Church in Istria holds remains of St Hubert and Turin Shroud copy

Written by
Marc Rowlands

A church in Vodnjan in Istria, Croatia, holds in its display the remains of St Hubert and a copy of the Turin Shroud. Though the remains have long been held in the church of St. Blaž, Vodnjan (main picture) they were only rediscovered in 2017. Pastor Marijan Jelenić claims that the heritage of the remains has now been proven beyond all doubt. He also claims that the copy of the Turin Shroud held there is one of the five original copies made of the cloth, which purportedly covered the body of Jesus Christ prior to his resurrection. Over the years, many copies of the Turin Shroud have been made, with over 50 copies now lying guarded in churches and shrines around the world. The copy held at St. Blaž church measures 4.15 metres by 1.43 metres, the exact same size as the original canvas.

The Turin Shroud. The original is held at the Cathedral of Turin.

Saint Hubert was born in present-day France and died in the year 727 or 728. He was first buried in the collegiate St Peter's Church in Liège, present-day Belgium, where he was the city's first bishop. But, his remains were exhumed and transported to the Benedictine Abbey of Amdain, present-day Saint-Hubert, Belgium, in the Ardennes in 825. The abbey became a focus for pilgrimages until his coffin and remains disappeared during the Reformation. Some presume that the remains may have ended up in Croatia having been carried by Crusaders on their way to or from the Holy Lands.

Saint Hubert, as depicted by the Netherlandish School circa 1600

Saint Hubert is the patron of saint of dogs, mathematicians, metal workers, smelters, the city of Liège and also archers, trappers, forest workers, hunting and huntsmen. His patronage of the latter comes from the apocryphal story of his conversion to Christianity. His wife having died while birthing Hubert's son, it is said a distraught Hubert retreated from public life to go and live in the forests of Ardennes, giving himself up entirely to hunting. While hunting a stag one day, it is claimed the animal turned and spoke to Hubert, a crucifix hanging in the air between its antlers. Other religious artefacts held in the collection of Vodjan include the clothes of Pope Innocent XII, who died in 1700. Croatia is one of the most devoutly Catholic nations in Europe. Visits to the country's many churches, shrines and areas of significance to believers are a recognised asset of the country's appeal to religious tourists. 

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