Orthodox saints relics are an invaluable part of Christian culture. Aside from their healing power, they also represent the history and sanctity of Orthodox Christianity. These relics can be found in different areas of the world, such as Russia, Georgia, Italy, and Poland. Some of them are kept in churches, while others are preserved as museum objects.
Incorruption of relics
Incorruptibility is a key element of Orthodox spiritual theology. It’s the process by which the physical world participates in the restoration of humanity to its Divine Image. This is the foundation of Orthodox veneration of relics.
For many centuries, the bodies of saints were considered holy because they did not decay. The Catholic Church regarded this as a miracle. Now, it is being studied by scientists to understand how and why these bodies do not decompose.
Incorruptibles can be found in many monasteries around the world. They are enshrined with special reliquaries. These relics are often associated with healing. Miracles can occur when a relic is placed in soil from the saint’s grave. Moreover, incorruptible saints’ bodies are frequently accompanied by a sweet or floral fragrance.
St. Nicholas’ relics
If you love St. Nicholas, then you will be glad to know that the relics of this saint are now available in the United States. There are many churches in the country that have pieces of this legendary bishop. Some of the most famous ones include the Shrine of All Saints, St. Martha in Illinois. This church has hundreds of the saints’ relics.
The relics are kept in a special gold reliquary made in Athens. It is sealed inside and then dipped in holy water. You can also buy myrrh from a small church store in the basilica.
Saint Nicholas is one of the most revered figures in the Russian Orthodox Church. In honor of his feast day, the Russian Orthodox Church holds celebrations on May 9, the Transfer of Relics from Myra to Bari in Italy.
Myrrh is a fragrant oil used in holy rites. It is also consumed or applied to problem areas. For instance, when you’re experiencing pain or sickness, you might rub a drop of myrrh on your knees, or drink it to ease the discomfort.
In the early centuries, Christians from across the globe traveled to Bari, Italy to collect and distribute myrrh. It was believed that the sweet-smelling property of the saints relics indicates that Christians are pleasing to the Lord.
The Bari Cathedral was built in 1087. At first, it was intended to house the relics of St. Nicholas. However, in the fifth century, a new church was built over the grave of St. Demetrios. When the new temple was finished, the relics were transferred from Myra in Lycia to Bari.
The bones of holy ascetics
Orthodox Christians venerate the bodies of their holy saints. Although the saints themselves have long since departed, their incorrupt bodies bear testimony to their faithfulness and the power of God.
Some people may question why Christians should pay homage to the remains of dead saints. Others may believe that it is a waste of time to honor them. However, there are many reasons why it is important to bury them with honour.
Historically, the relics of a saint were buried in basillicas and basilicas. During the Reformation, some of the relics were burned. The cult of saints, however, gained momentum from the fourth to sixth centuries.
In the second century, Christians erected altars and tables of oblation to the holy martyrs. At the same time, they also reverently gathered the relics of their fallen brethren.
The bones of a 17th-century queen of Georgia’s Kakheti region
Queen Ketevan was a Georgian queen of Kakheti in the early seventeenth century. She refused to convert to Islam, and was taken as a prisoner by Shah Abbas I. Her son Teimuraz was made vassal of the Persian king. But Teimuraz flirted with rivals. In 1735, Nader Shah Afshar, who replaced the Safavids in Persia, appointed him governor of Kartli. He united Kartli and Kakheti as a kingdom in 1762.
The relics of Ketevan were kept in a black sarcophagus, according to an ancient Portuguese document. However, contemporary accounts indicate that her bones were eventually transported to Goa.
In the late 1980s, the Soviet Union began a search for the relics. An archaeological excavation by the Georgian government was unsuccessful. But locals were excited by the prospect of finding the relic.