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Reliquary monstrance with large relic of St Nicholas of Bari, the Wonderworker of Myra

Baroque glass-fronted monstrance of giltwood dating to 1830's housing very significant (50 mm / 2 inches long) first-class ex ossibus (of the bone) relic of Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra. The relic is affixed to the red background, surrounded by the decoration of silk flowers, and identified on a paper manuscript cedula label as Ex Oss Nicolai de Bari E (Of the bone of Saint Nicholas of Bari, Bishop).  The monstrance is sealed on the back with a crisscrossed ribbon held by seals of red Spanish wax with a coat of arms of important Vatican official - Monsignor Costantino Cardinal Patrizi Naro (†), Prefect of the Roman Curia (1832-1834), as such responsible for the distribution of relics (later - Secretary of Universal Inquisition (1876), Dean of the College of Cardinals (1870-1876), and the Archpriest of the Arcibasilica Saint John Lateran Basilica, the patriarchal cathedral church of Rome that houses the ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome (i.e. the Pope) (1867-1876)). Suitable for public veneration. 

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, the 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#: 191-RSCR-185
  • Size: 16 1/2 x 8 inches (42 x 20 cm)
  • Age: ca. 1830's
  • Origin: Vatican
  • Materials: Monstrance of gilt wood
  • Price: SOLD!
  • Orthodox Cross
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