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Frame Reliquary with relics of 4 Female Martyr Saints: St Justina, St Pacifica, St Simplicity & St Victoria

18th-century glass-fronted gilt wood frame reliquary housing significant relics of four early female martyr saints: Saint Justina, Saint Pacifica, Saint Simplicity, and Saint Victoria. The relics are wrapped in gauze fabric and affixed to background covered with an opulent decoration in gilt and silver wire and centered around a relief image of the Virgin and Child. Each of the relics is identified in Latin on a separate paper cedula label. On the back, the reliquary is secured by a vertical silk cord held in place by two seals of red Spanish wax with an imprint of a coat of arms of an unidentified Roman Catholic Bishop. 

Saint Victoria († 304 AD) is venerated as a martyr and a saint by the Catholic Church. She was of the North African nobility and Christian convert in her youth, she refused an arranged marriage to a Pagan and, on her wedding day, leaped from a window in her parents' house. She sought sanctuary in a nearby church and there dedicated her life to God. Arrested during the Eucharist for her faith, her pagan brother, Fortunatianus, tried to intercede with the judge by claiming she was insane; she disproved this by engaging in debate with the judge. The judge was willing to release her if she agreed to her brother's supervision, but she refused, saying she could obey only God. She was tortured and martyred with 45 fellow parishioners. She was noted during her imprisonment for her courage they have long been given as an example to those who are lukewarm in attending Mass.  Her relics are known to be held in an ancient sacristy in Rignano, Italy, and a chapel in Maria Stein, Ohio, USA. Her feast is commemorated on February 11. 
 
Saint Justina of Antioch († 304 AD) is a Christian martyr saint, known for converting Cyprian, a pagan magician of Antioch. Justina was said to have been a young woman who took private vows of chastity. A would-be suitor sought a magic spell to induce Justina to marry him. The charms had no effect on Justina, who spent her time in prayer and fasting. Brought to despair, Cyprian made the sign of the cross himself and in this way was freed from the toils of Satan. He was received into the Church, was made pre-eminent by miraculous gifts, and became in succession deacon, priest and, finally, bishop, while Justina became the abbess of a convent. During the Diocletian persecution, both were seized and taken to Damascus, where they were tortured. As their faith never wavered, they were brought before Diocletian at Nicomedia, where at his command they were beheaded on the bank of the river Gallus. The relics of Saint Justina of Antioch rest in the Church of Saint Anthony, in Lisbon, after being transferred from St. Lawrence's Cemetery in Rome by Pope Pius VI in 1777. Her feast day is commemorated by the Catholic Church on September 26 and on October 2 by the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Additional Info

  • ID#: 43-RSCRM-5
  • Size: 12 1/2 x 10 3/4 in (32 x 27 cm)
  • Age: ca. late 18th century
  • Origin: Italy
  • Price: $5,750
  • Orthodox Cross
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