously her family are going to hell). She ended up thinking the Carmelite nuns were pretty slack, and so she eventually founded the "Discalced Carmelites" who were nuns that didn't wear anything on their feet. How a group of women living together can NOT talk about shoes beats me.

Poor Tess experienced long periods of ill health (I assume this refers to physical health, because I don't think that was her only problem just quietly). Teresa was also known as a "mystic" who saw "visions", specifically, spiritual ecstasies. In fact, the first of these occurred while she was ill (*cough* febrile hallucinations *cough*), and of course many believed her visions were proof that she was possessed. The most famous of her spiritual ecstasies was " the piercing or transverberation of her heart", immortalised in JOEY SAY THIS BIT Bernini's sculpture in the Cornaro Chapel, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome.

Ems: Ooh Giuseppe, when you speak Italian like that I feel a religious ecstasy coming on.

EMS SAY THIS BIT

Anyway (composes self), in her autobiography, ‘The Life of Teresa of Jesus’, her experience of religious ecstasy in her encounter with the angel is described as follows:

PORN MUSIC

    I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron's point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it. The soul is satisfied now with nothing less than God. The pain is not bodily, but spiritual; though the body has its share in it. It is a caressing of love so sweet which now takes place between the soul and God, that I pray God of His goodness to make him experience it who may think that I am lying."

 

Ladies, come on. All we need to change is "between the soul and God" to "between my legs" and we have the big O right there.

Around 1556, various "friends" suggested that her newfound knowledge of the awful terror of sin, the inherent nature of original sin, and the necessity of absolute subjection to God was diabolical, not divine. Everyone needs BFFs like those...not. So, she began to torture herself and maybe do a little bit of cutting or the like. But her confessor reassured her of the divine inspiration of her thoughts. In 1559, Teresa became firmly convinced that Jesus Christ presented himself to her in bodily form, though invisible.....right. These visions lasted apparently almost uninterrupted for more than two years.

Tess died in 1582 and her death drew a lot of public attention.  The nuns noticed a fragrance coming from the grave, the same fragrance that they said had been noticeable around her during the last days of her life and around her body after her death.  Um, I think that's called the smell of DEATH. Her coffin was opened about 9 months after her death, and her body was found to be as incorrupt (not decomposed). Father Garcia (her confessor with whom she had an 'intimate' friendship or alternatively a great menace to her, depending on what you read), cut off her left hand, which he took to Avila.  From it, he kept one finger, which he wore around his neck for the rest of his life.....ew. I guess in the end she gave him the finger.  In 1585, Father Garcia and another man opened her grave again and cut off what remained of her left arm, finding it still not decomposing, bleeding from the cut, and still "fragrant".  On the Pope’s order, her body was returned to Avila the following year.  Her body was exhumed AGAIN, and her transverberated heart, right arm, right foot, a piece of her jaw, and bits of flesh (thanks for being so specific) were taken as relics at various times.  Most of her remains are now in Alban (including her heart).   

Now surprisingly, Saint Teresa had a role in both the Spanish Civil war and the ensuing Francoist dictatorship. Catholicism was a major aspect of Franco’s regime and Saint Teresa was used as a propaganda tool in endorsing his oppressive ideology. In February 1937, the future tyrant Francisco Franco acquired the hand of Saint Teresa after it had been stolen from a convent. He took the hand wherever he went and even slept with it underneath his pillow. He saw his Saint hand fetish through to the end as he died clutching it in 1975.

Sicko.

Section headingEdit

Write the second section of your page here.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.