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  • Vatican Relics: The Catholic Church's Version of Celebrities

    Pope Francis publicly displayed relics believed to be those of Peter the Apostle, marking the end of the Vatican's Year of Faith last month. While there is no definitive DNA evidence tying the fragments to Peter, they were found next to an ancient monument honoring the apostle, and in 1968, Pope Paul VI said they were "identified in a way that we can consider convincing."
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  • Vatican Relics: The Catholic Church's Version of Celebrities

    A cloth believed to have held the crucified Christ's body hangs 14 feet long at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy. The face of a bearded man appears on the Holy Shroud, linen kept in a bulletproof, climate-controlled case that millions travel to see. Pope Francis called the cloth an "icon" this year on Holy Saturday, during a televised display of the shroud.
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  • Vatican Relics: The Catholic Church's Version of Celebrities

    Many churches claim to hold pieces of the True Cross of Jesus, and in August archaeologists believed they'd found a piece of Jesus' cross in Turkey. Legend has it that St. Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine, helped find and distribute the True Cross centuries after the crucifixion. Today, churches, including the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, claim to have fragments of the True Cross.
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  • Vatican Relics: The Catholic Church's Version of Celebrities

    The Gospel of John recalls how soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, put it on Jesus' head and mocked him as the King of the Jews during his crucifixion. Today, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is home to what is believed to be relics of that very crown. The thorns are held together by gold threads bundled in a braided circle 21 centimeters in diameter.
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  • Vatican Relics: The Catholic Church's Version of Celebrities

    Saint Francis of Assisi (1181 or 1182-1226), the namesake of Pope Francis, was born into privilege and known for his pursuit of pleasure. Time as a prisoner of war, however, changed him. After an encounter with a poor leper, Francis began to embrace simplicity, poverty and solitude in hopes of finding God. Today, his bones are kept in the tomb below the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi.
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  • Vatican Relics: The Catholic Church's Version of Celebrities

    Juan Diego, an Aztec man who helped lead thousands to Christianity, claimed to see a vision of the Virgin Mary on Dec. 12, 1531. To prove the vision's authenticity, he showed an imprint of the Virgin Mary's image on his cloak, now kept in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Pope Francis delivered his message to the Americas this year to mark the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
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  • Vatican Relics: The Catholic Church's Version of Celebrities

    The Liberation of Saint Peter, a story found in the Acts of the Apostles 12:3-19, tells how an angel led Peter from his prison cell to freedom the night before he would face trial, leaving behind the chains that had held him captive. These chains are thought to be kept under the main altar in San Pietro in Vincoli ("Saint Peter in Chains"), a church in Rome.
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