Most of us can agree that the concept of eternal life/dwelling forever in some species of paradise sounds appealing. However, not many people think of the physical body, itself, as everlasting - which is why the image of the "incorruptible" saint is so enduringly fascinating. For centuries, the Catholic church (and some Buddhist temples, as well) have housed the remains of icons who are supposedly immune to decomposition and decay as we know it. The preservation and display of these bodies represent a holy tradition, even though incorruptibility is no longer considered a miracle by the Vatican.
"Incorruptibility," itself, is an increasingly fluid term that can encapsulate any number of definitions. A corpse that's initially uncannily preserved can start to decay with time, as bodies are wont to; or only certain parts of the mortal remains (like a heart or an isolated hand or limb, for example) may be left intact. In any and all cases, a saint, once canonized, is always a saint, whether their mummified remains are reposing amid splendid settings or they're little more than a bejeweled skeleton. Read on to find out more.