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1842 Documented reliquary with relics of St. Joseph, St. James the Greater Apostle, St. Sebastian Martyr, and St. Roch (Rocco)

Oval silvered brass glass-fronted reliquary housing relics of four saints: St. Joseph, St. James the Greater Apostle, St. Sebastian Martyr, and St. Roche.  The relics are affixed to the background of red silk decorated with silver wire and paperolle ornamentation and identified in Latin on manuscript cedulas labels as S. Joseph Spon. / S. Sebastiani Mart. / S. Rochi Conf. / S. Jacobi Maj. Ap. (St. Joseph, Spouse [of the Blessed Virgin Mary]; St. Sebastian, Martyr; St. Roch, Confessor, St. James, Major Apostle). On the back, under a protective cap, the theca is secured with a perfectly preserved seal of red Spanish wax bearing a faint imprint with a coat of arms of Msgr. Etienne Stefano Missir (†1863), Titular Bishop of Irenopolis. The reliquary is accompanied by the original matching document issued and signed by the Cardinal Missir under the Order of Pope Gregory XVI.

The earliest records of a formal devotional following for Saint Joseph date to the year 800 and reference to him as nutritor Domini (educator/guardian of the Lord). Together with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus, Joseph is one of the three members of the Holy Family. Of all the saints in Christendom, the only ones of whom we possess no ex ossibus (from the bone) relics are the Blessed Virgin Mary and her husband Saint Joseph. This lack of bodily relics is attributed to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven body and soul, which is one of the great Marian Dogmas of the Church. The same reasoning is applied to lack of bodily relics of Saint Joseph, Virgin-Father of Christ and Chaste Spouse of Mary. Saint Joseph is the patron saint of a number of cities, regions and countries, among them the Americas, Canada, China, Croatia, Mexico, Korea, Austria, Belgium, Peru, the Philippines and Vietnam, as well as of families, fathers, expectant mothers (pregnant women), travelers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, craftsmen, engineers, and working people in general.

Saint Sebastian († c. 288) was an early Christian saint and martyr. According to Christian belief, he was killed during the Roman emperor Diocletian's persecution of Christians. He is commonly depicted in art and literature tied to a post or tree and shot with arrows. Patron of Soldiers, plague-stricken, archers, holy Christian death, athletes, Negombo, and Roman Catholic Diocese of Tarlac.

Saint Roch or Rocco († 1327) was a Catholic saint, a confessor specially invoked against the plague. He is a patron saint of dogs and falsely accused people, among other things. His popularity, originally in central and northern Italy and at Montpellier, spread through Spain, France, Lebanon, the Low Countries, Brazil, and Germany, where he was often interpolated into the roster of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, whose veneration spread in the wake of the Black Death. The 16th-century Scuola Grande di San Rocco and the adjacent church of San Rocco were dedicated to him by a confraternity at Venice, where his body was said to have been surreptitiously translated and was triumphantly inaugurated in 1485. Numerous brotherhoods have been instituted in his honor. The Third Order of Saint Francis, by tradition, claims him as a member and includes his feast on its own calendar of saints, observing it on August 17.

Saint James, the Apostle († 44 AD) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, traditionally considered the first apostle to be martyred. He is also called James the Greater or James the Great to distinguish him from James, son of Alphaeus and James the Just. James the Greater is the patron saint of Spain, and as such is often identified as Santiago.

Additional Info

  • ID#: 39-RSSR-8
  • Size: 34 x 31 mm
  • Age: ca. 1842
  • Origin: Vatican
  • Materials: Silver, glass, silk, wax
  • Price: $3,275

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