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The Hand Of Vecna?
May 27, 2013 4:58 PM   Subscribe

A shrine in Mystic, Connecticut contains the right arm of Saint Edmund, former Archbishop of Canterbury.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants (32 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Awesome, now who has the eyeball?
posted by Pseudology at 5:11 PM on May 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


Thank goodness it is not the left arm.
posted by R. Mutt at 5:11 PM on May 27, 2013


Thank goodness it is not the left arm.

No, we wouldn't want any sinister relics, now would we?

What on earth possessed the AP to write this article? The slowest news day ever?
posted by hoyland at 5:13 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


We still have Simon of Sudbury's head too, which gives me an idea...
posted by Jehan at 5:18 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


What on earth possessed the AP to write this article?

The fact that the mummified right arm of a twelfth-century archbishop is sitting somewhere in the middle of Mystic, Connecticut is just mind-bogglingly weird in and of itself. There need be no other reason.

(Connecticut is not known for this kind of stuff. Really.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:21 PM on May 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


I feel so bad for my little brother. He's a Lovecraft obsessed horror nut, but he was barely born when we left New England for warmer shores. We visited Mystic dozens of times, and the creepiest thing we experianced was my dad's lusty memories of Julia Roberts in Mystic Pizza.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:21 PM on May 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


The fact that the mummified right arm of a twelfth-century archbishop is sitting somewhere in the middle of Mystic, Connecticut...

...would certainly explain why the pizza is so popular!

Possible new restaurant slogan: "It's an indulgence!"
posted by wenestvedt at 5:22 PM on May 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


This explains my indigestion after eating that Mystic Pizza.
posted by humanfont at 5:23 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Connecticut is not known for this kind of stuff. Really.

We had the original Sleepy Hollow, and there was this resturant off some dirt road in the middle of the woods that had these non-Euclidian paintings on the walls that trumatized me as a kid. Plus the famous Haunting in Connecticut.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:23 PM on May 27, 2013


NYC has a more of a Saint, albeit, one not nearly as old as Saint Edmund. Most of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini aka Mother Cabrini is enshrined under a glass case in upper Manhattan, NY.
The major portion of her body is now enshrined under glass in the altar at St. Frances Cabrini Shrine, part of Mother Cabrini High School, at 701 Fort Washington Avenue, in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. At that time, her head was removed and is preserved in the chapel of the congregation's international motherhouse in Rome. The street to the west of the shrine was renamed Cabrini Boulevard in her honor.
One Catholic is not happy about it:
Mother Cabrini's missing Head????

I will be traveling to New York in the fall and was looking forward to visiting the resting place of Mother Cabrini. However I was disappointed to discover that the remains of her body have been separted. In the glass display case is her body but the head is wax...her actually head is in Europe???
I found this so upsetting and I don't understand why they would remove her head from her body. Its seems so horribly wrong can someone help me understand why this would be done. I have never heard of a saints head be removed and place in another country.
posted by snaparapans at 5:29 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have never heard of a saints head be removed and place in another country.

They must not know of many saints then. Maybe we could recommend they read this blog by Mefi's own Thin Lizzy.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 5:39 PM on May 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


One Catholic would be horrified by a vist to St. Anthony's Chapel, with over 5,000 canonized relics. Lots of little bones.

We visited once. It was rather interesting.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 5:50 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Right, that is basically a prop from a 1960s, British, Hammer House of Horror film. You lot have been had, suckers.

Pinewood studios are on line 1.
posted by marienbad at 6:04 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought that, once upon a time, every Catholic altar contained a relic.

Certainly the Benedictine abbey at St. John's University in rural Minnesota has at least one, in a glass-faced altar. (We got to go see it as part of a tour during the week-long, all-sports/all-misery summer camp that I went to one miserable summer.) Hang on...clickety-click Yep, it's Saint Peregrine!
posted by wenestvedt at 6:05 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe we could recommend they read this blog by Mefi's own Thin Lizzy.

A selection:
St. Veronica Giulani cleaned latrines with her tongue and ate spiders and cat vomit. She and St. Margret of Cortona also went on occasional eating binges. Catherine made herself vomit with a birch branch and sometimes chewed and spit food. Both she and St. Angela of Folgino drank pus from open sores.

Others were more clearly focused on the body and specifically punishing the sexual organs. St. Jeanne de Valois drove silver nails into her breasts in the shape of a cross. St. Rose of Lima wore a hairshirt studded with nails under her robe and a crown of nails under her veil. She had started mortifying herself with nails as a child. When her mother gave her a crown of flowers Rose was so ashamed of her vanity she nailed the wreath to her head. St. Marguerite Mare Alacoque cut and then burnt the name Jesus into her chest. St. Francesca Romana burnt her genitals with hot pork fat. Bl. Columba of Reiti mutilated her breasts and hips with spiked chains.
Maybe not.. she might wind up converting to buddhism.... on second thought..
posted by snaparapans at 6:22 PM on May 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Of course, when I see a reference to relics and an Archbishop of Canterbury named Edmund, I start to wonder whether the gift shop will have pipe racks from the carpentry shop of Jesus...

BTW, Charlemagne, Sleepy Hollow is in New York (Westchester County), not Connecticut.
posted by zorseshoes at 6:39 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Did the church ever issue a statement saying "no need to drive nails into yourself" or anything of that sort? Seems kind of sinful to me, as a practice, with its self-centered masochism.
posted by thelonius at 6:41 PM on May 27, 2013


The fact that the mummified right arm of a twelfth-century archbishop is sitting somewhere in the middle of Mystic, Connecticut is just mind-bogglingly weird in and of itself. There need be no other reason.

