What are relics?
Relics are any body part (sometimes the entire body), blood, possession, piece of clothing, or pieces of cloth touched to the remains of a saint and popes are those cool dudes who take their role as servant of the whole Church from St. Peter and Christ’s edict to him. There’s two “classes” of relics, specifying their level of closeness to the actual saint. EWTN explains:
These relics are divided into two classes. First class or real relics include the physical body parts, clothing and instruments connected with a martyr’s imprisonment, torture and execution. Second class or representative relics are those which the faithful have touched to the physical body parts or grave of the saint.
Some will even say there is a third class of relics, which are articles that have touched a second class relic.
There are approximately 100 tombs of past popes still in existence (less than half of the 264 popes that the Church has had) and most of those still hold some sort of remains of the popes, but I didn’t include them in this list because that would be long and repetitive. So here are 11 of the coolest relics of popes we still have around.
Vial of Pope St. John Paul II’s Blood
The blood remains in a liquid state and is kept at the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C. More can be found out about the shrine here.
Incorrupt Body of Pope St. John XXIII
He is entombed in St. Peter’s Cathedral
The Bones of Pope St. Celestine V
The last pope before Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to abdicate willingly, his remains are entombed in the Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio in L’Aquila, Italy.
The Arm of Pope St. Boniface IV
It’s kept at the Basilica of St. Mary is Cosmedin in Rome
Heart of Pope St. Pius II
It is enshrined at the Ancona Cathedral in Italy.
Incorrupt Body of Pope Bl. Innocent XI
He is interred at St. Peter’s Basilica
Incorrupt Body of Pope Bl. Pius IX
He is interred at the Papal Basilica of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls in Rome
Incorrupt Body of Pope St. Pius V
His remains are kept at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome
Incorrupt Body of Pope St. Pius X
He is kept in St. Peter’s Basilica
Blood-Stained Vests of Pope Bl. Paul VI
From the assassination attempt on him in the Philippines in 1970