Although relics (parts of, or objects associated with, the bodies of saints) are often considered "medieval", they are still widely used as objects of devotion in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churces. In fact, it is possible to obtain a relic (if you have a letter from Catholic priest) from a "relic bank" in Rome. It is illegal under church law to charge for a relic, but there is a charge for the required relic case. In most cases the relci acquired is a very small peice of bone or skin. Such relics are placed in a reliquary, and sealed. Each is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. Translated here is a sample modern certificate for relics from St. George.
CLEMENS MISERATIONE DIVINA EPISCOPUS VELITERNUS S.R.E. CARD. MICARA SS.MI. D.NI N.RI PAPAE VICARIUS GENERALIS ROMANAE CURIAE EIUSQUE DISTRICTUS IUDEX ORDINARIUS ETC. CLEMENTE MICARA, BY THE MERCY OF GOD BISHOP OF VOLTURNO, CARDINAL OF THE HOLY ROMAN CHURCH, VICAR GENERAL OF OUR MOST HOLY LORD THE POPE, ORDINARY JUDGE OF THE ROMAN CURIA AND OF ITS DISTRICT ETC.
Universis et singulis praesentes litteras inspecturis fidem facimus ac testamur, quod Nos ad maiorem Omnipotentis Dei gloriam suorumque Sanctorum venerationem recognovimus sacras particulas Ex Ossibus S. Georgii Mil. M. quas ex authenticis locis extractas reverenter collocavimus in theca metallica rotundae formae crystallo munita, bene clausa et funiculo serico coloris rubri colligata, ac sigillo nostro signata, easque tradidimus cum facultate apud se retinendi, extra Urbem transmittendi et publicae fidelium venerationi exponendi.
To all and each who will see these present letters we give our faithful assurance and we attest that, to the greater glory of Almighty God and the veneration of His Saints, we have recognized the sacred particles "From the bones of Saint George, Soldier [or Knight], Martyr" which, taken out of their authentic places, we have gathered in a "metal chest of round shape," decorated with crystal, tightly closed and tied with a silk cord of red color, marked with our seal; and we have sent them with permission to keep them, to send them out of the City, and to expose them to the public veneration of the faithful.
Monemus autem fideles in quorum manus hae sacrae reliquiae nunc vel in posterum venturae sunt, nullo modo licere eas vendere, neque cum iis rebus quae mercimonii speciem praeseferant [prae seferant], commutare.
But we warn the faithful into whose hands these sacred relics shall come now or later, that they are in no way permitted to sell them nor to exchange them with such things as show the appearance of marketing.
In quorum fidem has litteras testimoniales a Nobis seu ab Exc.mo Vicesgerente subscrptas [subscriptas] nostroque sigillo firmatas per infrascriptum Sacrarm [Sacrarum] Reliquiarum Custodem expediri mandavimus
Romae ex Aedibus nostris die *V* mensis *Martii* Anni MCMLII.
In witness of those things we have ordered these testimonial letters, signed by us or by our Most Excellent Substitute, and sealed with our seal, to be sent by the undersigned Keeper of Sacred Relics.
At Rome, from our palace, 5 March 1952
The translation is by Daniel Williman <email@example.com>
of the Hagiomail list [firstname.lastname@example.org]
This text is part of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts for introductory level classes in modern European and World history.
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© Paul Halsall, October 1998