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Important documented reliquary with first-class relic of St Nicholas, Wonderworker of Myra

Oval glass-fronted brass reliquary theca housing first-class ex dente (of the tooth) relic of Saint Nicholas of Bari, Bishop of MyraThe relic is affixed to a golden starburst on a red silk background and identified on a manuscript cedula label as S Nikolai Ep (Saint Nicholas Bishop). 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 Cardinal Giuseppe Maria Spina (†1828), an important official of the Vatican Curia, and the Archbishop of Genova and Cardinal-Priest of the church of Saint Agnes Outside the Walls in Rome. It is accompanied by the original matching authentics document issued by Monsignor Spina in 1812. The reliquary comes in the original tooled leather case of issue. 

Translation of the authentics document  from Latin:

JOSEPH Spina Cardinal-priest of the Holy Roman Church of the titular church Saint Agnes Outside the Walls of the City [of Rome]. By the grace of God and of the Apostolic See the Archbishop of Genoa, Perpetual Abbot of [the] Saint Syrus [basilica], and the legate of the Apostolic See. To all and each about to inspect this document made by the hand of ours, we make our certain assurance and we swear that, to the greater glory of God the Omnipotent and the veneration of his Saints, we recognize the Holy Relic described below to have been extracted in good faith from its authentic places, namely from the Tooth of Saint Nicolas [of Myra], Bishop and Confessor, which we have reverently inserted into a small reliquary made of silver from Syria tied with a red string and secured with a small seal of our Curia impressed in red Spanish wax, and we have relinquished it along with the permission to be kept in its own place, to be given to others, and to be placed and publicly exhibited in whatever church, chapel, or oratory for the veneration of the Faithful. In trust of which things we have commissioned this document to be made signed in our own hand and secured with the seal of our Curia. Dictated in Genoa from the palace of the archbishop, June 30 of the year 1812. Cardinal Joseph, Archbishop of Genoa.

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#: 11-RSMBR-13
  • Size: 43 x 34 mm
  • Age: ca. 1812
  • Origin: Genoa, Italy
  • Materials: silver
  • Price: SOLD!
  • Silver
  • Orthodox Cross

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