Monday, September 9, 2013

Skeletal Remains of Catholic Saints Still Dripping in Gems and Jewelery Discovered

St Deodatus, St Valerius, St Valentinus, St Albertus, St Felix, Paul Koudounaris, Getreu

A relic hunter dubbed 'Indiana Bones' has lifted the lid on a macabre collection of 400-year-old jewel-encrusted skeletons unearthed in churches across Europe.

Art historian Paul Koudounaris hunted down and photographed dozens of gruesome skeletons in some of the world's most secretive religious establishments.


St Deodatus, St Valerius, St Valentinus, St Albertus, St Felix, Paul Koudounaris, Getreu

Incredibly, some of the skeletons, said to be the remains of early Christian martyrs, were even found hidden away in lock-ups and containers.

They are now the subject of a new book, which sheds light on the forgotten ornamented relics for the first time.


 St Deodatus, St Valerius, St Valentinus, St Albertus, St Felix, Paul Koudounaris, Getreu

St Deodatus, St Valerius, St Valentinus, St Albertus, St Felix, Paul Koudounaris, Getreu

Thousands of skeletons were dug up from Roman catacombs in the 16th century and installed in towns around Germany, Austria and Switzerland on the orders of the Vatican.

They were sent to Catholic churches and religious houses to replace the relics destroyed in the wake of the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s.


St Deodatus, St Valerius, St Valentinus, St Albertus, St Felix, Paul Koudounaris, Getreu

Mistaken for the remains of early Christian martyrs, the morbid relics, known as the Catacomb Saints, became shrines reminding of the spiritual treasures of the afterlife.

They were also symbols of the Catholic Church's newly found strength in previously Protestant areas.

 St Deodatus, St Valerius, St Valentinus, St Albertus, St Felix, Paul Koudounaris, Getreu

Each one was painstakingly decorated in thousands of pounds worth of gold, silver and gems by devoted followers before being displayed in church niches.

Some took up to five years to decorate.


St Deodatus, St Valerius, St Valentinus, St Albertus, St Felix, Paul Koudounaris, Getreu

Read more + many more photos on Daily Mail.

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