Le Saint Prepuce-RELICS

The Holy Foreskin

Medieval times in Europe were marked by a strong belief in the supernatural and the occult, which sparked great interest in relics with a connection to Jesus Christ himself. However, it should be emphasized that Jesus is considered an unparalleled religious figure and his relics were therefore of particular importance to the faithful. Objects believed to have been touched or used by him during his lifetime were thus revered for their supposed miraculous power, capable of curing disease, offering protection, and securing eternal salvation.

The veneration of the foreskin of Jesus was considered very serious at the time, given that it was an actual part of the body of Jesus Christ, which led the religious faithful to do everything to preserve it. Moreover, the belief in the existence of this relic was reinforced by specific mentions in the Bible, which pointed to it as being the only part removed from the body of Jesus during his life. The mention of the removal of his foreskin eight days after his birth also reinforced the belief that this relic was genuine. Accordingly, the veneration of the foreskin of Jesus was considered a very serious matter and was the object of great veneration by believers.

holy foreskin relic

Reliquary of the Holy Foreskin at Relics.es

The Bible, particularly in the Gospel of Luke, describes the circumcision of Jesus Christ. According to Luke 2:21, "After eight days, when the time of circumcision was fulfilled, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before his conception." Although discussion of the Holy Foreskin, recognized by the Roman Catholic Church in 1900, may seem blasphemous, it has been linked to thefts and loss of life during its transmission to the present day. Accordingly, the study of the Holy Foreskin could be very useful for researchers interested in history, despite the controversy surrounding this relic.

The importance of relics

Relics were considered precious objects, including man-made objects such as shoes or capes, as well as body parts of famous saints, such as the hands, head or even a tooth. Churches saw the relics as an important means of promoting their presence and therefore sought to obtain more of them to meet the growing demand from the faithful. The more relics a church had, the more popular it was and able to attract followers. Some churches and monasteries even exhibited different relics from their collection to arouse interest and popularity.

However, the sacred nature of the relics did not prevent their possession by unscrupulous individuals. Indeed, the trade in these items believed to establish a divine connection with God has often led to dishonest activities. Thefts and frauds in the name of religion have been increasingly common. Despite their importance to the faithful, the relics of medieval Europe did not last long, as they were looted and scattered during the Fourth Crusade which led to the fall of Constantinople.

The relics that were transported to Western Europe after the conquest of Constantinople were directly linked to Jesus Christ, such as Mary's breast milk or the True Cross on which he died. However, there are many uncertainties about the bodily remains of Jesus Christ on Earth. Common religious beliefs suggest that Jesus ascended into heaven with his body, thus leaving nothing behind. This is why the debate over the importance of the Holy Foreskin as a sacred relic has a deep implication in history.

The circumcision of Jesus and the story

The circumcision of Jesus was a central theme in religious art in the late medieval and early modern period. Several notable works of art have depicted the circumcision of Christ, such as "The Circumcision of Christ" by Friedrich Herlin from the Altar of the "Twelve Apostles" in 1466, "Circumcision of Christ" by Francesco Bissolo in the first half of the 16th century and “The Circumcision of Christ” by Bartolomeo Biscaino in the 17th century.

On the other hand, the Holy Foreskin was not only depicted in religious art, it was also the object of physical claims. Many people and institutions claimed to possess the authentic Holy Foreskin, which suggested its ability to reproduce itself miraculously. This claim seemed scientifically absurd, as there was no hard evidence that any of the possessed fragments were in fact an actual part of Jesus' body.

The main obstacle to finding the location of the Holy Foreskin is the lack of available information. Very few authors and scholars have explored the subject, especially after the Roman Catholic Church issued a decree in 1900, which emphasized the excommunication of anyone who spoke or wrote about the foreskin of Jesus. . Therefore, it is curious that what was once a highly revered artifact has become taboo in the eyes of religious institutions.

Robert Palazzo explores the history of the Holy Foreskin through his article titled "The Veneration of the Sacred Foreskin(s) of the Infant Jesus: A Documentary Analysis". In this article, he provides valuable information about this relic and its importance in the history of Christianity. In particular, he refers to the "First Gospel of the Child Jesus", a document written before the 6th century, which describes how the foreskin was preserved and how it changed owners over the generations.

