In religious circles, relics play an important role, as they are a part of the body of a saint or venerated individual. During ancient times, possessing a relic was highly sought after and some would go to great lengths. In this article, you will not only encounter instances that highlight the significance of relics in the past, as well as more interesting facts about saints.
The Kidnapping of St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Thomas Aquinas was an Italian Dominican priest belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. He greatly influenced theology and philosophy during his time and was an accomplished writer of religious topics. He penned 25 volumes in total ”“ ending his writing in December of 1273, which was three months before he died. When he was healthy, he experienced a mystical experience while praying one evening where he exclaimed, “All I have written seems like straw to me.”
Interestingly, St. Thomas Aquinas was kidnapped by his own family at one time. In 1244, he had already studied at Monte Cassino and at the University of Naples when he joined the new Dominican order. His family was not pleased with this decision and they decided to kidnap him ”“ holding him in custody until he escaped and fled to Paris. To this day, his philosophical system remains the basis of Catholic teachings. He is credited with helping to make European Christians see science as being respectable once again.
A Young Visionary
When St. Joan of Arc started to hear voices and experience visions, she was only 13 years old. By the time she turned 17 years of age, she was responsible for leading the French army into battle during the 100 Years War, where she was later burned at the stake after being accused of heresy. Her trial and death was politically motivated. She hadn’t even reached 20 years old by the time of her execution.
The Value of Holy Relics
During the Middle Ages, the relics of saints were so highly valued that when a holy woman named Elizabeth of Hungary passed away in 1231, a crowd quickly dismembered her body so that they could have holy relics in their possession.
Better Dead than Alive
It was in the 11th century that the old St. Romuald was making plans to move from his Umbrian town, but the residents of the town were so fearful that another city would claim his bodily remains as holy relics that they plotted his murder.
Popes and Anti-Popes
Throughout the second millennium (1001”“2000), there have been 124 popes (in addition to about 23 “anti-popes”). Out of these religious figures, only five were canonized as saints.
A Saintly Drinking Cup
During certain ceremonies held during the Middle Ages, people would drink from the skulls of saints.
The Saint of Weapons
Who would have connected a saint with the selling of arms, but St. Adrian Nicomedia is regarded as the patron saint of arms dealers.