Secret Catacombs With Incredible Ancient Skeletons Covered In Priceless Jewelry

They call them the Catacomb Saints – ancient Roman corpses that were exhumed from the catacombs of Rome, given fictitious names and sent abroad as relics of saints from the 16th century to the 19th century. They were decorated with extreme lavishness, as you can see below.

.

But why – why would they be decorated with such luxury? Were they actually buried like this, or did something else happen? Well, they aren’t actually saints in the strict sense, though some of them may be early Christian martyrs.

 

During the 15th century, western Europe was shaken by the Beeldenstorm – the statue fury – a term used for outbreaks of the destruction of the religious image. During these spates of iconoclasm, Catholic art and many forms of church fittings and decoration were destroyed in unofficial or mob actions.

As the Catholic churches were systematically stripped of their icons, the Vatican came up with a rather strange solution. They ordered that thousands of skeletons be exhumed from the catacombs beneath Rome and installed in towns throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Few, if any, of the corpses belonged to people of any religious significance, but they were decorated like saints.

 

.

The skeletons became gruesome symbols of catholicism in areas dominated by protestants. It’s not clear if this move was effective at any time, but by the 19th century, they became an embarrassing symbol of past friction.

Although it was considered simony and forbidden to sell the skeletons or their jewellery, some ‘entrepreneur’ priests managed to make money from transporting them around the country and for some blessings.

In 1803, the secular magistrate of Rottenbuch in Bavaria auctioned the town’s two saints. 174 years later, in 1977, the residents of the town raised funds to have them returned, but for the most part, the catacomb saints were mostly forgotten and cast aside.

.

But it was their time to come in the spotlight again in 2013, when Paul Koudounaris revived interest in them with his new book, where he tried to photograph and document each and every one of the catacomb saints. It’s unclear if he actually did, but he certainly managed to bring them into the public eye. He explains:

 

‘After they were found in the Roman catacombs the Vatican authorities would sign certificates identifying them as martyrs then they put the bones in boxes and sent them northwards.  The skeletons would then be dressed and decorated in jewels, gold and silver, mostly by nuns.

‘They had to be handled by those who had taken a sacred vow to the church – these were believed to be martyrs and they couldn’t have just anyone handling them. They were symbols of the faith triumphant and were made saints in the municipalities. One of the reasons they were so important was not for their spiritual merit, which was pretty dubious, but for their social importance.

.

He also adds that as time passed, their significance changed, becoming from religious symbols, to city symbols.

‘They were thought to be miraculous and really solidified people’s bond with a town. This reaffirmed the prestige of the town itself.’He added: ‘It’s impossible to put a modern-day value on the skeletons.’

Related Posts

Archaeologists in Egypt discovered a gigantic “keleto” in the “tage lying posture,” which surprised everyone

The Natioпal Geographic Society has пot discovered aпcieпt giaпt hυmaпs, despite rampaпt reports aпd pictυres. The hoax begaп with a doctored photo aпd later foυпd a receptive…

18th-Century Spanish sнιᴘwʀᴇcκ Has $17 ʙιʟʟιoɴ Worth of Coins And Gems Aboard

  The Colombian army released images of one of the world’s most valuable shipwrecks, the location of which was unknown for nearly three centuries. Spain’s San Jose galleon was…

Dinosaur-hunting ‘terror croc’ found preserved in the Wyoming badlands

A ‘terror croc’ that preyed on dinosaurs has been unearthed in the badlands of Wyoming.       The primitive creature reached up to 14 feet long…

Aп aпcieпt skeletoп with a prosthetic eye was discovered 15 years ago

Believe it or пot, fake eyes have existed for thoυsaпds of years. Besides improviпg the physical appearaпce of the patieпt пeediпg the artificial eye, fake eyes also…

3000-Year-Old Αrmeпiaп Castle Rυiпs Discovered iп Lake Vaп, Tυrkey

The 3,000-year-old remaiпs of aп aпcieпt fortificatioп have beeп discovered at the bottom of Tυrkey’s largest lake. The υпderwater excavatioпs were led by Vaп Yüzüпcü Yıl Uпiversity…

Argentine-German Scientists Has Discovered The World’s First fossil Of Live Birth In A 47-Million-Year-Old Snake

Aп Argeпtiпe-Germaп team of scieпtists, iпclυdiпg Seпckeпberg’s Krister Smith, has discovered the world’s first fossil evideпce of live birth iп sпakes. The fossil they examiпed came from…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *