Foreskin of Christ?

I am hoping someone out there can answer this for me… I have searched the internet and not found anything definitive… Does any one know about a chapel somewhere that claims to have the foreskin of Christ buried underneath it? A mormon neighbor of mine was at my house the other day (our kids play together) and went off on a tangent about how we can’t prove any of “that stuff”, and gave the above example. I was stunned, and didn’t have much to say, because I’ve never heard of this before (and I’ve heard alot of stuff leveled at the Church before!). It’s been bugging me that I can’t seem to find anything about this except on anti-Catholic websites.

Thanks much!

According to Wikipedia, there are several ‘claimants’:, although this particular one does seem to lack definitive proof, there are many relics which do have proof. So your mormon neighbor just chooses not to believe.

I’ve heard the story. But that is all it is. A preposterous STORY. I can’t see how anyone with more than 3 living brain cells could possibly believe that such a thing was actually true.

Oy vey…the next thing you know we’ll see it on e-Bay. Where do folks come up with this?

[quote=buddinapologist]It’s been bugging me that I can’t seem to find anything about this except on anti-Catholic websites.


Really? I wonder why that is… :rolleyes:

The question is would it decay or would it be fleshy because it came from Christ’s body?

[quote=StCsDavid]Oy vey…the next thing you know we’ll see it on e-Bay.

How do you know it hasn’t already been there? After all, someone tried to sell a cheeze sandwich with Mary in it on EBay. :rolleyes: And I heard someone actually bought it. :bigyikes:

During the middle ages when the trade in relics became a craze bordering on the ridiculous, there were several “foreskins” making the rounds. Whether any were ever deemed legitimate I do not know.

I do not have any first hand knowledge, but my husband was speaking to a Jewish friend and got the impression that the Jewish circumcision was more like a cutting of the foreskin than a complete removal as in culturally popular in some countries for medical/health/cosmetic reasons.

Does anyone know if this is so?


[quote=buddinapologist]It’s been bugging me that I can’t seem to find anything about this except on anti-Catholic websites.


Hmm…that should tell you alot. :slight_smile:

Some interesting claims:

At the height of the Middle Ages there were no less than fifteen foreskins of Jesus being venerated in various European churches. The best known of them all had been given to Charlemagne as an engagement present by the Empress Irene, but this one at Chartres was a good second best. It was originally at Coulombs, and was extremely popular as it was believed to save women from pain at childbirth. Henry V of England stole it in 1422 to help his French wife, and the monks had great difficulty in getting it back. It had long since vanished again, leaving us only with its precious casket.

From “A selection of individual legends from the Legenda aurea: an angel presents relics of Jesus to Charlemagne, including the prepuce from circumcision, the umbilical cord and his children’s sandals.” (EOS.)

“Charroux in the diocese of Poitiers insists that Charlemagne gave its abbey a holy prepuce…and Jesus’ sandals. Another foreskin, also claimed to be Jesus’, was on show in the parish of Calcata, a medieval village in the province of Viterbo north of Rome… Another was displayed in the abbey of Coulombs in the diocese of Chartres. A fourth rested at Puy, a fifth at Metz, a sixth at Anvers, a seventh at Hildesheim and an eighth holy foreskin in the church of Notre-Dame-en-Vaux, Châlons-sur-Marne…”

“Santiago de Compostela obtained one. Another turned up in the abbey of Saint-Corneille at Compiègne. Another in St John Lateran.”(RB pp.138/9.)

(It was) “…removed from his body…when he was circumcised in the Temple and is preserved in a spherical crystal reliquary on public display in a church in a small village 45 miles north of Rome. It might be mentioned that there is a rival foreskin to be found in Italy’s Abruzzi region, but this one is not universally accepted, not even by the Vatican.” (VP p.100.)

Hair and fingernails
"Clermont-Ferrand was soon claiming not only hair cut from Christ’s head by his mother but also five fingernails from his left hand, two from his right, pluckings from his beard and an eleventh part of the bloody cloth that had covered his eyes after his death. And a letter from St Alban’s, Namur, dated 1249, reveals that spot too claiming to possess a relic of Jesus’ sacred hair." (RB p.134.)

***Lance ***
“Soon (the lance) had turned up in the chapel of the Virgin at Pharos, Constantinople, brought there in haste, it was said, to escape the plunder of Jerusalem by King Chosroes of Persia in 614.” (RB p.129.)

In 1098 a clerk in Antioch declared to Raymond of Toulouse that he had a vision from St Andrew, who had revealed to him the location of the head of the spear known as the Holy Lance. Excavations revealed no such object - until the clerk jumped into the hole “and found, or professed to find, the head of a lance.” (CD1.) Taken to Constantinople, it was presented to Innocent VIII by the Sultan Bajazet II (1492) - together with 40000 ducats a year for continuing to hold the Sultan’s brother (his enemy) prisoner in Rome. It is now in the Vatican basilica, being one of the Three Great Relics, together with the Cloth of Veronica and a piece of the True Cross.

This lance, “made of dark iron, two fingers wide, with a double blade and (some said) a dark stain of the Saviour’s blood still disfigures the point. This relic…has remained (in Rome) ever since.” (RB, p.130.)

“The pope’s legate (at Antioch), Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy, refused to accept that this was truly the holy lance of Jerusalem. For one thing, Adhemar…had already seen the other holy lance at Pharos.” Raymond of Toulous gave this second lance to Emperor Alexis of Constantinople. (RB p.129/30.)

