Where Do The Relics Of Saints Come From?

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Where Do The Relics Of Saints Come From?
Where Do The Relics Of Saints Come From?
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Thousands of people visit the holy places every year. These include temples and monasteries where you can worship the holy relics. Many come with their desires, hopes, with faith in the possibility of miraculous healing from an incurable disease - such is the belief in miracles associated with holy relics.

Part of the relics of St. John Chrysostom
Part of the relics of St. John Chrysostom

In Christianity, it is customary to call the remains of people who have been canonized by the Church as holy relics. However, this term can be applied not only to the bodily remains as such, but also to the personal belongings of the saint, his clothes - in a word, to any material object that came into contact with the saint.

The origin of the holy relics

The Christian church (unlike some heretical movements) never considered the physical body of a person to be something bad, sinful "by definition" and a source of evil. On the contrary, the body is “the temple of the Holy Spirit,” and the degree of its sinfulness is determined exclusively by the sinfulness of the soul that dwells in it. On the contrary, if a person led a righteous life, performed a deed in the name of God, acquired the grace of God, then this grace extends not only to the soul, but also to the body of a holy person. And even after the death of the saint, his remains ("relics" in Church Slavonic) remain a source of grace.

That is why, from the first centuries of the existence of the Christian faith, its adherents carefully preserved the remains of the ascetics. Often these were separate bones or even ashes - after all, many of the martyrs were burned or thrown at the mercy of predators.

Subsequently, they began to treat the remains of not only martyrs, but also other saints in the same way.

Veneration of relics

The respectful attitude towards holy relics in the Church is expressed not only in their preservation, but also in the establishment of church holidays dedicated to the acquisition or transfer of the relics of this or that saint, in the construction of chapels, temples and monasteries over the relics, in the laying of particles of relics at the foundation of church thrones.

There are many stories of miracles associated with holy relics. It is not always about miraculous healings. For example, during the reign of Emperor Constance in Antioch, there was a catastrophic decline in morals, a return to pagan rituals, unbridled orgies in places of former pagan cults. But as soon as the basilica was built in those parts, into which the relics of the holy martyr Babila were transferred, and the orgies stopped! Maybe people simply felt ashamed, or maybe the grace of the holy relics really affected them - but, one way or another, the goal was achieved.

Often the holy relics are presented as the incorruptible bodies of the saints. Initially, there was no such idea in the Orthodox Church; it spread relatively late - in the 18th-19th centuries. Perhaps this idea came from the West, the Orthodox clergy tried unsuccessfully to fight it. This superstition played a negative role after the October Revolution. Representatives of the new government, seeking to "expose the lies of the churchmen," often resorted to public dissection of the cancer with the holy relics. Believers saw bones instead of the expected incorruptible bodies, and many could even turn away from the faith.

In some cases, the incorruptibility of relics takes place, but this is considered a special miracle, and not a mandatory basis for canonization.

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