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Relics Geek's Lament

Year of past OR future Camino
First one in 1977 by train. Many since then by foot. Next one ASAP.
I write this on Jan 1st....

On the current Roman Catholic liturgical calender Jan 1st is the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God -- but it used to be (until at least the 1970s, I believe) the Feast of the Circumcision -- and it is still the Feast of the Circumcison on the traditional Anglican Catholic liturgical calender used at my parish....

A learned writer on a learned website that I glanced at this morning, observed that "Having the Holy Foreskin was apparently a big honor (or a big tourist draw).....[Among the] places that claimed to have Jesus' Foreskin was: ... Santiago de Compostela.... By the 19th century, all [seventeen claimed Holy Foreskins] had disappeared or been destroyed, except for the one in Calcata, Italy...." (Whew! I'm not sorry for that, btw! Can you imagine hearing folks demand the cloning of the... No! Let's not go there....)

All of which is a build-up to my plea, and my complaint!

Anglican Catholics (and a considerable number of Protestants, too) have recovered from the wreckage of the 16th C Reformation both a renewed respect for pilgrimage and a renewed curiousity about relics.... Even on the now-largely-secularized Camino of 2019 there are going to be a considerable number of people -- simple, conventionally religious people of the Latin Western persuasion, like me -- who would go way out of their way to gawk at/contemplate/venerate Holy Relics..... Holy Foreskin? Piece of the True Cross? Hipbone of St. Saturninus? Far out! This Anglican Catholic, for one, would take pains to check 'em all out!

So: Why has no-one yet published a serious modern guide to the Holy Relics of the Camino Frances? There must be an enormous number of them! ... I'd buy that sucker faster than the latest edition of the Gospel According to Brierley!

Pax. And Happy New Year!
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
There is one in Spanish-- I was presented with a copy about 10 years ago but somehow misplaced it. Perhaps another forum reader can help out.

As far as the other feast goes, the Anglican Church of Canada kalendar still has it.
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
I started my most recent Camino in November in San Andres de Teixido: a fascinating local place of pilgrimage north of Ferrol. After mass in the parish church I asked the priest for a sello and in the conversation which followed I mentioned that I had lived and studied in St Andrews in Scotland. Another town which claims to have housed the relics of the apostle. When he returned my newly-stamped credencial to me the priest offered me a private blessing and the opportunity to kiss the church's relic of St Andrew which is contained in a small wooden statue of the apostle carrying his cross. Although I am deeply sceptical about the provenance of most relics I was very touched by the gesture and the sense of continuity with earlier Christians which was part of the ritual.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
1989
I'm currently reading the English translation of the 12th century Guide and by far the longest chapter is a description of the various holy relics one can encounter on the way.

BTW, if one wanted to demand cloning, a Holy Foreskin is not necessarily required. One might try and get some the required DNA from Holy Blood from one of the Crowns of Thorns or Crucifixion Nails in various churches, or even from the Holy Umbilical Cord at the church of St. John Lateran.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
First one in 1977 by train. Many since then by foot. Next one ASAP.
I'm currently reading the English translation of the 12th century Guide and by far the longest chapter is a description of the various holy relics one can encounter on the way.

Ah, thanks for the reminder! I have a copy somewhere in my study....

But -- The soldiers of secular Revolutionary France ravaged the Camino terribly during the Peninsular War.... The celebrated royal sarcophagi at S. Isidoro in Leon? At S. Maria la Real in Najera? All empty! The dust of the ancient Spanish kings and queens was dumped into the streets.... I only know this because I asked: the modern guardians of those shrines understandably don't like the subject being raised....

And I'll wager that Napoleon's men were no more respectful of the holy relics mentioned in that 12th C guide. Which suggests the need for a new guide, eh?.... What was there in the 12th C may well not be there now.

Pax.
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
1989
Ah, thanks for the reminder! I have a copy somewhere in my study....

But -- The soldiers of secular Revolutionary France ravaged the Camino terribly during the Peninsular War.... The celebrated royal sarcophagi at S. Isidoro in Leon? At S. Maria la Real in Najera? All empty! The dust of the ancient Spanish kings and queens was dumped into the streets.... I only know this because I asked: the modern guardians of those shrines understandably don't like the subject being raised....

And I'll wager that Napoleon's men were no more respectful of the holy relics mentioned in that 12th C guide. Which suggests the need for a new guide, eh?.... What was there in the 12th C may well not be there now.

Pax.
Absolutely agree on the benefits of a new guide. However, as a starting point, the old guide, along with Meczler's extensive notes which bring things up to 1992 (and this was something of particular interest to him), is a good start.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
Oviedo was one of the places that lay claim to the holy prepuce. Though I can't find a source more reliable than Wikipedia. Apparently the Sudarium at Oviedo survived the attentions of those rampaging French republicans, so does that mean that that wrinkly bit of winkle is still there somewhere amongst the bones & splinters?

I dismiss with cheerful heart the profane suggestion that there are enough fragments of the True Cross to build the Ark. And I still bend a knee to, perhaps, the bones of one who stood with the divine every time I pass through Santiago.

And with that thought this old relic will wend his way to dine.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
First one in 1977 by train. Many since then by foot. Next one ASAP.
Apparently the Sudarium at Oviedo survived the attentions of those rampaging French republicans, .

And why not? They couldn't steal everything...! Somehow at least two of Spain's Holy Grails managed to survive 'revolutionary liberation'...! I've seen both of them and I wouldn't be entirely surprized to hear that you'd seen them both, too! :)

Btw -- in that regard, I commend to you Kings of the Grail, by Sevilla and Ortega del Rio. Interesting, even if not compelling.... Its publication c 2015 prompted the museum at S. Isidoro Leon to move into a special chamber (with armoured 21st C security!) what had been labeled when I first saw it simply the 'Chalice of Dona Urraca'.

