5* review for Relics of the Saints: January-February

This is an impressive book, the first volume of a series covering first and second class relics of major saints venerated throughout the liturgical year. The ecumenical treatment of relics from the saints of both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions (like St Thomas Aquinas and St Seraphim of Sarov) and indeed the geographical and chronological range covered is admirable. More recent saints, including ones from the New World such as St André Bessette are included with older favourites, including Biblical saints such as the Three Kings and St John the Baptist. The illustrations of the relics, accompanied by helpful short explanatory texts, are beautiful.

 

It might have been a good idea to include a foreword, explaining the significance and validity within the Christian tradition of relics. Veneration of relics is often attacked as superstitious and even grotesque; it might help to explain why such a view is mistaken. It is also a bit debatable whether St Gregory of Nazianzus should be described as “introducing Hellenism into the Early Church,” (p 23) he certainly used Hellenistic concepts to help articulate his theology but he certainly wasn’t the first to introduce ideas from what might loosely be called “Hellenism” (St Justin Martyr for instance or indeed St Paul), but this is not meant to be an academic textbook and one should not be pedantic. Overall, this is a marvellous book that shall aid Christian devotion.

(Source: Goodreads)

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5* review for Relics of the Saints: January-February