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Coffee Jars Stuffed with Ancient Bones and Holy Relics Unearthed at Catholic Church in New Zealand

Representative Image. (AP Photo/Vaggelis Kousioras)

Representative Image. (AP Photo/Vaggelis Kousioras)

Demolition workers working at the site of Christchurch's destroyed Catholic cathedral discovered two Greggs coffee jars full of holy relics in New Zealand.

Demolition workers working at the site of Christchurch’s destroyed Catholic cathedral discovered two Greggs coffee jars full of holy relics in New Zealand. These rediscovered holy relics include bones purportedly from saints and apostles of Jesus, which were placed in Coffee jars, put in a metal container and were buried beneath an inch of concrete in the Cathedral in April 1975.

Holy relics like these were a very important part of the Roman Catholic Culture. In the first-century church, authorities had mandated that the altar of every church should have a relic.This tradition continued till the late 1960s before it was finally discarded by church leaders. These latest unearthed relics were on display at the Christchurch cathedral until the 1970s before relics became dated.

After this, these relics were buried beneath the chapelwhere it remained undisturbed for over 40 years and survived two enormous earthquakes before finally being unearthed by demolition workers last week.

Christchurch’s Catholic Cathedral was badly damaged during the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Workers have been working to deconstruct the remaining building but, in the process, discovered a number of treasures that were believed to be lost. Some of the artefacts rediscovered included altar stones, out of circulation coins and a decapitated nativity scene.

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Speaking to Stuff.co.nz, Catholic Diocese of Christchurch archivist Triona Doocey stated that the exact location of the relics was unknown, and she had expected them to be unearthed during the earthquake-damaged building. However, she did not expect to find these relics stuffed inside coffee jars.

One large coffee jar was full of various bone fragmentsincluding vertebrae, and another smaller jar was full of small metal containers for holy relics, known as reliquaries.Another bottle contained a piece of paper which hasn’t been examined as yet and a fourthbottle had a statement from 1975 that described the objects that were found.

Doocey is now unpacking all the items that were found and trying to identify them using a book of certificates for the relics which were compiled by Bishop Grimes.

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first published:April 17, 2021, 11:39 IST