We Catholics know how to do death and the afterlife, right?
Keep reading for some of Rome’s creepiest relics, crypts, incorruptible bodies, messages from the dead, and something to look forward to over the next few days…
First off, due to a recent cancellation, I have a few spaces open on my Advent pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi. Nonstop flights from New York on United and Alitalia are currently right around $300 roundtrip. This is going to be an amazing pilgrimage with tons of extras included.
Relics and Incorruptibles
I wrote this article years ago and it’s been reprinted and reposted many times. I’ve added some new pictures and stories… levitations, bodies that are still flexible and moist hundreds of years after death, eyes opening, heads popping off bodies, etc.
The once a year crypt visit on Tiber Island
These people used to bury the unwanted dead. Now their bones are on display in a crypt that is only open a few hours each year. After a Mass and a procession along the Tiber, the faithful visit the crypt to pray for the dead. Open only once a year, the crypt is musty, cramped, and of course filled with hundreds of skulls.
The Devil and the Vial of Darkness
One of the most terrifying relics in Rome is the lapis diaboli, or Devil’s Stone, found in the Basilica of Santa Sabina. The tradition is that Satan tried to distract Saint Dominic while he was praying in this church. He produced a solid black stone and threw it at the saint. Of course Dominic didn’t flinch. Today the stone is in the back of the church with Satan’s claw marks still present.
Some people have bucket lists of places they want to visit, I guess I have a bucket list of relics, and this one is at the top! It’s a collection of relics that I recently learned about, the relics of the seven plagues. These are kept in the church of San Marco Evangelista right in the heart of Rome. Why these exist, I have no idea, but they are rarely on display, possibly only by invitation once a year. The one I am most excited and terrified to see is the vial of darkness. From what I hear, it’s literally just that, a vial of the darkest dark matter that basically sucks all the light and joy from anything around it. I’m uncomfortable just thinking about it and I can’t wait to see it!
There’s a little known museum in Rome dedicated to the souls in purgatory. People always get a bit uneasy, yet comforted when visiting. Read about it here.
Oh, and if you like bells, stay tuned to my socials tomorrow for the All Souls’ Day Bells at Saint Peter’s Basilica and on November 4th, my favorite, the bells in remembrance of the Cardinals and Bishops who passed away this year…
Thanks for following along!