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Reliquary theca with relics of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, Apostles St. Thomas & St. Andrew

18th-century silver oval double-glass reliquary theca housing relics of the Veil of the Blessed Virgin Mary, her husband Saint Joseph, and two Apostles: Saint Thomas and Saint Andrew.The relics are affixed to a red silk background separated with golden paperolle and silver cord ornamentation and identified on manuscript cedula labels. On the back, the theca is secured with a seal of red Spanish wax with a barely visible coat of arms of an unidentified Catholic Bishop.

According to tradition, the Veil of the Blessed Virgin Mary was worn by the Virgin as she stood at the foot of the Cross. It had been transferred in the early years of Christianity from Jerusalem to Constantinople when it was presented by the Byzantine Empress Irene to the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne. In 876 his descendant Charles the Bald gave the relic to the cathedral at Chartres. The Veil is kept in a golden reliquary beside the high altar and has formed the focus of many traditions throughout the centuries. It was believed to have protected the faithful down through the centuries from many dangers and evils, including famine and war, outbreaks of the plague, and the worst ravishes of the French Revolution. The veil itself is more than six meters long and made of silk. Scientific studies have shown that it is of Syrian design, of fine quality, and can be traced to the first century. Every year on 15th August, the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, the Veil is processed through the town of Chartres.

The earliest records of a formal devotional following for Saint Joseph date to the year 800 and reference to him as nutritor Domini (educator/guardian of the Lord). Together with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus, Joseph is one of the three members of the Holy Family. Of all the saints in Christendom, the only ones of whom we possess no ex ossibus (from the bone) relics are the Blessed Virgin Mary and her husband Saint Joseph. This lack of bodily relics is attributed to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven body and soul, which is one of the great Marian Dogmas of the Church. The same reasoning is applied to the lack of bodily relics of Saint Joseph, Virgin-Father of Christ, and Chaste Spouse of Mary. Saint Joseph is the patron saint of a number of cities, regions, and countries, among them the Americas, Canada, China, Croatia, Mexico, Korea, Austria, Belgium, Peru, the Philippines, and Vietnam, as well as of families, fathers, expectant mothers (pregnant women), travelers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, craftsmen, engineers, and working people in general.

Saint Andrew the Apostle († mid to late 1st century AD), called in the Orthodox tradition Protokletos or the First-called, was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and the elder brother of Saint Peter. He is a holy patron of Scotland, Barbados, Ukraine, Russia, Sicily, Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Patras, San Andrés (Tenerife), Diocese of Parañaque, City of Manila, Amalfi, Luqa (Malta), and Prussia; Diocese of Victoria; fishermen, fishmongers and rope-makers, textile workers, singers, miners, pregnant women, butchers, farmworkers, protection against sore throats, protection against convulsions, protection against fever, and protection against whooping cough.

Thomas the Apostle (called Didymus which means "the twin" in Syriac) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. He is informally called doubting Thomas because he doubted Jesus' resurrection when first told, followed later by his confession of faith, "My Lord and my God", on seeing Jesus' wounded body. After his death, the reputed relics of Saint Thomas the Apostle were enshrined as far as Mesopotamia in the 3rd century and later moved to various places. In 1258, some of the relics were brought to Abruzzo in Ortona, Italy, where they have been held in the Church of Saint Thomas the Apostle. He is often regarded as the Patron Saint of India and Sri Lanka. His Feast day is celebrated on May 3rd (Roman Catholic Church),  and 14 November (Eastern Orthodox Church).

Additional Info

  • ID#: 11-RSMR-75
  • Size: 49 x 44 mm
  • Age: ca. 18th century
  • Origin: Italy
  • Materials: silver
  • Price: SOLD!
  • Silver
  • Orthodox Cross

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