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Poor Saint James

scruffy1

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Just finished dinner with some lovely people from Prague, I know and have visited the Bazilika sv. Jakuba - The Basilika of Saint James, in the Old City of Prague what I didn't know is that contained within are relics of Saint James. Poor Saint James, We know that most of him can be found in Santiago de Compostela, his head remains here in Jerusalem with the Armenians in their Սբ. Հակոբոսի տաճար, Երուսաղեմ, that is, theSaint James Cathedral, a bit of his arm in France, and there is a spurious Italian claim for another bit. Can anyone here give me more information concerning the relic? I have met more than a few Czech pilgrims, the Camino Francés is but small change since they have been walking from Prague or from the Church of Saint James the Greater in Brno. Can anyone, Czech or otherwise, give me more information on these churches and the relics, more than can be found through the Wiki-Guru?

PS A note for the moderators, I totally realize that this is off topic for this particular forum however this bit of information is important for my own personal reasons, please leave this up for a day or two for a few replies before sending it off to oblivion.
 
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Sailor

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. . . this bit of information is important for my own personal reasons . . .
You are not alone [I would like to know more about this subject], I had no idea that the saint's body parts were found in so many places. Feliz Navidad, y que la luz de Dios alumbre su camino.
 

Praorn

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@scruffy1 I am very glad I ran into your post. I am heading to Jerusalem this coming Saturday. Could you give me please the location of St James Cathedral in Jerusalem. I would love to visit. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 
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scruffy1

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@scruffy1 I am very glad I ran into your post. I am heading to Jerusalem this coming Saturday. Could you give me please the location of St James Cathedral in Jerusalem. I would love to visit. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Very very easy. As you walk through Jaffa Gate into the Old City, turn right past the Citadel and David's Tower (worth a visit too) walk down a very narrow arched street (watch for cars!) maybe 200 meters on the left. The small entrance square is open all day, above the entrance you will see a painting resembling the Veil of Veronica, but with the face of Saint James. Very nice, h-o-w-e-v-e-r, the church will be shut tight. In order to experience the true spirit of the church come for their Vespers at 3:00PM - positively Medeival in a manner you have probably never witnessed! The chapel above the crypt of Saint James is found to the left as you enter the church, candles may be purchased as you enter from the street.
 
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I had no idea that the saint's body parts were found in so many places.
See for example @sillydoll's list in this thread :
  • 3 bodies in France (an authentic relic in Toulouse), and one in Spain (Santiago)
  • 9 heads in France and numerous limbs
  • 1 head in Jerusalem (it's still there in the Church of St James the Less)
  • 5 heads in Italy (2 in Venice, 1 in Valencia, 1 in Amalfi, 1 in Artois)
Below is a visual display of locations with Saint James' relics in France alone throughout the centuries, ranging from whole bodies (diamant shaped icon) to heads or fragments of skulls (circle), limbs, other bones (rectangle) and even a hair of the apostle's beard (sun shaped icon):

cartefragileW.jpg
 
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See for example @sillydoll's list [OF SAINT JAMES' RELICS] in this thread :
  • 3 bodies in France (an authentic relic in Toulouse), and one in Spain (Santiago)
  • 9 heads in France and numerous limbs
  • 1 head in Jerusalem (it's still there in the Church of St James the Less)
  • 5 heads in Italy (2 in Venice, 1 in Valencia, 1 in Amalfi, 1 in Artois)
Poor Saint James!
May he rest in pieces.
 
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What would a DNA test tell us I wonder. I mean no distrespect to the pilgrims who walk for religious reasons.
 

scruffy1

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Maybe because you used two big words your post has been left up... Scruffy, and by the way I love your moniker, you have evidence that your post is indeed of interest, so well done. I wonder if that church of St James in Jerusalem is where a pilgrim I met from Jerusalem had bought lots and lots of Jerusalem crosses to give to people on his camino. The most amazing thing, this summer, as I began to walk towards El Perdon, 3 years later he appears at my side!
 
