Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Magical Foreskin of Jesus

The work above is a depiction of the circumcision of Jesus, and it appears in a monastery in Bulgaria. At this time of year when we think about Jesus the baby, we should remember that one thing they did to him, and how it produced what might be the weirdest relic in all of medieval Christendom.

Here is the passage from An Underground Education by Richard Zacks:

If relics depended on the saintliness of the deceased, then the ultimate faith-healing relic would be the actual body of Christ. There was a problem, though. The New Testament clearly stated that after his resurrection, Jesus traveled with the disciples to Bethany and "while he blessed them, he was parted from them and carried up to Heaven."
If Jesus was transported to heaven, then no part of his body remained on earth. That is, until some astute scholar realized that Jesus - as a faithful Jew - had been circumcised. Where was the foreskin? Who had the foreskin of the Savior?
Thus began a frantic search, a kind of twisted Holy Grail saga, that yielded not one, but a dozen competing ringlets of holy flesh.

Zacks adds that French monks in the abbey of Charroux (whose name derives from the phrase "Red Flesh," which is almost definitely going to be the title of the next Rob Zombie film) claimed that Charlemagne gave them the relic. But there were other claimants scattered across Italy, France and other parts of Europe. Pope Innocent III refused to issue a ruling on which was the real "holy prepuce," saying that "only God could know the truth about something so delicate."

I know what you're wondering. How can this possibly get any more disturbing?

According to Christ and Culture by Graham Ward, St. Catherine of Sienna claimed to be betrothed to Christ, and was said to have worn the thing as an engagement ring.

He went to Jared? No. No, he didn't.

The Toronto Star has an article here about a writer's search for this relic in Italy. And Slate has a piece (ha) about how the Vatican may have swiped it to avoid embarrassment. But if you really must have the absolute weirdest piece of insanity that the internet can provide on this matter, know this:

Some say it ascended to heaven and became the rings of Saturn.

Look up in the sky, Billy! That's Jesus. Well, part of him anyway.

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