Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Vodnjan Mummies: Day five

WE take another side trip to see the relics of St. Blaise, Vodnjan's parish church.

 ST Blaise is a veritable museum of body parts!

 Besides the main 6 saints in glass cases, St Blaise keeps 370 relics belonging to 250 different saints.

Also there is said to be one of the thorns from Jesus' crown, a fragment of the Holy Virgin's veil, a  particle of Jesus' Cross and even a un-decomposed tongue of St Mary of Egypt!!

 But those don't interest me,  the reason we are here is to see the special attraction of the desiccated remains of the 6 saints whose bodies or body parts have mysteriously not decayed:  These are purported to be St. Sebastian, St. Barbara, St. Mary of Egypt, St. Leon Bembo, St. Giovanni Olini and St. Nicolosa Bursa.

 The attraction is that these bodies have been there for centuries, without being embalmed or hermetically sealed .   This is supposed to be the true mystery that has baffled scientists.  

According to legend the bodies of saints are considered to have healing powers as well so St Blaise is a pilgrimage site for believers.

Surprisingly for September, there are not any pilgrims.  We are alone in viewing the relics and this charming town is also in siesta with few residents in evidence.

St Blaise Church

                                              Venetian style windows

                                                       Bell tower of ST Blaise

                                    Charming Town hall: Venetian Renaissance style

                                                              Close up of the Frieze


  When we got inside the church and paid our fee, we were led behind the altar through a velvet curtain by a gentleman who whispers in the presence of the saints.

  We are not allowed to photograph the remains (there are many photos on the web ) and are told about them only by a tape playing for us by an American speaker who is not used to reading text .  The remains are all behind glass but in the dim light one can get a good look at them.

 There are dark, wooden looking fingernails and stretches of leathery skin.  I have seen this in mummies which have been found in circumstances where there could not be oxidation, such as a peat bog for example.

 But I remain fascinated with why scientists say that these bodies have not deteriorated at the rate of most bodies of their age.  They looked pretty desiccated to me!!

  However, I am prepared to believe that something strange is going on with the energies surrounding these people that  keep their remains them from turning to dust.

  It may sound gullible , but I believe we really know so little and our fears of not knowing and our fragile egos keep us from asking the right questions.    I believe thoughts are things and powerful.  What if all the thoughts and prayers surrounding these "objects" change the rate of decay.  What if , what if....let's explore the power of thought.  I am not put off by these sorry looking saints.  I remain fascinated .  I am glad we turned off at's got me thinking..

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