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Fancy reliquary theca with relics of the Sepulcher of the Virgin Mary & St. Valentine, Martyr & Patron of Courtly Love

Small oval glass-fronted silver reliquary pendant theca decorated around the perimeter with an intricate silver wire floral ornamentation and housing two precious relics: a pebble relic of the Sepulcher of the Blessed Virgin Mary and a sizable first-class ex ossibus (of the bone) relic of St. Valentine, Martyr. The relics are affixed to a red silk background decorated with silver wire ornamentation and identified in Latin on typeset cedulae labels as Sepul. B. M. V. / S/ Valent. M. ([from] Sepulcher of the Blessed Virgin Mary / S. Valentine, Martyr)On the back, the theca is secured with a well-preserved seal of red Spanish wax bearing an imprint of Fr. Guglielmo Pifferi O.E.S.A. (†1910), Titular Bishop of Porphyreon (1887-1910) and the Sacristan of the Vatican Curia.

The Sepulcher of the Blessed Virgin Mary is now housed inside the Church of the Sepulcher of Saint Mary at the foot of Mount of Olives, near Jerusalem. The stone bench on which the Virgin's body was laid out, now encased in glass. The Armenian Patriarchate Armenian Apostolic Church of Jerusalem and the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem are in joint possession of the shrine.

Saint Valentine of Rome (†269) (Italian: San Valentino, Latin: Valentinus) is a widely recognized 3rd-century Roman saint, commemorated in Christianity on February 14 and since the High Middle Ages associated with a tradition of courtly love. He was a priest and bishop in the Roman Empire who ministered to persecuted Christians. He was martyred and his body was buried at a Christian cemetery on the Via Flaminia close to the Ponte Milvio to the north of Rome, on February 14, which has been observed as the Feast of Saint Valentine (Saint Valentine's Day) since 496 AD. Relics of him were kept in the Church and Catacombs of San Valentino in Rome, which "remained an important pilgrim site throughout the Middle Ages until the relics of St. Valentine were transferred to the church of Santa Prassede during the pontificate of Nicholas IV". His skull, crowned with flowers, is exhibited in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome.​ ​His Feast is commemorated on February 14 (Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran Churches) and July 6 and July 30 (Eastern Orthodox) and he is a Holy Patron of Affianced couples, against fainting, beekeepers, happy marriages, love, plague, and epilepsy.

Additional Info

  • ID#: 40-RSSR-5
  • Size: 52 x 47 mm
  • Age: ca. 1890-1910
  • Origin: Vatican
  • Materials: silver, glass, silk, wax
  • Price: $3,750
  • Silver
  • Orthodox Cross
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