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Important 1729 Documented theca with relic of St. John the Baptist (Forerunner of Christ)

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Important 1729 Documented theca with relic of St. John the Baptist (Forerunner of Christ)

Rare oval silvered metal glass-fronted reliquary theca housing precious first-class ex ossibus relics of St. John the Baptist. Substantial relic is affixed to a red silk background decorated with gilt paperolle and silver wire ornamentation. The relic is identified on a manuscript paper cedula label as S. Io. Precurs. (St. John the Forerunner). On the back, the theca is secured with a mostly preserved seal of red Spanish wax bearing an imprint of a coat of arms of Francesco Silvestri (†1744) Bishop of Lavello (p. 1828-1844). The relic is accompanied by an original matching authentics document issued and signed by Monsignor Silvestri in 1829 under the authority of Pope Benedict XIII (p. 1724-1730).

Translation of the authentics document (from Latin):

"[coat of arms of Pope Benedict XIII]

FRANCESCO SILVESTRI [†1744]

Bishop of Lavello [1728-1744] by the grace of God and the Apostolic See, Domestic Prelate and Assistant at the Pontifical Throne of our Most Holy Lord Pope Benedict XIII

To each and all about to read our letter in front of them, we pledge our faith and we attest that, for the greater glory of God and the veneration of his Saints, we recognize that these sacred relics among others, taken from authentic locations and confirmed by [our] seal: namely, a sacred piece of the bones of St. John the Baptist, Precursor, which relic we have placed in a small glass-fronted decorated well theca made of brass, closed securely, tied with a string of red silk, and stamped with our seal in red Spanish wax. These [relics] we have given as a gift to Don Marchio Philippe de Stefanorii, we have gladly bestowed them and granted [the receivers] the ability to keep them to themselves, to give them to others, and to exhibit them in whatever church, oratory, or chapel they may please, for the public veneration of the faithful. As a pledge of these conditions, we entrust this letter as testimony, signed in our own hand, confirmed by our seal, to be arranged by our undersigned secretary. Dated at Rome in [the Cathedral of the Most Holy Savior and of Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist in] the Lateran, 31 March 1729."

Saint John the Baptist known as the prophet Yahya in the Qur'an 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 honored 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#: 42-RSMB-12
  • Size: 32 x 27 mm
  • Age: ca. 1729 dated
  • Origin: Lavello, Italy
  • Materials: Silvered metal, glass
  • Price: (RESERVED)
  • Orthodox Cross
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