Saturday, May 20, 2006

saints' bones

The folk tales associated with the christian faith is not new but when we hear about the conspiracy theories in the Da Vinci code, we think this is something new. All through the history of the christian church all kinds of tales and fables have been circulated. The remains of saints and apostles are supposed to be sacred and to be venerated and can perform miracles. Therefore the places that housed these bones and remains are places of pilgrimage; Rome is a holy site because the apostles Paul and Peter died there. Venice has St Mark's bones. In ancient times churches even steal bones from each other. There are other tales being weaved about the travels of some of the figures in the bible. Mary Magdalene supposedly left Jerusalem and saied in a boat and somehow landed in the coast in the south of France. She became the patron saint of the gypsies. In a monastery in the Dordogne area of France the remains of a little girl is encased in gold and encrusted with jewels. Her name is St Foy and the place is Conques. Her bones are supposed to be able to perform miracles. All kinds of books have been written about her. This place has been a place of pilgrimages. I have made a pilgrimage there, not because I believed in the miracle properties of bones and remains, but because Conques is a beautiful place. It is remote and still very unspoiled though there are pretty and expensive lodgings next to the church. It's not easy to get to Conques. I took a train to Rodez, a town nearby and hired a car and driver to take me there. It cost me 200 euros. It cost me another 5 euros just to go into the room to see this golden figure. We are right now up in arms over the Da Vinci code. There are numerous other tales and fables associated with the christian faith over the centuries. It will continue till we meet the Lord face to face. Then only will know the completely.

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