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Important documented reliquary theca with relics of St Nicholas of Bari, Bishop of Myra

Oval glass-fronted brass reliquary theca housing first-class ex ossibus relic of Saint Nicholas of Bari, Bishop of MyraThe relic is affixed to a red silk background and identified on an arch-shaped manuscript cedula as S. Nicholas Baren[si] (Saint Nicholas of Bari). On the back, the theca is secured with a perfectly preserved seal of red Spanish wax bearing an imprint of a coat of arms of Tiberio Borghese (†1792), Archbishop of Siena (1772-1792). It is accompanied by the original matching authentics document issued by Fr. Borghese in 1792.

Saint Nicholas († ca. 345) was buried in a church in Myra (modern-day Turkey) and his tomb by the Middle Ages already became a popular place of Christian pilgrimage. In May of 1087, under the pretext of preserving them from the Muslim Turks who occupied Myra, relics of the Saint were stolen by Italian merchants from the place of his burial and transported to Italy where they are still kept in a crypt of a specially built Basilica of St. Nicholas in Bari. According to legend, when Italian merchants opened the sarcophagus, spicy smell of myrrh spread from the relics of Saint. Merchants from Bari managed to take only some of the relics of the Saint, leaving many smaller fragments in the grave. These fragments were collected by Venetian sailors during the First Crusade (1096-1099) and taken to Venice, where they were kept in the church of St. Nicholas. Modern scientific research in Bari and Venice proved that fragments in two cities belonged to the same skeleton. A small part of the relics is still kept in Turkey in the Church of St. Nicholas.

Additional Info

  • ID#: 157-RSCR-8
  • Size: 32 x 27 mm
  • Age: ca. 1792
  • Origin: Siena, Italy
  • Materials: Brass
  • Price: SOLD!
  • Orthodox Cross

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