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relics-msg - 7/16/09

 

Use of religious relics in period.

 

NOTE: See also the files: religion-msg, icons-msg, Icons-art, Relics-fr-all-art,  pilgrimages-msg, rosaries-msg, crusades-msg, brass-rub-msg, heretics-msg.

 

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This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

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Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org

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From: cozzlab at garnet.berkeley.edu ()

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Relics

Date: 11 Oct 1993 15:49:06 GMT

Organization: University of California, Berkeley

 

Carol Pinchefsky <pinchefs at castor.hahnemann.edu> wrote:

>More importantly, I'm looking for information on the minor wars,

>major squabbles, thievery, quests and pilgrimages caused by and

>pertaining to Said Religious Bits.

 

There's a fine book, recently out, on the subject.  The title is

_Furta Sacra_ (=Stolen Holy Bits).  Consult your library.

 

Dorothea of Caer-Myrddin

Dorothy Heydt

 

 

From: sclark at epas.utoronto.ca (Susan Clark)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Relics

Date: 11 Oct 1993 14:45:02 -0400

Organization: EPAS Computing Facility, University of Toronto

 

        I have a nifty coffee-table book with lots of illustrations

of reliquaries:  _Highways of the Faith:  Relics and Reliquaries

from Jerusalem to Compostela_, by M.M. Gauthier.

You should find it useful.

 

        But when studying relics, mi'lady, remember of corse, that the test

of a true relic is its ability to perform miracles, not whether it is

indeed "genuine". (by our standards, that is) Each of the churches

which claimed to have the head of John the Baptist

could also claim that it had healed many folk and offered its

church protection, etc.  To the medieval person interested in

acquiring a relic of their own, the question was not

so much "is it real", but "what miracles has it performed"?

 

Nicolaa/Susan

sclark at epas.utoronto.ca

 

 

From: meg at tinhat.stonemarche.org (meg)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: relics

Date: Sat, 05 Mar 94 11:16:09 EST

Organization: Stonemarche Network Co-op

 

Viking daggers evolved into reliquaries? Interesting.

There are 3 kinds of relics.

Relics of the First Degree: an actual bodily remain of a cannonized saint

Relic of the Second Degree: an object owned by or touched by an actual

                            cannonized saint.

Relic of the Third Degree: a fabricated facsimile of either of the above,

                           ostensibly created for the purpose of

                           inspiring devotion.

 

Needless to say, Relics of the first degree are rather rare. They must be

flawlessly documented as to content and provenance,and must be

authenticated by the Vatican. St. Timothy's big toe is an example of a

relic of the First Degree. (it resided in the altar of St. Charles

Church, Staten Island, NY) A consecrated altar in a consecrated church

must contain a relic.

 

Relics of the Second Degree are more common, and were bestowed upon

nobility as rewards for acts of piety. (such as granting lands for a

monastary or hospital, etc). Ornate reliquaries were commissioned for

their safekeeping. Like relics of the first degree, miracles were often

attributed to these items.  They were occasionally displayed publically

during Holy Days. Also, like relics of the First Degree, the pious made

pilgrimages to view them. Such a pilgimage was sometimes ordered as

penance.

 

By far the most common were the Relics of the Third Degree, Pardoners

frequently offered these for sale along with absolutions and prayers for

indulgences. In this category are the multitudinous "Pieces of the True

Cross", vials of "Mary's Milk" and  Christ's umbilical cord, nails from

the crucifixion, Veronica's Veils, shreds of the shroud, etc.  The

medieval purchaser of such objects had no illusions as to their

origins...they knew full well that they were not the *real thing*, but

they hoped that some of the benificence attached to the real objects

would somehow rub off on their own. Miraculous occurances could elevate

the status of a relic. (as well as the status of the owner!)

 

The market for relics being what it was, it was always possible to find a

genuine relic amoung the copies, so it made it a worthwile risk to invest

in one, especially from a promising source.  Returning crusaders turned a

hefty profit in relics "brought back from the Holy Land". Unscrupulous

people were not above faking miracles to substantiate a relic's effacacy.

