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Large Reliquary with Significant Skull Relic of Martyr Saint Fructuosus of Tarragona

Large horseshoe-shaped silvered brass crystal-fronted reliquary theca housing a precious ex cranio (of the skull) relic of Martyr Saint Fructuosus of Tarragona. A substantial (85 x 50 mm) relic is affixed to a dark red silk background decorated with imitation pearls and silver wire flowers. The precious relic is identified on a bi-color manuscript paper cedula label as St. Fructuosus M. (Saint Fructuosus, Martyr). On the back,  the theca is secured with a seal of red Spanish wax bearing an imprint of an unknown Roman Catholic Bishop.

The Holy Martyr Saint Fructuosus of Tarragona († 259) (also known as Saint Fructose) was the bishop of a large and oldest Christian community in Tarragona, a port city in Catalonia (Spain). The emperor of the Roman Empire Valerian (ruled 253-260 AD) in 258, began persecutions against Christians. Fructuosus and his deacons Augustus and Eulogius were arrested on January 16, 259 by order of the proconsul Emilian, who personally interrogated them. The investigation lasted less than a week and all sources note that the arrested people not only held with great courage but also used the slightest opportunity to appeal to members of their community. Finally, on January 21, in the arena of Tarragona, the holy martyrs were executed by being burned at the stake. After the execution, the remains of the martyrs were collected by Christians. Fearing persecution, some members of the community took the relics of the martyrs to Liguria (the seacoast in northern Italy), where in due course they founded the abbey of San Fruttozo (the modern city of Capodimonte), where the relics of Saint Fructuosus were stored. Fearing the pirates' attacks, part of the holy relics of the saint were moved further inland - to the city of Siena (Tuscany). The saint's day is celebrated on the day of martyrdom - on January 21.

Additional Info

  • ID#: 21-RSSR-135
  • Size: 6 x 5 1/2 inches (16 x 14 cm)
  • Age: ca. 19th century
  • Origin: Italy
  • Materials: silvered brass, crystal
  • Price: Price upon request
  • Silver
  • Orthodox Cross
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