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Antique 19th Century Silver French reliquary ‘Regina Angelorem’ -


Reliquaries come in three classes -

First class - an actual piece of a saint (bone, hair, etc.), or a piece of the cross.

Second class - a piece of something that touched the saint while living (part of a nun's habit, papal vestments, etc.)

Third class - something that was touched to a first class relic and given special religious blessings


This is a First Class Reliquary, the gold material decorated with bone and hair from three saints


The first saint in the theca is St. Claudius of Besançon. The relic appears to be "ex ossibus" (bone)


The middle Saint may be St. Louis de Condat, but I can find no reference directly to that full saint's name. However, St. Louis (Louis XI, king of France who last later elevated to sainthood) had a very strong, almost cult-like, devotion to the Abbey at Condat so it could be an indication the relic belongs to St. Louis Reg. Normally, his name would be written as St. Louis Reg. (for Regent) or St. Louis XI to designate a relic of his, but throughout the ages there was not much standardization. The fact that St. Claude is related to Condat makes it all the more likely the central relic is St. Louis Reg./XI. This also supports the arrangement of the relics within the theca, placing the royal saint in the middle, most prominent position.


The last purported Saint (bottom) is St. Charles Borromeo - ex capillis (hair)

2 October 1538 – 3 November 1584 Canonized 1 November 1610 by Paul V, Feast day Nov. 4


The internal red wax seal is that of The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, often referred to as The Order of the Holy Sepulchre or Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. They are one of only 5 orders of holy knights recognized by the Pope and predate the Knights Templar. The Knights of the Holy Sepulchre and the Knights of Malta are the only orders of knights that are still in existence in modern times.


There is much debate about the legitimacy of relics. An authentic relic will be bound by red thread with a wax seal bearing the mark of a Catholic Pope or bishop, but some orders were permitted to distribute relics themselves. The Order Of The Holy Sepulchre may well have been one of those orders and i have seen other relics with their seal. The fact that there is soot in the wax itself is a good sign, in addition to everything else, which points towards authenticity.

Antique French Reliquary

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