 

While it is possible that the desire for relics as talismans could have

evolved from Viking practices in certain places. it did predate the

Viking incursions in the Mediterranean.  I think this practice was (is)

simply a universal human trait...owning a piece of a celebrity will

enable some of their greatness to rub off on the possessor. Autographs

and Hollywood memorabilia come to mind as modern counterparts to this

practice. And those who cannot afford the real thing have photographs or

models of the real thing to show their loyalty. (Models of the Enterprise

and trading cards, for example)

 

This is a fascinating subject, is it not?

 

Here's a question...what saint or holy person does your persona venerate,

if any?  Do you possess a relic of that person?

 

This incursion into matters ecclesiastical was brought to you by:

 

Megan

==

In 1994: Linda Anfuso

In the Current Middle Ages: Megan ni Laine de Belle Rive  

In the SCA, Inc: sustaining member # 33644

 

                                YYY     YYY

meg at tinhat.stonemarche.org   |  YYYYY  |

                                |____n____|

 

 

From: DDF2 at cornell.edu (David Friedman)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: relics

Date: 11 Mar 1994 04:00:27 GMT

Organization: Cornell Law School

 

> A joke oft told by Duke Cariadoc:

> Q: What became of the Cedars of Lebanon?

>

> A: Every Crusader came home with a piece of the True Cross.

>

> Mikjal Annarbjorn

 

Close:

 

Q: Why are the hills of Lebanon bare?

A: Because every Frank in Frangistan has a splinter of the true cross.

 

Note that it is both a Frank joke and a Lebanese joke.

--

David/Cariadoc

DDF2 at Cornell.Edu

 

 

Date: Sun, 20 Jun 1999 14:48:15 -0500

From: Roberta R Comstock <froggestow at juno.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: pavilion exhibits ...

 

Oh, yes!  Orianna and I had a similar experience when we saw the

"Treasures of San Marco" (or as we called it, the "Loot from

Constantinople") exhibit at the Met in NYC.  We were remarking on how

some of the objects had evolved over centuries, such as beginning with a

Roman carved stone bowl that had been rimmed in silver by a later owner,

then put on a silver pedestal a century later, with bands of enameled

medallions and semi-precious stones added at an even later date, etc.

Many of the reliquaries showed similar succession in the addition of

further ornamentation over long periods of time.  You can watch the

stylistic developments and become adept at dating the separate elements

in chronological order if you pay close attention.

 

Hertha

 

 

Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999 09:04:46 -0400

From: "Gray, Heather" <Heather at Quodata.Com>

To: "'sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu'" <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: RE: Glass and Such - longish

 

Caro said:

Oh, yeah...while I think of it, I noticed that there are *many*

reliquaries mentioned in period.  What else was kept in them, besides

anything they could get from a saint?  Were there other uses I'm missing?

 

I'm looking at duplicating a reliquary, but I don't know what medium yet

- any suggestions?  Pottery, wood, and glass are my top three, and of

course I'll smother it in gems!  Any suggestions on shape, or should I go

with a simple box for a first attempt?

--------------

 

I'm not an expert, but my understanding of reliquaries was that they were

only for saint's stuff.  While there's the usual hair and other body bits,

in St. Francis of Assisi's case there was cloth from his habit (Francis was

buried intact). The shape and type of reliquery would generally be

determined by time/place of creation, what it's holding, and who it's for.

