Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Relics of the Apostles

Ex ossibus sanctissimorum Apostolorum

The Holy Apostles

Above, for your edification, are first class relics of the Twelve Apostles in a brass multi-reliquary put together and sealed by the Augustinians. All the relics are ex ossibus - that is, pieces of their bones. This reliquary was given to me by a Catholic priest.

Here is the list of the above relics:
  1. Peter, aka the Fisherman, son of John and brother of Andrew;
  2. Andrew, son of John and brother of Peter;
  3. James, aka the Elder, son of Zebedee and brother of John;
  4. John, aka the Beloved; son of Zebedee and brother of James. The only Apostle who did not run away for the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and who died a peaceful death;
  5. Philip;
  6. Bartholomew, aka Nathanael;
  7. Thomas, aka Didymus, the Doubter;
  8. Matthias, the tax collector son of Alpheus (Cleophas) and cousin of Christ (through Joseph);
  9. James, aka The Younger; son of Alpheus, brother of Matthias, Jude, and Simon; cousin of Christ;
  10. Jude Thaddeus, son of Alpheus, brother of James, Simon, and Jude; cousin of Christ;
  11. Simon, aka the Zealot; son of Alpheus, brother of James, Jude, and Matthias; cousin of Christ; and
  12. Barnabas, one of the 70 disciples, the companion of Paul and cousin of Mark the Evangelist (John Mark, also one of the 70; one of the servants at Cana and the young man who ran away naked when Christ was arrested in Gethsemane). The 'replacement' for Judas Iscariot.
The main relics of the Apostles can be found in the following locations:
  1. Peter - Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican City State;
  2. Andrew - Cathedral of Saint Andrew, Patras, Greece;
  3. James the Elder - Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain;
  4. John - Basilica of Saint John, Ephesus, Turkey;
  5. Philip - Basilica Minore dei Santi Apostoli, Rome, Italy; and in the Hierapolis of Phrygia, Turkey;
  6. Bartholomew - Basilica di San Bartolomeo all'Isola, Rome, and at the Basilica di San Bartolomeo, Benevento, Italy; at the Cathedral of Frankfurt, Germany, and at Canterbury Cathedral, England;
  7. Thomas - Basilica di San Tommaso, Ortona, Italy; at San Thome Minor Basilica, Chennai, India; and on the island of Chios, Greece;
  8. Matthias - Cattedrale di Salerno, Salerno, Italy; and at the Saint Matthias Benedictine Abbey, Trier, Germany;
  9. James the Younger - Cathedral of Saint James, Jerusalem (seat of the Armenian Patriarchate), and at the Basilica Minore dei Santi Apostoli, Rome, Italy;
  10. Jude - Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican City State, and at the National Shrine of Saint Jude, Chicago, Illinois;
  11. Simon - Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican City State; and
  12. Barnabas - Monastery of Saint Barnabas, Salamis, Cyprus.

 © Marcelle Bartolo-Abela, aka the Bald Eagle.


  1. What a treasure!

    I believe your caption should read "Ex ossibus sanctissimorum Apostolorum" since you are referring to multiple apostles; your caption reads "From the bones of the most holy apostle."

  2. Thank you! Fixed. Yeah, my Latin sucks (to put it mildly).

  3. I had no idea something like this existed. Question, because this is all pretty interesting. I don't mean to be pert, honestly, this is a sincere question, but do you ever have the desire to take this to hospitals or to ill people? I am probably in error, but I would be wanting to take this to sick people or people in trouble, and that is one reason I may not be a good person to have relics in my possession.

    1. Yes, it exists :-) And I'm certain there's others like it, somewhere.

      Re your question, which is a very valid question, the short answer is "yes." The longer answer is that the hardest part is to balance wanting so much to share them with everyone and getting rebuffed (e.g., "We don't want that junk") and people trying to make off with them. It's like walking a tightrope. That said, the Purple Robe of Christ, for example, just spent two months 'away' in someone else's home and circle of people, where serious illness was present and the relic needed to be there. It returned to me only about two weeks ago.

      I do wish I had a small shrine (like the Russians tend to have, on the roads) that could be open to anyone, so whoever wanted or needed to could come and venerate the relics. I would love taking care of such a place, but I don't have that :-(

    2. What a stunning reality you have just laid out.
      "We don't want that junk", is something that may ring in my ears for quite a while. People trying to steal them, for whatever purpose, also leaves one astounded. What purpose could you have? If you believe, then you should know to steal is a commandment. Ah, we humans, we're a profound disappointment to each other, let alone our God! It's good of you to let a relic visit a home. It must please the Lord to see such faith. Yes, a shrine, wouldn't that be nice. Well the Lord has entrusted these to you for some reason. I'm glad they ended up in your hands.

    3. It's more of an intense desire on many people's part to have "a piece" of God or the saints, rather than making off with a relic out of malice or for the sake of stealing. That's how deep the desire for God really is even though not many admit it. As for the rest, thanks.


Moderation is On.

Featured Post

Judging Angels Chapter 1 Read by Author

Quick commercial for free, no-strings-attached gift of a professionally produced audio book of Judging Angels, Chapter 1: Last Things, read...