First accounts of the Holy Foreskin

The Holy Foreskin is an ancient artifact shrouded in mystery, and the legends surrounding it have contributed greatly to its reputation. The first verified story of the circumcision of Jesus is found in the apocryphal “Arabic Infancy Gospel”. According to this story, Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day after his birth in a cave, as required by Jewish law. An old Hebrew woman is said to have taken the foreskin and kept it in an alabaster box containing ancient nard oil. This woman, named Mary, is also said to have warned her son, a pharmacist, against selling the alabaster box containing the nard ointment, even for a large sum. This account is also interesting because it establishes a possible connection between the mother of Jesus and the old Hebrew woman.

The holy foreskin throughout history

The first accounts relating to the first relic of the foreskin are linked to the Byzantine Empress Irene, who is said to have offered this relic to King Charlemagne of the Franks. In 800 AD, King Charlemagne is said to have presented this sacred relic to Pope Leo III upon his coronation as the first Holy Roman Emperor. Some accounts say that King Charlemagne claimed that an angel gave him this relic.

After the sack of Rome by German Protestants in 1527, the Holy Foreskin was stolen from its resting place where it had remained for many centuries. Before that, the artifact had been transferred to different places, such as England, where it was sent to Catherine of Valois in 1421 to bring her good luck in her marriage to Henry V.

After the ceremony where King Charlemagne presented the holy foreskin as a gift to Pope Leo III, an opportunity to make money arose and many rival foreskins began to appear in different parts of Europe. According to the evidence, nearly 31 churches in Europe claimed ownership of the holy foreskin at some point during the Middle Ages. Notable churches such as those in Paris, Toulouse, Antwerp, Compostela and Bologna all claimed to possess the foreskin of Jesus.

All of these churches advanced the same story, claiming that Mother Mary retained the foreskin and then gave it to Mary Magdalene, along with either the navel string or the umbilical cord. However, there is no conclusive proof to establish with certainty that one of these foreskins was indeed that of Jesus. Accounts of the various foreskin relics discovered across Europe are mostly based on stories and legends, and their connection to Jesus therefore remains shrouded in mystery.

A reluctant church

The Holy Foreskin is undeniably an important part of Christian culture and religious history, which has played a crucial role in helping to understand Jesus as the incarnation of God. Its religious significance is mainly linked to the revelation of the human side of Jesus Christ, because the circumcision event showed that Jesus was bleeding like any human being. Thus, the Holy Foreskin became a symbol of the humanity of Jesus and his sacrifice for humanity.

Growing claims of possession of sacred foreskin relics across Europe have turned a serious situation into a farce. Many churches have begun to make efforts to obtain valid authentication for their artifact from Church leaders. For example, the monks of San Giovanni in Laterano, Rome, asked Pope Innocent III to verify the authenticity of their foreskin artifact in the early 12th century. However, the pope refused to do so, thus indicating the presence of doubts as to the originality of the foreskin relics.

In contrast, the monks of Charroux made a bold claim as to the authenticity of their foreskin relic. They claimed their artifact produced drops of blood during a ceremony, which likely contributed to Pope Clement VII's decision to declare their relic the true Holy Foreskin, during his pontificate from 1523 to 1534.

However, fluctuations in the claim to possession of the Holy Foreskin have led to derision and criticism. The Catholic Church began to avoid answering questions about the authenticity of foreskin relics, and even stopped talking about the subject. The Church finally banned speaking or writing about the Holy Foreskin in 1900.

Lost in History?

As the Church increasingly rejected the sacred relics of the foreskin, it was inevitable that this idea would eventually fade from history. The last known place where the Holy Foreskin was kept was the Italian village of Calcata, located 30 miles north of Rome. According to locals, the relic had been there since 1527 and priests would take it out for processions. She remained there until her mysterious disappearance in 1983 from a shoebox under the priest's bed. Although likely a robbery, this incident marked the end of medieval Christian history. Some people think the Vatican might be responsible for the disappearance to prevent any discussion of foreskin relics.

Saint Prepuce of Calcata before his disappearance

Understanding the origins of the Holy Foreskin is complicated by many conflicting historical accounts. From the 6th century gospel to modern research, a wide variety of information is available on this subject. Despite this, it is crucial to understand the significance of the relics of the foreskin, which have evolved over the years into symbols of Christian history. The circumcision of Jesus also plays an important role in establishing the cultural practice of circumcision. In the end, the search for Christ's foreskin is just as futile as the search for his head after his ascension to heaven years ago.

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