Thursday, June 22, 2017

Some Relics of Our Lady

Ex capillis, ex velo, ex veste,
ex selpulchro Beata Virgine Mariae

The miracles which derive from the holy relics witness to the fact that their pious veneration by the people is pleasing to God (Saint Justin Popovich).
Even after death they act as if alive, healing the sick, expelling demons, and by the power of the Lord rejecting every evil influence of the demons. This is because the miraculous grace of the Holy Spirit is always present in the holy relics (Saint Ephraim the Syrian).  
Here (above, below) for your edification are four precious relics of the Virgin Mary in a hand-carved and gilded sealed reliquary and a fifth relic in a common theca. The four relics of Our Lady presented in the above reliquary, with official documentation of their authenticity, consist of:
  1. A short strand of her hair,
  2. A small piece of her silk veil; 
  3. A small piece of her colored robe; and 
  4. A stone from her tomb in Jerusalem.
The locks of the Virgin Mary's hair, her robe and her veil were originally kept by the Patriarchs of Jerusalem, to whom they had been given by the Apostles (Cannuli & Bartolo-Abela, 2016; Relics of the Saints: January-February). Then the Patriarch-Saint Juvenal gave them to the Empress-Saint Pulcheria, who gifted them to the city of Constantinople. Some locks from the Virgin’s hair, which had been cut off for remembrance by some of the Apostles upon her dormition, can now be found in the Great Reliquary at the Duomo di Messina, Sicily, and at the Basilica of San Marco in Venice, Italy.

Ex capillis

Ex velo

Above is a small piece of the Virgin's veil that she was reportedly wearing when she gave birth to Christ. This veil was in the possession of the Emperor Charlemagne, who had received it as a gift from the Byzantine Empress Irene of Constantinople. It was gifted by Charles II, the grandson of Charlemagne, in 876 to the Cathedral of Notre-Dames de Chartres in France. Other portions of the veil can be found in churches across Italy, in Cologne and Mainz, Germany; and in Prague, Czech Republic among others.

Ex veste

Ex sepulchro

Above is a small stone from the tomb of Our Lady that can be found in the crypt of the Church of the Assumption in Kidron Valley (Valley of Josaphat; Joel 3:2, 12), Jerusalem, Israel. According to the tradition of the Dormition, the body of the Virgin Mary spent three days in this tomb before her Assumption into heaven. Her three days in the tomb mirrored those spent by her Divine Son in the Holy Sepulchre, also in Jerusalem.

Official documentation of the authenticity of the relics and their provenance comes on parchment from Aloysius, Cardinal Amat (eventual Head of the College of Cardinals), dated 1829. The four relics above were re-authenticated on the same document in 1884:

Certfication by Aloysius, Cardinal Amat

Here is a fifth precious relic of Our Lady's, this time a small piece of her girdle (belt), which she had given to the Apostle Thomas. Large portions of this girdle, reported to have been made of camel hair, can now be found at Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos, Greece; the Monastery of Trier, Germany; the Cathedral in Prato, Italy; and at the Church of the Holy Belt in Homs, Syria.

Ex fascia Beata Virgine Mariae

I will not enter here into how these relics ended up in my possession, but there is a whole story behind them. Maybe one day I shall decide to narrate it. In any event, I hope you enjoy them.

© Marcelle Bartolo-Abela, aka Bald Eagle


  1. Replies
    1. Owl considers the correct response to such posts to be silent awe. Owl doesn't want Bald Eagle to find a lack of response by other woodland creatures to indicate lack of a good reception and thus not post more items like this. Owl considers that the other Woodland creatures have been given greater grace by God and Owl is just one of those annoying critters that cannot stay silent before Holy things.

    2. There was no lack of response. Just a lack of moderation on the Bear's part. Bald Eagle is free to moderate comments on her posts. If there's a technical problem, poor Bear will try to fix it.

  2. You have these? Wow!

    Seattle kim

  3. What beautiful relics! Love the legend about how Our Lady dropped down her belt to St Thomas when she was assumed into Heaven so that he would believe.

  4. There are not really words for those.
    That would be an interesting story as well.
    I would love to see them, but it seems a big responsibility.
    Thank you for sharing these. Our Lady, pray for us. We need your help.

    1. You might be interested to know that I have repeatedly offered them to priests for veneration, since there is documentation and all, but they have repeatedly responded to the tune of "eh, we don't need that kind of thing."

  5. They would be ecstatic to receive them in our traditional chapel.

    Seattle kim

  6. My first-class St. Maurus relics given by a dear friend of this blog are displayed (in their box) on the little shelf in our icon corner. It came complete with the impressive documentation. St. Maurus was the first Benedictine oblate, which makes it especially meaningful to me, World's Worst Benedictine Oblate. But, what do you expect from a Bear?


Moderation is On.

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