I can't really say I agree. Relics are really pretty common - they used to be a lot easier to get on eBay but things have tightened up. Almost every Catholic parish keeps relics, usually in or under the altar. What is unusual is the size of this one. However, it's obviously not news in the sense that something suddenly happened. It's just kind of an interest feature.

Seems kind of sinful to me, as a practice, with its self-centered masochism.

Yeah, there are prayers and rituals to make sure you're also avoiding and/or doing penances for the sin of pride.

I used to live in Mystic. The island this retreat center is on is really, really off the beaten path, and to get there you have to drive through a private homeowners association. Those folks don't even like local residents to know what's out there, let alone the entire American public. The publication of this is likely to piss those locals off, especially if pilgrimages and Sunday Mass attendance suddenly increase. But hey, if you go, have breakfast here.
posted by Miko at 6:43 PM on May 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


We had the original Sleepy Hollow

Mystic's also the site of the English massacre of the Pequot, which is as grisly as it gets. They didn't even really leave enough to produce relics.
posted by Miko at 6:47 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apposite timing: every Memorial Day weekend they haul it out to give the finger to tourists who keep their engines idling while waiting for the drawbridge.
posted by Kinbote at 7:11 PM on May 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


there was this resturant off some dirt road in the middle of the woods that had these non-Euclidian paintings on the walls that trumatized me as a kid
Charlemagne, I'd love to know more about these paintings! (I'm interested in non-Euclidean geometry in art).
posted by crazy_yeti at 7:13 PM on May 27, 2013


Veneration of relics isn't just the domain of the Catholics. Behold the tooth of Buddha and beard hair of Mohammed.
posted by rh at 7:40 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


there was this resturant off some dirt road in the middle of the woods that had these non-Euclidian paintings on the walls that trumatized me as a kid
Charlemagne, I'd love to know more about these paintings! (I'm interested in non-Euclidean geometry in art).


I honestly have no idea if they existed or if I dreamed them up. We went for a long drive, and there were trees, and then a resturant with Escheresque paintings and a hidden basement. Again, I have no idea if this actually existed or not.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:48 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I went to a church in Dublin which has the alleged bones of St. Valentine...
I am very weirded out by relics. Sorry, dead people belong in their graves. I am queasily o.k. with archeological study of the dead, but relics...
I knew it was going South very soon when the replicas of King Lazar were taken on a tour of former Yugoslavia. I pretty much told my late mother to expect war and it would get ugly.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:28 PM on May 27, 2013


Almost every Catholic parish keeps relics, usually in or under the altar.

It's maybe worth noting that the relics that are in altars are like this. Apparently. It's not like you haul them out and look at them or something. Though 'important' relics do go on tours periodically.
posted by hoyland at 8:38 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Damned Connecticut, which I'd have put in the FPP if I'd known about it, is like the Weird NJ of CT.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:19 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also of interests is Thin Lizzy's travel updates on Atlas Obscura.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:27 AM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's maybe worth noting that the relics that are in altars are like this. Apparently. It's not like you haul them out and look at them or something.

Maybe not in America, but I know at least one town in Italy where the saint's heart gets an annual parade and the fully mummified saint gets put on display once a year. I guess I always assumed American parishes got in to the relic game too late to get anything other than tiny bones, versus the head of Saint Catherine or other more expository displays.
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:44 AM on May 28, 2013


I find relics fascinating, I wish they could talk and tell us their story. When you're gazing at the boards from Jesus' crib, or a scrap of St. Peter's clothing, you have to wonder what the truth is. The Hofburg in Vienna not only has the Spear of Destiny and shards of the cross, but a fascinating collection of vials holding something from each of the apostles with a tiny silver bust of them on top. It's likely that it is crap hawked by con-men to suckers, but they still hold a story, which is maddingly difficult to ascertain.
posted by pashdown at 6:40 AM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


In Toledo in the cathedral there is the arm of some relatively minor saint. It's in a glass case with a long funnel shaped hole that allows the viewer to rub the arm. At the point where the hole opens up, the flesh has long since been rubbed away and the bone underneath is smooth and shiny like the finest ivory.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:42 AM on May 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Allegedly, relics of St. Justin are in a cemetery in Annapolis. (Possibly Justin of Siponto, but if the grave marker's right about it being a St. Justin who was martyred in the 4th century, then definitely not St. Justin the Martyr as the first linked article asserts.)
posted by Zed at 2:57 PM on May 28, 2013


Oh relics get paraded in America too. Hoyland's pics are of small relics, and you're right, most are a tiny splinter of bone or scrap of fabric with some blood on it, etc. - but some are large, in large reliquaries. On feast days there are sometimes services of veneration where you do pull the relics out and look at them. And there are some churches where chapels are set aside explicitly for veneration of the relics, so you are supposed to look at them. The Catholic Church doesn't make available a list of relics and where to find them - it's a little crypto, but you kind of have to run across them, or consult incomplete lists made by fans and pilgrims. Every church has at least one.

Reliquaries themselves are treasured, some of the most finely made pieces of art in the world, many centuries old.

Much squicker than the relics to me are the tombs. I always enjoy taking people new to NYC through St. Patrick's Cathedral and pointing out the tombs under the altar where all the former Archbishops' bodies are kept.
posted by Miko at 8:20 PM on May 28, 2013


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