Encyclopedia of Medieval Pilgrimage

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Contact Relics
(1,232 words)

The rather vague term "contact relic" can be used to describe two entirely different classes of relic (see also Belongings of Saints). Secondary relics are items that came into contact with a saint during his or her lifetime, such as the tunic of Francis of Assisi. Tertiary relics are items that have come into contact with relics and thereby absorbed some of their power, becoming another form of contact relic, such as the strips of cloth (brandea) that were touched to the tombs of saints. These tertiary contact relics allow for the power of the holy to spread beyond the…

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Scott Montgomery, “Contact Relics”, in: Encyclopedia of Medieval Pilgrimage. Consulted online on 20 November 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2213-2139_emp_SIM_00235>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004181298, 20091023

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