Thursday, May 3, 2018

Relic of St. Clement of Rome saved from landfill

(RISU) - Fragment linked to pope martyred almost 2,000 years ago found after rubbish collection run in central London, the Guardian informs.

A small leather case containing a fragment of bone claimed to be a relic of St Clement, a pope who was martyred almost 2,000 years ago, has been found in rubbish collected from central London.

The waste disposal firm is now appealing for suggestions from the public for a more suitable final resting place for a saint than a bin.

The box, originally sealed with red wax and tied with crimson cords, contained a scrap of bone under a glass dome, with a faded strip of paper labelling it “Oss. S Clementis” – bone of St Clement.

St Clement is a somewhat obscure figure, and details of his life are hazy and contradictory. However, he is said to have been martyred around the year 100 – just short of his own centenary – by the Roman emperor Trajan, by being tied to an anchor and thrown into the sea off the Crimea: his fate made him a patron saint of mariners.

The little box ended up in the hands of the Enviro Waste firm, which collects both commercial and domestic waste. The case was found after a run that included several different sites in central London, and so the firm cannot pinpoint where the relic came from. It was spotted when employees were sorting through the load to separate out anything that could be recycled.

The firm has now created a form on its blog, which is usually concerned with vital topics including the handling of hazardous waste and the proposal for a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles, inviting the public to suggest where the relic should go next.

James Rubin, the firm’s owner and chief executive, described the relic as “an important piece of history” which deserves an appropriate home.

“You can imagine our amazement when we realised our clearance teams had found bone belonging to a pope – it’s not something you expect to see, even in our line of work. We often come across some weird and wonderful things on clearances,” he said.

The cult of relics, and the flourishing medieval trade in fakes, was one of the abuses which led to the Reformation, but genuine relics, often believed by the faithful to be miracle working, were cherished and passed on for centuries.

The church of San Clemente in Rome is said to have been built over the foundations of the saint’s house, and an abbey at Abruzzo, in central Italy, still claims to hold most of Clement’s remains in a marble chest.

No comments:

Post a Comment