And Happy New Year to you and Hilaire Belloc and all the other pagani of West Sussex! This is the time to make merry, eh?! Twelfth Night looms!
 
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tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I'm currently reading the English translation of the 12th century Guide and by far the longest chapter is a description of the various holy relics one can encounter on the way.

BTW, if one wanted to demand cloning, a Holy Foreskin is not necessarily required. One might try and get some the required DNA from Holy Blood from one of the Crowns of Thorns or Crucifixion Nails in various churches, or even from the Holy Umbilical Cord at the church of St. John Lateran.
They might even get some dna from the holy grail supposedly in a couple of locations either on the camino ot close to it :)
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
Oviedo was one of the places that lay claim to the holy prepuce. Though I can't find a source more reliable than Wikipedia. Apparently the Sudarium at Oviedo survived the attentions of those rampaging French republicans, so does that mean that that wrinkly bit of winkle is still there somewhere amongst the bones & splinters?

I dismiss with cheerful heart the profane suggestion that their are enough fragments of the True Cross to build the Ark. And I still bend a knee to, perhaps, the bones of one who stood with the divine every time I pass through Santiago.

And with that thought this old relic will wend his way to dine.

Apparently, a French relics-specialist (Charles Rohault de Fleury) thought he should respond to Erasmus's crack that there was enough of the remnants of the True Cross to build a ship (IIRC), and so went about Europe weighing and measuring them, concluding that about a third of the original cross was still in existence.

The largest single piece can be found at the Franciscan friary of San Toribio de Liébana, on the Camino Vadiniense, about 4 days' walk south of the coast, just outside the town of Potes.

I visited it in 2011 and slogged up the hill, being passed by about a dozen busloads of French pilgrims. When I got there, they were all lining up by the entrance; the chief friar saw me, quite stinky and perspiry from my ascent, and called me to the front, and so I pushed through the cologne and Gucci crowd. He asked me where I was from, and I said Canada so he announced to the gathering that he normally gave the address in Castellano but, as there was a Canadian foot (he emphasized this) pilgrim, he would do so in French (oblivious to the fact that I was anglophone). After he spoke I got fetched up through the crowd to be the first to venerate the relic-- this is not an Anglican custom (we prefer to put up brass plaques), but I respect local practice. As I faded back through the crowd, I received claps on the back with cries of "Bravo, mon vieux" as well as visible sniffs at my informal attire and smell.

The relic is a reddish and smooth piece of wood, perhaps about a foot and bit long, and set in a jewelled and gilt setting. I appreciated the seriousness and reverence of the friars as they dealt with the noisy crowd.

After I took a break in the rose garden in the cloister, the Franciscans gave me a very nice sello, and a copy of a book on the illuminated mss. of Liébana-- a mixed blessing for the next 12 days of hiking over the Picos de Europa. Upon recounting the event to a Benedictine priest friend in Canada, he reminded me that Franciscans are all Trotskyites at heart and were likely pleased to annoy the French bus pilgrims.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
First one in 1977 by train. Many since then by foot. Next one ASAP.
The largest single piece can be found at the Franciscan friary of San Toribio de Liébana, on the Camino Vadiniense, about 4 days' walk south of the coast, just outside the town of Potes.

.

Not sure my aging back would permit me to do the Camino Vadiniense -- I understand that it's very demanding --- but, my goodness, I'd love to see that!
 
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tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
As has been discussed, there are several that they've found. I've seen at least two: the chalice in Leon mentioned above and the Holy Grail in Valencia (on the Camino de Levante).
And of course the one Indiana Jones found :D:D and then, if it exists, there can be only one
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
There is a grail legend attached to San Juan de la Pena as well, and one of the chapels has a grail-like chalice on its altar to mark that.
 

The Kolbist

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
past: Frances, inland Portuguese, Fatima
future: Del Norte, coastal Porugues, Englis
I like the Relics topic, it was one of the primary reasons why I walked the Camino in 2017. As a Roman Catholic, I would go and pray and venerate the relics of the Saints. Speaking of which, Is there any confirmation that St. Andrew's bones and a piece of a fragment of the True Cross are in Estella? Does the Church in Estella acknowledge this? Is there a special time of the year that these relics are brought out for public viewing?
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
If you ever find yourself in Bethlehem you can buy a complete set of Joseph’s chisels on every street corner. I was tempted by his (guaranteed) professional-quality cordless drill, but didn’t think that EasyJet would let me take it on board.,

I did buy a (genuine) crown of thorns for my mother, but she wouldn’t wear it and suggested I shove it somewhere anatomically impossible.

The abundance of relics is comical - but bear in mind that the numbers have likely reduced, and there’s a chance that one of the claimants is right.
 

The Kolbist

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
past: Frances, inland Portuguese, Fatima
future: Del Norte, coastal Porugues, Englis
If you ever find yourself in Bethlehem you can buy a complete set of Joseph’s chisels on every street corner. I was tempted by his (guaranteed) professional-quality cordless drill, but didn’t think that EasyJet would let me take it on board.,

I did buy a (genuine) crown of thorns for my mother, but she wouldn’t wear it and suggested I shove it somewhere anatomically impossible.

The abundance of relics is comical - but bear in mind that the numbers have likely reduced, and there’s a chance that one of the claimants is right.
hehehe... i like the sarcasm... i see that you are a very good man who respect other person's religious faith.... I can also see that your mother is very proud on how you grown up to the man that you are...... anyway the older the relic is, the chances of it being authentic is higher. Throughout history, relics became the spice trade of the religious world but not all spices are created equal :)
 
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