LATE 17th CENTURY SILVER RELIQUARY WITH A RARE RELIC OF THE HOLY SHROUD OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.
A unique piece from the private collection of a Roman Monsignor: A wonderful filigree silver reliquary, a masterpiece of the Roman silversmiths of this golden age of Baroque art, about 3 inches (7.5 cm) tall, with fine detailing and silver flowers, sealed with the red wax seal of Cardinal Frederico Caccia (1635 – 1699).
Inside the theca, the precious relic is surrounded by filigree gold paperoles and silver thread decoration. In the center is the most precious relic, one of the rarest of which we know, a fragment of the Holy Shroud of Our Lord Jesus Christ, venerated in Turin, and inscribed S.[anta] Sindone D.N.J.C. [the Holy Shroud of Our Lord Jesus Christ].
The tiny part of the Shroud was most likely detached in 1694 when repairs were made to it by Sebastian Valfrè, and presented between 1695 and 1699 by Duke Victor Amadeus II (1666 – 1732) whose family, the Savoy, was the owner of the Shroud at the time. The Savoy have erected a magnifiscient Chapel of the Holy Shroud, and the reliquaries containing small pieces of the Shorud itself were most likely bestowed to commemorate the Chapel’s competion in 1694 after 27 years in construction.
It is well known, that Savoys were trying to leverage the phenomenal success of the veneration of the Shroud to achieve dominance in Piedmont, to transform Turin into the new absolutist capital, and to gain international recognition as a ruling house of royal rank. Therefore, it is likely, that a number of reliquaries containing small pieces of the Shroud were gifted by the Duke Victor Amadeus II to achieve the dynastic aspirations of the Savoy.
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