Sue Burke (mount_oregano) wrote,
Sue Burke

Gold, jewels ... and relics

I am holier than thou.

This summer I took a week-long vacation in Prague and Vienna, and while in Vienna, my husband and I visited the Hofburg Palace, specifically its Schatzkammer (Treasury) (indeed: a 25-room vault), filled with both secular and ecclesiastical treasure.

The secular hoard alone was worth the €12 admission price, especially the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, over 1000 years old and still sparkling like new with gold, precious stones, and pearls (in photo). The imperial red coronation mantle, embroidered with gold and studded with pearls, made in 1134, remains in perfectly wearable condition.

We also saw the crown of Rudolf II from 1602, and his scepter made from a unicorn horn with a head of gold, diamonds, rubies, and a large sapphire. We saw the cradle of the Napoleon's son, the King of Rome (more gold); the largest cut emerald in the world; and the treasury of the Knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece, whose members are all high nobility or royalty, so those endless riches were truly magnificent.

Never before and probably never again will I be surrounded by so much gold, diamonds, pearls, and enormous gemstones.

But all this was overshadowed by the glorious ecclesiastical treasures:

• two pieces of the Holy Cross (one quite large);
• the Holy Grail (they're wrong on that because the real one is in Valencia);
• one of the nails used on the Cross (at least thirty of the original three or four still exist);
• the Holy Lance used on Christ during the Crucifixion (one of four known);
• a piece of the tablecloth from the Last Supper; and
• room after room filled with exquisite jewel-encrusted silver and gold reliquaries with teeth, fragments of bone, vials of blood, a link from the chain with which St. Peter was bound, and other relics from an all-star manifest of saints.

As you know, relics emit a mysterious power to remit sins and grant indulgences, and their virtus is transmitted to those in their vicinity. Thus my soul benefited tremendously from that morning spent among them. In fact, it was probably beneficial for your soul just to have read this post.

You're welcome.

— Sue Burke

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