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your post is indeed of interest, so well done
Indeed.
The wonderful mystery is not how all those heads and other bits and pieces got here (that can be easily imagined), but that many (if not all of them) have probably had miracles attributed to them.
It's the same here in SE Asia - the number of tooth relics of the Buddha far exceeds the number of teeth he could possibly have had*, but still people are still deeply affected and sometimes transformed by them.
How that happens is a great and wonderful question that we all may have opinions about...but who knows, really?
There is no accounting for faith...nor should there be.;)
*Edit - people venerate relics from cremations of the Buddha or his disciples, or just holy monks. These look like crystal or small spheres of various colors. I have heard stories (on several occasions) about how under the right conditions they multiply, and when I say that the ones I have been given have not, I get told with a chuckle that I don't have enough faith. Which is true enough...I always used to scoff to myself about the gullibility of the people telling the story. Until someone whom I know very well and have reason to trust told me about relics that someone had given to her parents, and how they did that. Well, now all I can say is 'Who knows?'
 
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What would a DNA test tell us I wonder. I mean no disrespect to the pilgrims who walk for religious reasons.
I hesitate to reply because this may well lead into an exchange where the heavy hand of the moderators will appear :(. However, I read something interesting yesterday which I'd like to share and it may be of interest to people walking from Paris.

Most of the relics with a location shown in the map above have disappeared, either destroyed, stolen, lost or perhaps somewhere in the storing rooms and nobody knows it or they are just not on display. The ones still present today are marked with an asterisk in the map.

The relic kept in Arras, venerated throughout the centuries as the head of Saint James, has a long and interesting story, see (in French): Les tribulations d’un chef de saint Jacques : Arras, Aire-sur-la-Lys, Cappelle-Brouck, Tours, Douai. And there is a new development: a year ago, in November 2016, a small fragment of the famous relic was donated to the Saint James church in Montrouge, a Southern suburb of Paris, and people who walk the contemporary way to Santiago from Paris will pass through Montrouge and can stop there to pray to the Apostle, as many did before them in Arras and Aire-sur-la-Lys where (parts of) the same relic was kept in the Middle Ages. No matter what such a relic means to an individual, it is a carrier and a witness to 900 years of prayers.

The fragment in question was too small to date, as far as I understand. A French institute that deals with such matters, for example carbon dating, stated that in general the age of such relics is usually within 100 years of the age of the document that first mentions the relic.
 
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The Saint James church in Montrouge/Paris dates back to the 13th century; the current building is modern (1934-1940). It was recently renovated, with a new altar. Below is a photo of the celebrations when the relic was put into the altar and sealed by the artist who had designed the altar.

Consécration_netit_(8)0-tmp.jpg

And another view:

Sono%20AudioJB%20St%20Jacques%20Montrouge.jpg
 
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people venerate relics from cremations of the Buddha
I don't think this deserves any further comment on this thread but, regarding remains of the Buddha, a 45 minute long documentary was televised on America's Public Broadcasting Service. A description of the documentary can be found on the Wikipedia page for Bones of the Buddha. The documentary itself can be watched via this URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yn3lk6xTF24. Also a search for Bones of the Buddha on YouTube will bring up a few clips about a recent find in China.
 
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There seems to be some nervous apprehension of moderator intervention in this thread. You all know the rules and I don't see anyone breaking them :)

I'm minded by @Kathar1na 's excellent line: "No matter what such a relic means to an individual, it is a carrier and a witness to 900 years of prayers."

For me the old gods of the earth rest in stone. No stone is a god. The gods may be in any stone. I do not revere the stone, I revere the gods it represents - old, hard, strong: the very foundation of our existence. I pay my respects to the bones of Santiago whenever I come to to SdC. It really doesn't matter whether those old bones are his or not - he is there in Santiago. I bump hands with the statue of Santo Domingo de la Calzada every time I pass through Burgos and give my thanks to the road-builder. I grab a stinging-nettle somewhere on those weary humps of the Montes de Oca to remind me of St Juan and that a nettle sting is nothing as to a bandits knife. At Muxia I am minded that the Pedra da Barca were our boat - the boat we could sail across the sundering seas travelling ever westward as we have done since time began - and I give thanks for another journey.

Faith and belief. May they keep the theologians employed for another millennia at least.

