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Pope Francis with the Bones of St. Peter

Pope Francis with the Bones of St. Peter

 

I’m not Catholic, but Pope Francis is such a blessing in our times. He marked the end of the Year of Faith by making (what are believed to be) the bones of St. Peter available for public display.

“The relics, normally kept in the private chapel of the Pope’s Vatican apartments, were presented to tens of thousands of pilgrims who gathered to catch a glimpse of the relics. The eight fragments of bone between two and three centimetres (around one inch) long were displayed on an ivory bed within a bronze chest on a pedestal in St. Peter’s Square.”

http://www.ucatholic.com/news/relics-of-st-peter/

I was surprised to see saints’ bones continue to have such power in modern times.

From the article – “The bones were discovered in 1939 in an excavation of the Vatican Necropolis below the main altar at Saint Peter’s Basilica, which has been the consistent traditional burial place of the first Pope since antiquity. The excavation, ordered by Pope Pius XII, found the bones in a first century funerary wall creche, with a Greek inscription of ‘Petros eni’, or ‘Peter is here’. The bones were found wrapped in purple and gold threaded cloth.”

It made me think of our ancestor William the Bastard’s treachery with Harold Godwinson, his contender for Edward the Confessor’s throne. (Later Saint Edward the Confessor.)

William the conqueror from Beayeux Tapestry
There was no oath more binding than one on saints’ bones and William played it.

Simon Schama’s video on Edward the Confessor and William the Bastard – later Conqueror – tells the story better than I can.

If you have time, I urge you to enjoy the whole video. If not, start at 14:24
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8dTIrzuoiA

 

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