Reliquary Head of Saint John the Baptist

The reliquary head of Saint John the Baptist belongs to the chapel established around 1623, in the private church of Misericórdia do Porto, by Baptista de Sá Costa, apothecary of the institution's hospitals. In his will, dated 1635, the Misericórdia is named executor of his inheritance and also Chapel administrator.

All testamentary dispositions and goods donated to the chapel were indicated.

It should be stressed the part of the text that refers "I leave my chapel well decorated (?) I want the donated lamp burning day and night (?) because the altarpiece and bench it's a Sanctuary of Relics with the Holy Cross and a shroud of Christ our Lourd, between others and particularly of Saint John the Baptist there is head of the Saint, which has itself relics (?). In this Sacrarium is kept the Blessed Sacrament on Maundy's Thursday (?).

The study of the piece allowed us to note the presence of two areas with relics, the most visible located on the forehead, with no inscription but which, presumably, is the relic of Saint John the Baptist. The second area, barely perceivable due to the beard of Saint John the beard of Saint John, in is neck, having the following inscription LIGNV[M] CRUCIS. S. [ACTUM]. SUDARII. XPI". (Holy Cross and Holy Shroud of Christ)

It is a reliquary head of Saint Jonh the Baptist with high symbolic value and of great rarity because it possesses, not only a relic of the Percursor of Jesus Christ, as well as fragments of the Holy Cross and His Holy Shroud.

The cult relics is historically known by its fascination, religious fervor and prestige. This resulted in a massive multiplication by all Christendom, and whoever owns these treasures considers them to be true.

Legenda da imagem: Reliquary Head of Saint John the Baptist

Europe (?) Seventhennth century

Painted wood, Quartz (?), metal, bone fragments and fabric