Hopefully this moderator intervention hasn't broken any rules either ;)
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
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See for example @sillydoll's list in this thread :
  • 3 bodies in France (an authentic relic in Toulouse), and one in Spain (Santiago)
  • 9 heads in France and numerous limbs
  • 1 head in Jerusalem (it's still there in the Church of St James the Less)
  • 5 heads in Italy (2 in Venice, 1 in Valencia, 1 in Amalfi, 1 in Artois)
Below is a visual display of locations with Saint James' relics in France alone throughout the centuries, ranging from whole bodies (diamant shaped icon) to heads or fragments of skulls (circle), limbs, other bones (rectangle) and even a hair of the apostle's beard (sun shaped icon):

cartefragileW.jpg

Brings to mind 7 loaves and a few fish feeding five thousand, but in a skeletal non edible manner.
 
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Paladina

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Brings to mind 7 loaves and a few fish feeding five thousand, but in a skeletal non edible manner.

Are you allowing the extra couple of loaves and the odd fish for inflation?
 

SYates

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As someone who used to live in Prague, the mummified arm you can see right hand of the main door just after entering the basilica Bazilika sv. Jakuba has nothing to do with "our" Saint James/Santiago. Local tradition has it that a thief entered the church and whilst he stuck his arm into some treasure to steal it, the arm of the Virgin Mary statue lashed out and grabbed his. As the two couldn't be separated, "unfortunately" the thief's arm had to be cut off. That the same church was also the guild church of the butchers guild might or might not have something to do with that event ... but the dried up arm of the thief is still visible inside the church.

As far as I know, and I visited that basilica frequently, yes, it is dedicated to Santiago, but no there are no mayor relics (but perhaps a bone fragment) of him in this church.

Buen Camino, SY
 
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PEI_Heather

Canadian Member
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The forearm of St Francis Xavier will be on tour of a number of Canadian cities for a month at the end of this December. I don't know if it's the only one of two, or if there are more arms... I don't know if St Francis is aware of his road trip or even had a hand in it....
St James isn't the only saint to have people craving to see his bits and pieces....!

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens...will-get-its-own-seat-on-air-canada-1.4426566

(My apologies if this comes off as a tab more irreverent than I intended!)
 

Kieran Kenneally

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In the fourth century the great biblical scholar, Jerome, declared, "We do not worship, we do not adore, for fear that we should bow down to the creature rather than to the creator, but we venerate the relics of the martyrs in order the better to adore him whose martyrs they are" (Ad Riparium, i, P.L., XXII, 907). The Church just says that relics may be the occasion of God’s miracles, and in this the Church follows Scripture. I think we shouldn't get too bogged down in particular boxes of bones and who they may belong to but to our higher calling which is God.
 

scruffy1

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I hesitate to reply because this may well lead into an exchange where the heavy hand of the moderators will appear :(. However, I read something interesting yesterday which I'd like to share and it may be of interest to people walking from Paris.

Most of the relics with a location shown in the map above have disappeared, either destroyed, stolen, lost or perhaps somewhere in the storing rooms and nobody knows it or they are just not on display. The ones still present today are marked with an asterisk in the map.

The relic kept in Arras, venerated throughout the centuries as the head of Saint James, has a long and interesting story, see (in French): Les tribulations d’un chef de saint Jacques : Arras, Aire-sur-la-Lys, Cappelle-Brouck, Tours, Douai. And there is a new development: a year ago, in November 2016, a small fragment of the famous relic was donated to the Saint James church in Montrouge, a Southern suburb of Paris, and people who walk the contemporary way to Santiago from Paris will pass through Montrouge and can stop there to pray to the Apostle, as many did before them in Arras and Aire-sur-la-Lys where (parts of) the same relic was kept in the Middle Ages. No matter what such a relic means to an individual, it is a carrier and a witness to 900 years of prayers.

The fragment in question was too small to date, as far as I understand. A French institute that deals with such matters, for example carbon dating, stated that in general the age of such relics is usually within 100 years of the age of the document that first mentions the relic.
No no no, reelics are never lost, stolen, misplaced, or forgotten. Relics are translated! See
The Cult of the Saints: Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity, Peter Brown and , Furta Sacra, Patrick J. Geary both fascinating.
 

jmcarp

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Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
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...we shouldn't get too bogged down in particular boxes of bones and who they may belong to but to our higher calling which is God.
Well said. I would expound, but that would lead to stretching the limits of the forum rules.
 
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This head reliquary with embedded skull fragments of Saint James was made in Prague at the end of the 13th century. It is owned by the Marienstern Abbey. Until a few decades ago, its existence was unknown to scholars and researchers. Marienstern Abbey is on the Via Regia.

Marienstern.jpg
 
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