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Reliquary theca with relics of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, St. Anne & St. John the Baptist

Oval glass-fronted silver reliquary theca housing precious relics from the Veil of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Coat of her husband, Saint Joseph, her mother, Saint Anne, and Saint John the Baptist. The relics are affixed to a red silk background separated by paperole and silver wire ornamentation and identified in manuscript cedula labelsOn the back the theca is secured with a seal of red Spanish wax with perfectly preserved coat of arms of coat of arms of Pope Pius VI (p. 1775-1799), indicating direct papal gift from the Vatican.

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 the 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 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 Anne was the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus according to apocryphal Christian and Islamic tradition. She is a holy patron of Canada, carpenters; childless people; equestrians; grandparents; homemakers/housewives; lace makers; lost articles; Fasnia (Tenerife); Mainar; Detroit; miners; mothers; moving house; old-clothes dealers; poverty; pregnancy; seamstresses; stablemen; sterility; mothers; and children.

Saint John the Baptist was a Jewish itinerant preacher in the early first century AD. John is revered as a major religious figure in Christianity, Islam, the Bahá'í Faith, and Mandaeism. He is called a prophet by all of these traditions, and honoured as a saint in many Christian traditions. He is a Patron saint of Jordan, Puerto Rico, Knights Hospitaller of Jerusalem, French Canada, Newfoundland, Cesena, Florence, Genoa, Monza, Perth (Scotland), Porto, San Juan, Turin, Xewkija, and many other places.

Additional Info

  • ID#: 19-RSMR-25
  • Size: 46 x 38 mm
  • Age: ca. 1775-1799, Vatican, Direct Papal gift
  • Origin: Vatican
  • Materials: silver
  • Price: $2,500
  • Silver
  • Orthodox Cross
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