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Large silver reliquary cross with hair relic of Saint Pope Pius V

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Large silver reliquary cross with hair relic of Saint Pope Pius V

A cruciform Baroque reliquary of solid silver dating to the first quarter of the 18th century and housing ex capillis (of the hair) relics of Pope Saint Pius VThe relics are displayed in a  round glass-fronted cavity located in the center of the reliquary and identified in Latin on a paper manuscript cedula label as Ex Capillis / S. Pius V (of the hair of [Pope] Saint Pius V). On the back, the cavity is secured by a seal of red wax with a perfectly preserved imprint of a coat of arms of an unidentified Roman Catholic Bishop.

Pope Saint Pius V (†1572) was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States (p. 1566 – 1572), venerated as a saint of the Catholic Church. He is chiefly notable for his role in the Council of Trent, the Counter-Reformation, and the standardization of the Roman Rite within the Latin Church. As a cardinal, he gained a reputation for putting orthodoxy before personalities, prosecuting eight French bishops for heresy. By means of the papal bull of 1570, Regnans in Excelsis, Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth I of England for heresy and persecution of English Catholics during her reign. He also arranged the formation of the Holy League, an alliance of Catholic states to combat the advancement of the Ottoman Empire in Eastern Europe. Upon assuming the papacy, he got rid of many of the extravagant luxuries then prevalent in the court. Severe sanctions were imposed against blasphemy, adultery, and sodomy. He was not a hypocrite: in day-to-day life Pius V was highly ascetic. He wore a hair shirt beneath the simple habit of a Dominican friar and was often seen in bare feet. Pope Pius V was beatified by Pope Clement X in 1672, and was later canonized by Pope Clement XI in 1712. Cardinal John Henry Newman declared that "St. Pius V was stern and severe, as far as a heart burning and melted with divine love could be so ... Yet such energy and vigour as his were necessary for the times. He was a soldier of Christ in a time of insurrection and rebellion, when in a spiritual sense, martial law was proclaimed."

Additional Info

  • ID#: 24-RSMIR-11
  • Size: 10 x 7 3/4 inches (25 x 21 cm)
  • Age: ca. first quarter of the 18th century
  • Origin: Vatican
  • Materials: silver, glass, silk
  • Price: SOLD!
  • Silver
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