For instance, the reliquery would be pretty small if it's for personal use

of someone who's traveling or who got it on pilgrimage. The Cloisters in

NY has a few examples of these, and also the exhibit of St. Francis of

Assisi at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (which ended in June, but you can

probably still get a book on the exhibit).  There were 2 long rectangular

boxes that were supposed to hold St. Francis' sandles. I think the boxes

were made of wood, but I'm not positive, and they were painted a bit,

including some coats of arms (patrons who donated the boxes?). Many of the

reliqueries were gold, a few were silver, many of them with glass as a

component.  The personal ones that I saw were done as diptychs or triptychs,

with some little pieces of flat glass (clear glass) so that you could see

the relics.  Some were cylindrical (say 3 - 5 inches in diameter, and 6-8

inches in height -- very approximate), with a small cylinder of glass in

them (also clear glass), which the relic was in. A number of these had

pedestals of the same metal attached, but if you read the little plaques

that went with them, some of these were added at a later date (so like the

upper part might be 14th c. and the lower part might be 15th c.).  At the

Cloisters in NY there was one that I think was enameled metal (it's been a

few years), that was shaped like a foot.  You can't see inside this one, but

the shape tells you what's inside.  If you can't make it to a museum that

has these and want more descriptions, I'm sure there are books out on this

stuff.  Try looking for Metropolitan Museum of Art Exhibition books, among

others. Also, for written descriptions, check out a wild read, the bio on

Margery Kempe, _The Memoirs of a Medieval Woman: The Life and Times of

Margery Kempe_.   If you go to the part of the book where she's in Italy,

the book takes a little detour to talk about the times and the area,

including stuff from a book written by a German fellow during that time.

Unfortunately I've forgotten his name, but this man wrote a book of where

all these different reliqueries were, what they were, and how they were

displayed (sort of a pilgrimage tour book), and you should be able to get

the name of his book from there.  I only remember a couple of those off the

top of my head, one of which may be too gruesome for this list, so I

recommend getting the book from the library.

 

One of the more common items for a traveler to have would be a small bottle

(I forget if it would more likely be glass or ceramic, but I would think

glass would be better, for seeing what's inside...), which would have holy

water from Rome or Jerusalem, or from a cave that's mentioned in one of the

history books I read ages ago. This cave 'wept' a whitish fluid which was

claimed to be a symbol of Mary's milk, and was put in little bottles for

pilgrims.  If I can find the reference I will, but I'm not sure where to

look at this point (this is a recollection from about 10 years ago, and far

from my current interests, I'm afraid).

 

Elwynne

 

 

Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999 08:45:47 -0500 (CDT)

From: "Pixel, Queen of Cats" <pixel at hundred-acre-wood.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Reliquaries (was Re: Glass and Such)

 

While researching for another overly large but spiffy project, I

discovered a mention of books being considered relics--the bible that St.

So-and-so owned, the copy of the Gospels transcribed by St. Thus-and-so,

etc.. I'll look for the reference when I get home if you're interested.

 

On a slightly related note, I remember reading that tiny vials sealed with

lead, containing Becket's blood, were fairly popular as relics.

 

Good materials for reliquaries: wood, glass, metals, especially valuable

metals, ivory and bone. I've never seen a pottery one.

 

Bad materials for reliquaries: gold-painted macaroni and cardboard.

 

Margaret FitzWilliam

 

 

Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999 10:21:15 -0400

From: "Gray, Heather" <Heather at Quodata.Com>

To: "'sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu'" <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: RE: Reliquaries (was Re: Glass and Such)

 

Margaret FitzWilliam said:

<<< While researching for another overly large but spiffy project, I

discovered a mention of books being considered relics--the bible that St.

So-and-so owned, the copy of the Gospels transcribed by St. Thus-and-so,

etc.. I'll look for the reference when I get home if you're interested. >>>

 

        Oh, right, books!  St. Cuthbert's book is one (copy of the Gospel of

St. John).  It was found in the top of the reliquary holding the remains of

St. Cuthbert, on a shelf that covered the body, along with other items that

may or may not have belonged to St. Cuthbert, and dates back to (I think)

the 7th c.

 

A casing was made for the book when it was found. I've asked someone who's

done a bit of research on it to check his notes, but they are at home, so

can't check it right now.  All he can recollect at the moment is that the

container had a strap on it long enough that you could wear it around your

neck while opening up the container to show the book to other people.

