Friday, January 22, 2016

Picture Day Friday: 7th Century Reliquary from one of the Oldest Christian Abbeys

This is a reliquary from the first half of the 7th century from the Abbey of Saint Maurice d'Agaune in Canton Valais, Switzerland.

The monastery is built on the ruins of a Roman shrine from 1st century BCE in the Roman staging-post of Agaunum. Eucherius, the Bishop of Lyon, is said to have had a revelation of the martyrdom of a Roman Legion led by St. Maurice in the region of the abbey in 285 CE. This is how the abbey came to be named Saint Maurice d'Agaune. It was converted to an abbey under the patronage of King Sigismund of Burgundy in early 6th century CE. Ever since then on to present day, the abbey has continued to serve its parishes. The Abbey is thus one of the oldest sites of Christian worship in the world.

Bishop St. Theodore is credited with the collection of the relics of the holy martyrs including the reliquary below.

[Image copyrighted by the New Liturgical Movement.]