Ex Ossibus

Ex Ossibus: Why Are These Miraculous Relics So Important?

The holy icon is not the only object of religious worship. Since old times, Christian people tend to preserve and revere any remains of saints, even their bones or ashes. Possession of such a venerable relic used to turn a church or a monastery in which a certain Catholic reliquary was kept into a place of pilgrimage for believers.

So, what is a reliquary, and what does “ex ossibus” mean? A reliquary is a receptacle of relics or ex ossibus (lat. “from the bone”) of the saints. There are all kinds and sizes of them, from small vessels to large chests. Reliquaries are often made of precious metals, while some of them represent true jewelry masterpieces. That is why there is a significant number of church relics for sale available online. Along with the sacred martyrs’ bones or flesh, other relics related to their lives (clothes or even fragments of their coffin) could be put in the reliquaries.

In Christianity, the worship of these relics has an ancient origin – it was first mentioned in the written records of the 2nd century. Many stories of the ex ossibus redemption of the saints became part of their hagiographies. For instance, the life of St. Boniface describes that he was sent by Righteous Aglaida to the East to buy out and bring the remains of the martyrs to Rome but was killed himself. His companions redeemed his remains for five hundred gold coins.

Relics of the saints represented a valuable property, which sometimes made them the objects of crime. As the church records hold it, in the early Middle Ages, the ex ossibus relics of St. Mark kept in Venice were stolen by Venetian merchants from Alexandria in order to put these relics for sale later.

The transfer of saints’ remains, like any other relics, in the Christian worldview has an important sacred significance – it represents the spread of Holiness. Hence, most Christian churches used all means to get important Catholic reliquaries in their possession.

According to the teachings of the church, when one separates a particle from the relic, its blessing does not decrease. The particle is the same vessel of the Holy Spirit as the whole relic is. The division of the saints’ ex ossibus was initially caused by the need to move them to other cathedrals and monasteries for the celebration of the Liturgy. The sacred remains were also placed into small objects, often in weapons, crosses, rings, and jewelry. As of now, they represent first class relics for sale – a real treasure for connoisseurs of religious artifacts. Such miraculous, sacred objects can be purchased at any reputable web-based relics store.

Experienced specialists of Russian Icon are ready to provide any avid collector of religious antiquity with qualified advisory on the topic of precious reliquaries and many other related issues.