St. John’s Co Cathedral and its sacred relics
The relics of the saints demonstrate a great appreciation for the holy lives that the saints lived and even serve as an inspiration for believers allowing them to feel much closer to the saints by emulating the good life these people lived in different social contexts. Over the centuries more than 60 relics have been brought to Malta, including a piece of the crown of Christ which are combined in two ornaments, one made of wood and one of silver, given as a gift by Grandmaster Pinto. The curator of St. John’s Co-Cathedral, Cynthia de Giorgio, said that on the feast of All Saints, they are placed on the altar of St. John’s Co-Cathedral for pubic veneration.
“Among the other important relics we have are a thorn from the crown of Christ and even a piece of wood from his manger. The one that has the most historical value is a piece of wood from the cross of Christ which we call the vero legno brought from Jerusalem, meaning that the likelihood is that it can be considered an authentic relic.”
Over time the relics were so revered that pilgrims traveled hundreds of miles to visit a shrine where the relic was kept.
“Each relic was adorned with beautiful and ornate diamonds and other precious stones and even had a container of gold or silver. The knights – given that they had been active in Jerusalem since the Middle Ages, had the opportunity to collect many relics and in fact here we have more than 60 relics The most important relic belonging to St. John’s was the hand of St. John the Baptist with which he performed the baptism of Christ but unfortunately it is no longer here because the last Grand Master Hompesh took it back with him.”
The relics of St. Ursula, the Magdalene, St. Clement and even a piece of cloth from Our Lady’s dress are kept in the Chapel of the relics in St. John’s Co-Cathedral.