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How do I know what is a Relic?

Most Holy Relics are accompanied by the document that will have the specific Relic described in Latin.


The document that accompanies a relic is often times referred to as the authentics. On the document there is a variety of useful and neccessary information. On the top of the document is the name of the ecclesiastic who has authenticated the relic as genuine, this could be the Postulator General of the religious order whose logo appears or, the Vicar General.

Next is the body of copy that is usally written in latin; I'll translate it into English. "To all and any who will read this document. We, the Pro-Postulator in the Cause of (Beatification and) Canonization of _____________________ guarantee and testify that from the authentic Relics, which are preserved, we have extracted a particle from ___________ of the same ________________ and have placed it in a ______ _________ case covered by crystal, bound by red colored thread and sealed with the seal of our office."
Rome ( Date ) Signature [Seal]

This document is a public acclaimation as to the authenticity of the relic itself, of which a high ranking ecclesiastic has signed his name. Typed or hand written into the blank areas are the name and the abbreviation of the cause of their sainthood and the individuals station in religious life, as well as any distinction of honor that the Church might have placed on them posthumously. There is also a description of the relic itself, (described below) and a description of the locket or reliquary that it is placed in.

On the bottom of the authentic is the date of issuance, the seal of the office, registrar number and the signature of the authenticateur.

Underneath the backcover of the relic locket there is a seal of red wax. The relic itself is held in place in the locket by threads that cross over it. The threads are fed through the walls of the locket on opposing sides and it is sealed shut with a wax seal bearing the insignia of issuing religious authority and their orders initials. This seal and it's locking procedure, (threads and seal) should never under any circumstances be broken. It protects the integrity and validity of the authentication. Even if the papers are lost and the seal is intact it is difficult but not impossible to have new papers generated in Rome.

Seal of red wax

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