 

Elwynne

 

 

Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999 14:32:16 +0000

From: <tom at his.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: RE: Glass and Such - longish

 

> Some were cylindrical (say 3 - 5 inches in diameter, and 6-8

> inches in height -- very approximate), with a small cylinder of glass in

> them (also clear glass), which the relic was in.

 

There are a couple of this type in the Walters collection in Baltimore, but I

believe they are not glass; rather, they are rock crystal (quartz).

 

Fin

 

 

Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999 13:13:26 -0500

From: Roberta R Comstock <froggestow at juno.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Reliquaries (was Re: Glass and Such)

 

One of my favorite reliquaties from the Cloisters is made of leather.

The relic is the bones of the saint's foot and the reliquary is shaped

like a high topped shoe with a hinged opening at the back. The leather

is decorated with much tooling and a series of repousse' scenes from the

saint's life.  I appears to have been hardened as couir boulli (sp?).

 

Hertha

 

 

Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999 16:53:13 EDT

From: <LrdRas at aol.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Reliquaries (was Re: Glass and Such)

 

froggestow at juno.com writes:

<< Reminds me of a mock reliquary I saw at an event that was made from a

foam wig head, covered with gold colored foil. >>

 

I made and entered a 'fake' reliquary at an A & S event about 10 years ago

with 32 pages of documentation regarding the making of false

relics/reliquaries as well as documenting the adoration of 'false' saints.

 

The piece won first place. It was made from hardwood (walnut), real pearls,

bronze and carved horn. The subject....The toenail of St. Tankerus. Patron

saint of Brewer's and patron saint of the Order of St. Tankerus. The toenail

was reputed to be from the same toe by which St. Tankerus was lowered to his

blissful drowning death in a vat of ale. :_)

 

Ras

 

 

Date: Thu, 22 Jul 1999 07:39:20 EDT

From: <LrdRas at aol.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Reliquaries (was Re: Glass and Such)

 

froggestow at juno.com writes:

<< What shape was the reliquary?  And did you

have a real toenail in it? >>

 

The reliquary was a stepped round base Pillars were mounted on this. It was

topped by a dome. The artifact was mounted on a bejeweled brass base inside.

Access was through curtains and a door in the front. The unit was decorated

with pearls. The toenail itself was carved from a piece of horn and looked

very real.

 

Ras

 

 

Date: Thu, 22 Jul 1999 09:38:08 -0400 (EDT)

From: Grace Morris <gmorris at cs14.pds.charlotte.nc.us>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: RE: Reliquaries (was Re: Glass and Such)

 

In the same vein, in Danish national museum in Copenhagen there is a

"dome" of solid crystal. It has been hollowed out enough to insert a piece

of illuminated parchment (painting only, no words) in the shape of a cross...

The hollowing out is also in the shape of the cross.  I can't tell from

my picture, but it looks 12th, 13thc. probably.

 

Jessamyn di Piemonte

 

 

Date: Thu, 22 Jul 1999 11:02:55 -0500 (CDT)

From: "Pixel, Queen of Cats" <pixel at hundred-acre-wood.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Reliquaries--a source or two

 

Pictures and mention of books as reliquaries:

 

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, Anne Savage ed. Phoebe Phillips/William

Heinemann Ltd, 1982. 0-333-37041-4

P. 69, a picture of the Stonyhurst Gospels (the one found on St.

Cuthbert's coffin, I believe) in a lovely leather binding, and a picture

of a whalebone box believed to have been a reliquary.

 

Illuminated Books of the Middle Ages, Calkins, Robert G. Cornell

University Press, 1986 (paperback ed.)

1st color plate, cover of the Codex Aureus of St. Emmeram, and b/w plates

84 and 94, the front and back covers of the Drogo Sacramentary.

 

Book Illumination in the Middle Ages, Otto Pacht. Oxford University Press,

1986 (English translation).

pp10-12 discussion of books as relics, Soiscel Molaise reliquary photo on

p. 12.

