June 9, 2015 9:14 am
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Roman Catacombs Skeletons Found

The 1578 discovery of labyrinth-like tombs in a network beneath the city of Rome was a fascinating and somewhat baffling one. These tombs housed skeletons of early Christian martyrs who were believed to be saints on account of their bravery and unwavering loyalty to the Christian faith.
Roman Catacombs skeletons

These skeletons were given the name “The Catacomb Saints” by those who first discovered them and were eventually distributed across Europe (predominantly Germany) to replace holy relics that were destroyed or stolen during the Protestant Reformation.

When the skeletons arrived at their destination, they were decorated with precious jewels, expensive cloth, crowns, armor, and even wigs. They were displayed in the churches so as to remind visitors of the riches that await good, loyal Christians once they die.

This may sound dramatized or fictitious but it’s the factual truth.

With a profound fascination for the discovery and subsequent story behind the Saints, art historian and self-proclaimed relic-hunter Paul Koudounaris, traveled the whole of Europe in an attempt to find the status of each Saint. Shockingly, many of them had yet to even be displayed–in fact they were still waiting to be adorned with decoration and revealed to the public.

His new book, Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures & Spectacular Saints From the Catacombs explores this intriguing story, its origins, and history of the Catacomb Saints. He asks questions like: who are they? How¬†exactly did they die? Who ordered them to be placed in the catacombs? And why have they laid forgotten in Europe’s religious houses for so long?

This book now exists as one of the most elaborate and compelling documents regarding forgotten relics. There’s not a person who wouldn’t be intrigued and it really should be on your reading list. To give a taste of what it’s all about, below is a collection of some pictures you’ll find in the book and trust me this doesn’t even scratch the surface.

There’s so much beauty to them even though there’s a morbid touch.

Roman Catacombs skeletons

I wonder how much one of these guys are worth?The colors, the textures, the everything.

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Roman Catacombs skeletons

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