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Reliquary theca with relics of St. Emygdius, Martyr & Protector from Earthquakes

Late 18th century oval glass-fronted reliquary theca housing relic of Saint EmygdiusThe relic is affixed to a pale blue silk background decorated with golden paperolle and silver cord ornamentation and identified on a manuscript cedula label as S. Emyg. E. M. (Saint Emygdius, Bishop and Martyr). On the back, under a protective cap, the theca is secured with a seal of red Spanish wax with a coat of arms of Pope Pius VI (p. 1775-1799), indicating direct Papal gift from the Vatican.

Saint Emygdius (†c. 309 AD) was a Christian bishop martyred during the persecution of Diocletian and known for performing many miraclesEmygdius cured a paralytic and a blind man. The people of Rome believed him to be the son of Apollo and carried him off by force to the Temple of Aesculapius on the island in the Tiber, where he cured many of the sick. Emygdius declared himself a Christian, however, and tore down the pagan altars and smashed into pieces a statue of Aesculapius. He also converted many to Christianity; this enraged the prefect of the city. On his way to Ascoli, Emydgius made more conversions, and performed a miracle where he made water gush out of a mountain after striking a cliff. Polymius, the local governor, attempted to convince Emygdius to worship Jupiter and the goddess Angaria, the patroness of Ascoli. Polymius also offered him the hand of his daughter Polisia. Instead Emygdius baptized her as a Christian in the waters of the Tronto, along with many others. Enraged, Polymius decapitated him on the spot now occupied by the Sant'Emidio Red Temple, as well as his followers Eupolus (Euplus), Germanus, and Valentius (Valentinus). Emygdius stood up, carried his own head to a spot on a mountain where he had constructed an oratory.  He is a Patron Saint of Ascoli Piceno; Guardiagrele; Naples (co-patron); and invoked against earthquakes. His feast day is commemorated on August 5.

Additional Info

  • ID#: 12-RSMR-5
  • Size: 32 x 25 mm
  • Age: ca. 1775-1799, Vatican, Direct Papal gift
  • Origin: Vatican
  • Materials: Silvered brass
  • Price: $575
  • Silver
  • Orthodox Cross
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