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This is the High Altar of the Lateran Basilica (the Pope's Cathedral). The larger-than-life bust reliquaries which contain what is left of the Apostles' heads can be seen in the chamber above the Altar, but because of the height they can only be viewed from a great distance in the Nave.

Shown is the altar in the south transept of St. Peter's Basilica where the relics of Sts. Simon & Jude, Apostles, are preserved. The grille in the altar affords a view of the covering of the tomb but the relics are not visible.

The relic chapel at St. Paolo Fuori le Mura, Rome. This chapel is in the sacristy off the cloister & survived the disastrous fire which destroyed the main Basilica, along with most of its relics, in 1823. Here are kept the chains and staff of St. Paul (obscured by the center bar of the grille), a bone of St. Benedict, & many other relics. A part of the arm bone of St. Anne, formerly kept here, was sent to Beaupré in Canada by Leo XIII.

The altar of St. Francis Xavier in the Church of the Gesu in Rome. Photo on the right shows a close-up of the saint's right arm kept above this altar.

Pictures & text courtesy of Matthew Duckett.

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last edited March 20, 1998