Certificate of Authenticity for Relic

By Kev1, in 'Latin to English Translation', Sep 10, 2016.

  1. Kev1 New Member

    Hi folks this certificate and some sort of artifact was found in my aunts house in her attic.

    We know nothing of it except it's dated 11 August 1956.

    I have attached two images of the certificate and artifact if anyone would be kind enough to give us a translation it would be greatly appreciated.

    Attached Files:

  2. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Hi,

    Wow, damn, pretty interesting stuff, lol. Its seems that your little box contains a bit of the body of Pope Pius X. That's what the paper says at any rate. I'll be back later for a complete translation unless someone else does it first, but I already wanted to give you the crucial info — the rest are just formulas and details describing the box.
  3. Carpe Piscem Member

    Here's a translation. I'm not entirely sure about the handwritten word I've translated as "round." I can't make out the letters, but it must mean something roundish:

    To all and any who will examine this present document. We pledge and testify that from the authentic relics which are held with us a particle was extracted from the body of Saint Pope Pius X which was placed by us in a round shaped case protected by crystal, bound with red colored thread and sealed with our seal.
    In proof of this we have given this present document, written by our hand and secured with our seal.
    Given at the monastery of St. Praxedes in Rome, on August 11th, 1956.

    (Signed and sealed by the postulator general of the Vallumbrosan Benedicitines, who was apparently the postulator for the cause of the cause of St. Pius X (a postulator being the person in charge of advocating for a person to be named a saint, doing the paper-work, etc.))

    It is usual to receive a certificate of authenticity with relics. Good for your aunt for holding onto it. And yes, this means that the little bit of matter in the middle of the round case is a little bit of St. Pius X, probably bone.
  4. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    That's it, "round", rotundae.
  5. Carpe Piscem Member

    Thanks. All those squiggles in the middle made it look like "rotisserie" to me, but I knew that couldn't be right!
  6. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Lol.
  7. Kev1 New Member

    Thank you very much guys. My Aunt is delighted, it was her mothers, my grandmothers. She was very religious went to mass every morning in Ireland. God only knows how she came to have this tiny relic.
  8. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    :eek:

    I wonder how many of these relics they made, and how much of his body they chopped up to do it.
  9. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    Location:
    England
    Relics of some of the less well known saints can be quite scarce. Relics of some of the more prominent saints, on the other hand, are sometimes so commonly encountered that collectively they seem to argue for someone of superhuman stature as well as superhuman piety.

    There are two ways of looking at this: either a measure of deception on the part of people trading in relics should be suspected, or else the more prominent a saint is the greater is his or her capacity for miraculously proliferating their earthly relics for the benefit of the faithful.
  10. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    Or, perhaps, transubstantiation? ;)
  11. Carpe Piscem Member

    True enough! Selling bogus relics was big business in the middle ages. This is why it became significant to have a certificate of authenticity to go with your relic, and why the certificate is at such pains to say that the person signing it was the person who procured and sealed up the relic him or herself. They say there are enough relics of the true cross in the world to build Noah's ark.
  12. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    Location:
    England
    The only snag is the certificate of authenticity might itself be inauthentic. Carbon dating would be a better stamp of authenticity, but a bit pricy to arrange.
  13. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    That's not entirely foolproof either; the relic could be from anyone who died in the same year (or general time period) as the supposed saint.
  14. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    Location:
    England
    Yes, it wouldn't guarantee against contemporaneous forgery, just later forgery, unless the forger goes to the trouble of obtaining samples of bone or cloth that are the same age as the archetype. I'd have thought a forger would also be likely to substitute animal bone for human bone, though, and this is something that could easily be identified using modern laboratory techniques.
  15. Carpe Piscem Member

    Interesting discussion, but just to be clear, I don't think any of this pertains to Kev1 and his aunt. With a modern saint like Pius X, I doubt there is a lot of monetary gain to be made in forging relics. I've heard there are people who are still forging things like "the true cross," "Mary's veil," and possibly more plausibly "St. Joseph," but even in these cases the documents look pretty obviously printed with some Microsoft Publisher template. I would say there is about zero possibility that this relic is a forgery, but I'm sure there are experts one could send pictures to. Now if the certificate claimed that his aunt had the head of John the Baptist, I'd wonder -- there are already three of those in the world. In the middle ages, most of the monetary significance of having a relic (and therefore the motivation for forgery) was the importance of pilgrimmage. Every village wanted its church to have a special relic to draw pilgrims for the tourist trade.

    What is interesting to me is that the fact his aunt's mother had the document sort of suggests to me that she was the original recipient, or else that she got it as a gift from someone who was (like a priest). In my experience relics that are in the possession of individuals and have been handed on from person to person, usually don't still have the paperwork. Usually only the churches hang onto those. I wonder what was going on in her life in 1953 that would have resulted in her being gifted with that particular relic -- was it the name of her high school, or the church she was married in, or?
  16. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    Location:
    England
    Some of it does, but the rest was prompted to a degree by a series of posts on relics going on simultaneously in another part of the forum. It seems, oddly, that you're unaware of this other discussion.
  17. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
  18. Carpe Piscem Member

    I still don't see any reason to question this relic, given that a Pius X relic is not rare, not old, not in super demand, and given that the documentation looks so authentic. I suppose if Kev1 now has any questions now he could contact these folks: www.forallthesaints.info. They are devoted to exposing forged relics. There is a link on their site where you can e-mail them.

    Thank you for the link Callania!
  19. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    Location:
    England
    Nobody did specifically.

    You seem to have misinterpreted my reply in post 12. You made a general remark about the significance of having a certificate of authenticity: I made a general remark about the shortcomings of such certificates.

    The "the" (certificate) in my response was picking up the "a" in your own post. It was not pointing to Kev1's certificate specifically.

    I think not everyone using the Recent Activity page as a forum reference point is a more pertinent explanation in this case.
  20. Cambrinus Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Anglia
    A lovely thing to own, indeed, but is there a monastery of Santa Prassede in Rome? There is a very well-known church, near Sta. Maria Maggiore, however.

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