The Holy Prepuce. Yes Prepuce. I have heard of hoarding but this might be taking it a bit too far.
The Holy Prepuce
Of all the holy relics that circulated throughout medieval Europe, relics associated with Jesus Christ — anything he supposedly touched or used during his life — were the most prized. By this measure, no relic was more valuable than the Holy Foreskin since it was an actual body part of Christ. In fact, the foreskin is the only body part the Bible specifically mentions being removed from Christ during his life (eight days after his birth) and which presumably stayed behind on Earth after he ascended into Heaven.
The circumcision of Christ was a popular subject in religious art during the Late Medieval and Early Modern periods.
He does have that “I hope you’re not thinking what I think you’re thinking.” look on his face.
What to get that difficult to buy for Pope.
The Holy Foreskin first made an appearance in medieval Europe around 800 ad, when King Charlemagne presented it as a gift to Pope Leo III. Charlemagne said it had been given to him by an angel.
However, rival foreskins soon began to pop up all over Europe.
Perhaps a bit poorly worded, that.
St Catherine of Sienna
In a vision that was ever present in Catherine’s heart and mind Our Lady presented her to Jesus who gave her a splendid ring, saying to her:
“I, your Creator and Saviour, espouse you in the faith, that you will keep ever pure until you celebrate your eternal nuptials with me in Heaven” (Bl. Raimondo da Capua, S. Caterina da Siena, Legenda maior, n. 115, Siena 1998).
This ring was visible to her alone.
Which is not a bad thing because in some of the stories that ring was, you guessed it, little Jesus’ aardvark bit.
St Bridget of Sweden
“Saint Bridget of Sweden made claims that she received bits of Christ’s foreskin on her tongue from an angel and that it tasted sweet, surpassing all other sweetness.”
Now, nuns are technically married to Christ so I guess this is okay, but apparently Jesus got around.
The Austrian nun Agnes Blannbekin joined the Third Order of Saint Francis in Vienna in 1260 and for the rest of her life refused to eat meat, claiming the body of Christ was enough meat for her. She wasn’t joking!
She was obsessed with the Holy Prepuce and claimed to have felt the foreskin of Jesus in her mouth.
Her visions were transcribed by a Franciscan monk and he records:
“Crying and with compassion, she began to think about the foreskin of Christ, where it may be located [after the Resurrection].
And behold, soon she felt with the greatest sweetness on her tongue a little piece of skin alike the skin in an egg, which she swallowed.
After she had swallowed it, she again felt the little skin on her tongue with sweetness as before, and again she swallowed it.
And this happened to her about a hundred times. And when she felt it so frequently, she was tempted to touch it with her finger.
And when she wanted to do so, that little skin went down her throat on its own. And it was told to her that the foreskin was resurrected with the Lord on the day of resurrection.
And so great was the sweetness of tasting that little skin that she felt in all [her] limbs and parts of the limbs a sweet transformation.”
Artwork by Milo Manara
So where is the Holy Jerky now?
Did the Vatican steal Jesus’ foreskin so people would shut up about the savior’s penis?
By David Farley
In 1983, as the residents of Calcata, a small town 30 miles north of Rome, prepared for their annual procession honoring a holy relic, a shocking announcement from the parish priest put a damper on festivities. “This year, the holy relic will not be exposed to the devotion of the faithful. It has vanished. Sacrilegious thieves have taken it from my home.” Not since the Middle Ages, when lopped-off body parts of divine do-gooders were bought, sold, and traded, has relic theft been big news. But the mysterious disappearance of Calcata’s beloved curio is different.
This wasn’t just the residuum of any holy human—nor was it just any body part. It was the foreskin of Jesus Christ, the snipped-off tip of the savior’s penis, the only piece of his body he supposedly left on earth.
Just what the holy foreskin was doing in the priest’s house—in a shoebox at the back of his wardrobe, no less—and why and how it disappeared has been debated ever since the relic vanished. Some suspect the village priest sold it for a heavenly sum; others say it was stolen by thieves and ended up on the relics black market; some even suggest Satanists or neo-Nazis are responsible. But the most likely culprit is an unlikely one: the Vatican.
“In a shoebox at the back of his wardrobe”? Hope the cat didn’t get it.
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