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Bust reliquary with large relic of St. Juliana of Nicomedia, Virgin & Martyr, Patron Saint of Sickness

A life-size bust-form reliquary dating to the 18th century made of gilt, silvered, and painted wood housing very large historically important first-class ex ossibus (of the bone) relic of Saint Juliana of Nicomedia. The relic is affixed inside of an oval glass-fronted opening and identified on paper cedula label in as S. Julianae, Virg. et Mar. (Saint Juliana, Virgin and Martyr). On the back of the reliquary, the opening to access the relic cavity is protected by a red silk ribbon with three seals of red Spanish wax with an imprint of a coat of arms of Cardinal Marcantonio Colonna (†1793), Archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and Vicar General of the Roman Curia.

Saint Juliana of Nicomedia (†304) suffered Christian martyrdom during the Diocletian persecution. Juliana’s parents were pagans and they wanted to betroth her with Eleusius, a prominent officer from Antioch, but Juliana denied strongly. Eleusius made some queries and found out that Juliana had converted to Christianity, though her parents knew nothing about this. Eleusius impeached her before the Roman governor and as a result, she was arrested and put in jail. While she was in prison, efforts to make her the wife of Eleusius continued, in order to save her from execution, but Juliana preferred to die rather than have a pagan as a husband. Then Eleusius burned her face with a heated iron and said at her, "Go now at the mirror to see your beauty". Juliana answered him with a light smile: "At the resurrection of the righteous, there won’t exist burnings and wounds but only the soul. So Eleusius, I prefer to have now the wounds of the body which are temporary, rather than the wounds of the soul which torture eternal." After a while, Juliana was beheaded. The veneration of Saint Juliana of Nicomedia became very widespread and she became known as the patron saint of sickness. Her feast is celebrated in the Catholic Church on 16 February, in the Orthodox church on 21 December.

Additional Info

  • ID#: 49-RSMB-13
  • Age: ca. second half of the 18th century
  • Origin: Rome, Italy
  • Materials: Silvered, gilt, and painted wood, glass
  • Price: Price upon request
  • Orthodox Cross
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