 

Margaret

 

 

Date: Thu, 22 Jul 1999 01:40:35 -0400

From: Warren & Meredith Harmon <ravenleaf at juno.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Reliquaries

 

Oh, duh...you'd think I'd remember QUARTZ VIALS, since I'm a bloody gem

dealer!!!!

 

I remember the leather shoe at the Cloisters, too...that, and the marble

head reliquaries, is what got me interested in the project.  On a related

note (again), does anybody know of *intact* reliquaries? I was very sad

at the Cloisters, when I read the cards saying the reliquaries were

empty.  I know the Turin Shroud is intact (mostly), and there's a vial of

somebody's blood that re-liquefies on a certain day, but that's all I

know of.  Is the St Cuthbert still intact?

 

I didn't think of blood, or books, as reliquaries....possibilities!

Blood can be easily faked, by colored & herbed oil or an alcohol mixture.

Ooooh, I am a naughty girl!  Ever hear of the Skunk Society?  They're a

bunch of people who are genetically predisposed to like the scent of

skunk oil, and most carry small vials of the pure stuff. I was

considering joining, and wouldn't it be a hoot if someone tried to steal

it & open it!?!?  I'd find the thief in a *big* hurry! ;-)

 

Okay, here's what I'm thinking: I'll definitely do one of the crystal

vials (even have the quartz crystals on hand to do it!), and mock up a

blood-like substance for them.  For the bigger reliquary, I'm thinking of

a box (time to go antiquing!), heavily encrusted with gems, with perhaps

a small prayer book inside.  If I can find a carver, I just may take some

of those agate slabs I've been saving and have intaglios done of St

Francis of Assisi or St Joan of Arc.  Any thoughts??

 

-Caro

 

 

Date: Fri, 23 Jul 1999 09:28:06 -0400

From: "Gray, Heather" <Heather at Quodata.Com>

To: "'sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu'" <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: RE: Reliquaries

 

For intact reliquaries, you probably need to go to a church or find someone

who has a personal one. Some of the ones in the Assisi exhibit were intact

-- it probably would have been too difficult to remove the small items from

the vials for the exhibit.  So I saw one saint's hair, and another saint's

tooth there, and of course the fragment of St. Francis robe.      St.

Cuthbert's book, the Gospel of St. John, is still intact, and in fact is in

very good condition.

 

Thanks everyone for recollecting what the shoe was made of -- I'd forgotten

and mixed it up with something else. It was quite ornately tooled, wasn't

it?

 

Elwynne

 

I remember the leather shoe at the Cloisters, too...that, and the marble

head reliquaries, is what got me interested in the project.  On a related

note (again), does anybody know of *intact* reliquaries? I was very sad

at the Cloisters, when I read the cards saying the reliquaries were

empty.  I know the Turin Shroud is intact (mostly), and there's a vial of

somebody's blood that re-liquefies on a certain day, but that's all I

know of.  Is the St Cuthbert still intact?

 

 

Date: Fri, 23 Jul 1999 09:42:36 -0400

From: "Gryphon's Moon" <margritt at mindspring.com>

To: <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: Reliquaries

 

Speaking of reliquaries, has anyone ever made a reliquary-type

container that was actually used for something entirely different? We

have some gentles in our Kingdom who once threatened to paint their

"box-o-wine" gold, and cover it with fake jewels. I don't think they

ever got around to actually doing it, though.

 

One of the projects on my endless to-do list is a sewing box made to

look like a book reliquary. I plan to make a wooden base covered with

pierced metal sheets (probably something inexpensive like brass and

nickel silver). I can get cabochon gemstones relatively cheaply to

decorate the top. Inside, I'll have just enough room to tuck a couple

of skeins of embroidery floss, a needle or two, and a small pair of

scissors.

 

One of my favorite sources of inspiration is "Treasuries of Early

Irish Art: 1500 BC to 1500 AD". This is the exhibition catalog for

the collections of the National Museum of Ireland, the Royal Irish

Academy, and Trinity College, Dublin. There is no author credited.

Amazing pictures and descriptions.

 

-Margritte

 

<the end>



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