A relic discovered last year by a U.K. waste management company found a home Tuesday in London's Westminster Cathedral.
“Choosing an appropriate resting place was very important to us,” said Enviro Waste Owner James Rubin in a statement on the company's website. “Therefore, we think Westminster Cathedral is the best and safest place for the bone due to its importance to the church and to ensure that it won’t get lost again!”
Rubin presented the relic to Archbishop George Stack of Cardiff at the cathedral's Lady Chapel June 19. Archbishop Stack is chair of the English and Welsh bishops' patrimony committee.
The relic will be displayed in the Treasures of Westminster Cathedral Exhibition.
The bone fragment is encased in a wax-sealed case and includes an inscription that it is “from the bones of St. Clement, Pope and Martyr.”
St. Clement was a first-century Christian thought to have been a disciple of Sts. Peter and Paul.
It is believed that St. Clement converted from Judaism to Catholicism, and may have shared in some of the missionary journeys of St. Peter or St. Paul, and assisted them in running the Church at the local level.
Around the year 90, he was raised to the position of Pope, following Peter, Linus, and Cletus. His writings reveal much about the early Church, but little about his own life.
According to one account, he died in exile during the reign of the Emperor Trajan, who purportedly banished Clement to Crimea and had him killed in retaliation for evangelizing the local people, around the year 100. He is among the saints mentioned in the Roman Canon.
In 868, the Greek missionary St. Cyril claimed to have recovered St. Clement's bones.
Enviro Waste conducted public research before deciding what to do with the relic. They posted about it on their website blog in April, requesting input from viewers.
“650+ suggestions and over 9,000 visits to the page” later, the updated post said, they decided that the Westminster Cathedral in London should have it.
The relic's owner has said it was stolen from his car when it was broken into, and agreed to loan it permanently to Westminster Cathedral.
Vice Chair of the patrimony committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales Sophie Andreae was the one who reached out to Enviro Waste, requesting the relic’s placement be in the cathedral.
She explained to the BBC why relics are important to Catholics.
“Catholics feel that they have not just a link with a very holy person from the past, but also a link with the divine,” Andreae said.
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