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Thursday, June 6, 2013

June 13th - For the Upcoming Feast of St. Anthony of Padua - Recognitions

The recognition of 1263

The Saint was buried in Padua on Tuesday 17 June, in the church of Santa Maria Mater Domini, which had been his spiritual refuge during the period of his most intense apostolic work. At the end of the funeral celebrations, St. Anthony's body was buried in the small church of the city's Franciscan friary. It was probably not placed underground, but left suspended in an ark-tomb so that the growing number of faithful could see and touch it.
Trevisan, St Bonaventure finds St. Anthony's incorrupt tongueThe most important recognition and transposition took place on 8 April 1263. After a significant part of the construction of the new church had been completed, it was decided to transfer St. Anthony's body.

St. Bonaventure
of Bagnoregio, who was then Minister General of the Franciscans, presided over the ceremony..

While examining the holy remains, before they were placed in a new wooden chest, he realised that St. Anthony's tongue was incorrupt.

Bonaventure exclaimed:

"O blessed tongue, which always blessed the Lord and made others bless him, now you show all the great merits you have acquired with God".
On that occasion, the tomb with St. Anthony's mortal remains was probably set in the centre of the transept, under the present conical cupola (the Angel cupola), in front of the presbytery.
The transposition of 1310

B.Montagna, The Recognition of 1350, detail, 1512Another transposition certainly took place on 14 June 1310 when the new chapel dedicated to St. Anthony at the left-hand end of the transept had been completed; the sacred remains were solemnly transferred.

On 14 February 1350, Cardinal Guido de Boulogne came to Padua to fulfil a vow (he had been cured of the black plague) and to give a precious reliquary in which St. Anthony's chin (or to be more precise his jawbone) was placed. A final, temporary transposition occurred at the beginning of the 16th century when St. Anthony's Gothic chapel was demolished to make room for the new Renaissance chapel, which, despite being incomplete, was inaugurated in 1532.

The recognition of 1981

Photo of first moments of recognition of St. Anthony's body on 6 January 1981- a tomb open to hopeAn important investigation of St. Anthony's mortal remains was conducted on 6 January 1981, on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of the Saint's death. Religious and scientific commissions, both nominated by the Holy See, opened the tomb and examined the contents.
Once the green marble tombstone had been removed, a large wooden chest was found wrapped in cloth.

This chest contained another smaller wooden chest, inside which various items, wrapped in precious cloth and labelled, were found in three compartments.They included the skeleton, apart from the chin, the left forearm and other minor bones, which for centuries had been preserved in special reliquaries.
The other contents included St. Anthony's woollen habit; a stone with the date of his death and another one with the date of the recognition and transposition of 1263 and the "massa corporis", his ashes.

The exhibition in 1981

St. Anthony's remains were exhibited from 31 January to Sunday 1 March 1981 (for a total of 29 days) for the veneration of the faithful, who arrived in the thousands, over 650,000. The skeleton was then recomposed and placed in a crystal casket.

glass casket containing St. Anthony's bodyThis was then returned to the centuries-old altar-tomb in the chapel dedicated to St. Anthony. Some of the discoveries, the Saint's habit in particular, are now on display in the Treasury Chapel.


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