Weird History

These Gross Photos Show The Weird World Of Grisly Catholic Relics 

Kellie Kreiss
134.3k views 11 items

Anyone who is familiar with monotheistic religions like Catholicism is aware of the fact that the theology specifically dictates that followers "shalt have no other gods before [God]," which has, in turn, made the concept of Catholic relics a point of contention for many Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Yet, beyond the debate around the use of relics is the fact that they are venerated by hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people everyday and are nevertheless viewed as significant symbols within one of the largest religions in the world.

Oftentimes, many of these relics go beyond being just sheets of papyrus and bejeweled scepters; instead, they are made up of the very essence of the saints themselves. That means they are flesh and bone – and sometimes blood, preserved and cherished across the centuries.

Many of the sacred relics honored by Catholics are made up of the preserved remains of the religion's most significant saints; however, the truth surrounding just how these churches came to possess such well-preserved pieces of history (and whether or not the items are even real) is often both hotly debated and tacitly ignored. And the very fact that Catholicism encourages the praise of "bits and pieces of human corpses as the holiest of the holy" remains puzzling for many, including Meghan MacRae who wrote about her fascination with the concept in a piece for CVLT Nation.

In this collection of Catholic relic photographs you'll find everything from flesh and bone to blood and hair (and maybe a little papier mâché, but who can really say).

The Mummified Head Of Saint Catherine At The Basilica Of San Domenico, Siena
The Mummified Head Of Sa... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list These Gross Photos Show The Weird World Of Grisly Catholic Relics
Photo: Giovanni Cerretani/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA 3.0
The Remains Of Saint Hyacinth Are On Display At The Church Of The Assumption In Bavaria, Germany
The Remains Of Saint Hya... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list These Gross Photos Show The Weird World Of Grisly Catholic Relics
Photo: Richard Huber/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA 3.0
The Arm Of Saint Francis Xavier
The Arm Of Saint Francis... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list These Gross Photos Show The Weird World Of Grisly Catholic Relics
Photo:  Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY)
The Skull Of Saint Valentine At The Santa Maria In Cosmedin Church In Rome, Italy
The Skull Of Saint Valen... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list These Gross Photos Show The Weird World Of Grisly Catholic Relics
Photo:  Meghan MacRae / CVLT Nation