The Papal Artifacts’ Collection is primarily dedicated to artifacts connected to the papacy. Individual popes, their biographies and multiple items belonging to them, including first and second class relics, make up the majority of this Collection. But that isn’t all it is.
Father Kunst has a deep devotion to the saints as can be readily seen in viewing the Saints & Blesseds section of this site. We invite you to visit Papal History/Saints & Blesseds to view the many canonized and beatified men and women who make up this section of the Collection.
St. Albert the Great is one of them.
About the Rare First-Class Relic of Saint Albert’s Skull:
This first class relic and reliquary was made to dip into glasses of water, in the hopes for a miracle when people drank the water.
The item is an antique, 18th century, very rare and unusual silver color metal reliquary. It is a tube with an inscription in Portuguese, Reliquia de St. Alberto.Cranio, meaning Relic of St. Albert’s Skull” Inside of it is a pierced container with a handle. Through the holes it is possible to see the relic inside
Size: circa 6.89 x 0.87 inches
Father Kunst purchased this because it is so unique and unusual a relic:
It was made to dip into glasses of water, in the hopes for a miracle when people drank the water. It used to be a common practice, but I had not seen one of these made available before, so I purchased it as a great educational tool. —Father Richard Kunst
ST. ALBERT the GREAT (Died 1280 A.D.) Feast: November 15
He was known as the “teacher of everything there is to know,” was a scientist long before the age of science, was considered a wizard and magician in his own lifetime, and became the teacher and mentor of that other remarkable mind of his time, St. Thomas Aquinas.
St. Albert the Great was born in Lauingen on the Danube, near Ulm, Germany; his father was a military lord in the army of Emperor Frederick II. As a young man Albert studied at the University of Padua and there fell under the spell of Blessed Jordan of Saxony, the Dominican who made the rounds of the universities of Europe drawing the best young men of the universities into the Dominicans.
After several teaching assignments in his order, he came in 1241 to the University of Paris, where he lectured in theology. While teaching in Paris, he was assigned by his order in 1248 to set up a house of studies for the order in Cologne. In Paris, he had gathered around him a small band of budding theologians, the chief of whom was Thomas Aquinas, who accompanied him to Cologne and became his greatest pupil.
In 1260, he was appointed bishop of Regensberg; when he resigned after three years, he was called to be an adviser to the pope and was sent on several diplomatic missions. In his latter years, he resided in Cologne, took part in the Council of Lyons in 1274, and in his old age traveled to Paris to defend the teaching of his student Thomas Aquinas.
It was in Cologne that his reputation as a scientist grew. He carried on experiments in chemistry and physics in his makeshift laboratory and built up a collection of plants, insects, and chemical compounds that gave substance to his reputation. When Cologne decided to build a new cathedral, he was consulted about the design. He was friend and adviser to popes, bishops, kings, and statesmen and made his own unique contribution to the learning of his age.
He died a very old man in Cologne on November 15,1280, and is buried in St. Andrea’s Church in that city. He was canonized and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1931 by Pope Pius XI. His writings are remarkable for their exact scientific knowledge, and for that reason he has been made the patron saint of scientists.
St. Albert the Great was convinced that all creation spoke of God and that the tiniest piece of scientific knowledge told us something about Him. Besides the Bible, God has given us the book of creation revealing something of His wisdom and power. In creation, Albert saw the hand of God.
An Announcement from the Curator of Papal Artifacts
I’d like to invite you to peruse the Relics pages of Papal Artifacts, which can readily be found on the Home Page bar between Papal Artifacts & Papal History.
The first, second and third class relics featured here differ from the Saints & Blesseds page, because the relics themselves are the featured items. Click on the item, and the whole story of the saint and relic will appear.
Note: The popes featured on the Relics page are showing just one of their relics. Popes, like Blessed Pius IX, St. Pius X, St. John XXIII, Venerable John Paul I and St. John Paul II have many more relics connected to them. They can always be accessed by going to Papal Artifacts and clicking on a particular pope where all of them will appear.
We hope you enjoy this latest feature of this website. May knowing more about the traditions of our faith and the saints who inhabit it bring you closer to God and our Church. —-Father Richard Kunst
All cultures treat their dead with respect. For Christians, who believe that the body is the temple of the Holy Sprit, it only follow that great respect should be given to those who most clearly lived out the Gospels, those who most clearly lived in imitation of Christ.
Catholicism has rightly been referred to as the religion of “smells and bells,” which to my way of thinking is completely appropriate. God made us physical, tangible beings, so it is the physical, tangible world that very often speaks to us in a most eloquent way. Our religion is full of physical symbols, not the least important being that of relics.
There are three types of relics, three traditional classes. A first-class relic is the body of a saint or a part of a saint’s body. It could be a piece of bone, flesh or even a lock of hair. A second-class relic is an item that the saint wore or used in his or her lifetime. A third-class relic is a piece of cloth that was touched to the body of a saint. Very often you will see a second- or third-class relic in a holy card or in a medal pendant, while first-class relics are rightly more difficult to obtain and will need documentation to be considered authentic or used for public veneration. —Father Richard Kunst