“Several relics throughout the world purporting to be parts of the spear with which our Lord’s side was pierced on the cross, the most famous being at St Peter’s in Rome. The authenticity of none of them is established.” (CD2.)

In the Sainte Chapelle in Paris, was the Lance. Refer: The Crown of Thorns above. (SGTF p.97) This lance was destroyed in the Revolution.

A third holy lance turned up - the lance of St Maurice at Nuremberg. (RB p.130.)

And a fourth was kept at the Armenian church at Etchmiadzin, to whom (according to the earliest document to mention it - a 13th century chronicle) Jesus’ disciple Thaddeus had donated it. (RB p.130.)


******Aachen cathedral relics include the loincloth he wore on the Cross. Refer to Jesus/Cords above. (RB p.56.)

Nails from the Cross
"The Holy Nails with which our Lord was crucified are said to have been found with the True Cross by St Helen. There are numerous alleged relics of them, principally in the Iron Crown of Lombardy at Monza, and in Santa Croce in Rome, but the authenticity of none of them is established." (CD2.)

“Being converted, (Constantine) had the nails that crucified Christ built into his helmet and his horse’s bit.”
(VOC p.216.)

“No fewer than 29 places in Europe alone claim to possess a holy nail: Aachen, Ancona, Arras, Bamberg, the convent of Andechsen in Bavaria, Carpentras, Cantana, Colle in Tuscany, Cologne, Compiégne, Cracow, the Escurial, Florence, Livorno, Milan, Monza, the monastery of St Patrick in Naples, Paris, both Santa Croce and Santa Maria in Campitelli in Rome, Siena, Spoleto, Torcello, Torno on Lake Como, Toul, Tréves, Venice (which claims to have three nails) and Vienna.” (RB p.122.)

“What do you do when you know that there are more than 150 nails from the True Cross?” (VP p.101.)

Napkins (nappies)
Aachen Cathedral Treasury claims possession of the Virgin’s dress and the napkins of the Christ-child.
(EOS and RB p.56.)

******“The town of Lucques in the 13th century boasted of a crucifix said to contain Jesus’ holy navel, brought to the Auvergne by St Austremoine. Worst, a second holy navel was venerated at Rome in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo. A third one was exhibited at Châlons-sur-Marne…In the year 1707, after many faithful Christians had been misled, the shrine at Châlons-sur-Marne was opened up and found to contain gravel.” (RB p.134.)

“In 1707 the Bishop of Châlons put a stop to the veneration of the holy navel of Jesus in Notre-Dame-en-Vaux.” (RB p.180.)

In the 12th-c. abbey church at Cadouin, France: Even before it was completed in 1154, the community came into possession of a piece of cloth believed to be the shroud that had wrapped the head of Christ at his entombment. Pilgrims came from all over Europe to venerate the relic, and the monastery became renowned and prosperous. Alas for Cadouin, in 1933 the shroud was subjected to a careful analysis which proved that it had been woven in Egypt in about the 10th-c. Pilgrimages abruptly ceased. ( SGTF p.276.)

In 1934, “a scholar visiting Cadouin thought he recognised not Hebrew but Coptic letters embroidered on the ribbons of the holy sudary…Without any difficulty he read on one of the ornamental ribbons first the usual Islamic invocation of Allah, followed by the name of Musta-Ali, Caliph in Egypt from 1094 to 1101.” (RB p.226.)

The Winding Sheet - the Shroud of Turin. Being “the alleged shroud of Christ preserved in the cathedral of that city. Half-a-dozen other places have similar relics…It is practically certain that no one of these relics are genuine.” (CD2.)

Aachen cathedral relics include part of Jesus’ winding sheet (shroud.) Refer to Jesus/Cords above. (RB p.56.)

"In the Lateran church is a porphyry slab on which the soldiers guarding the crucified Christ are said to have diced for his seamless robe." (RB p.61.)

In the Sainte Chapelle in Paris, is the sponge of the passion**. **Refer to entry under Thorns. ( SGTF p.97)

Mt Athos is the home of some of the most revered relics in Christendom, including the sponge used by the soldiers to moisten the lips of the dying Jesus (notwithstanding the similar sponge in Charlemagne’s cathedral at Aachen.) (RB p.64.)

Aachen cathedral relics include the sponge which (it was claimed), dipped in vinegar, gave him drink as he was dying. Refer to Jesus/Cords above. (RB p.56.)


Relics at Reading Abbey, Berkshire included Our Lord’s swaddling-clothes, Our Lady’s belt, St Veronica’s shroud and the rods of Moses and Aaron. (APME p.70.)

In the Sainte Chapelle in Paris, the swaddling clothes of Jesus**. **Refer: The Crown of Thorns above. (SGTF p.97)

Aachen cathedral houses “the swaddling-clothes of the Infant Jesus; the loincloth he wore on the Cross; one of his mother’s dresses; and the cloth laid out by those who decapitated John the Baptist in order to catch his head and his blood. Elsewhere in the cathedral are part of Jesus’ winding sheet (shroud), a thorn from the crown of thorns, a fragment of cord from the thongs with which Jesus was beaten; his leather belt; the sponge which, dipped in vinegar, gave him drink as he was dying; and a belt which once encircled the waist of Our Lady.” Refer to Jesus/Cords above. (RB p.56.)

Tablecloth and Table
The Tablecloth of the Last Supper. See Multiple Relics, below.

“In another film (Luchino Visconti) showed a fragment from the table of The Last Supper which is above the tympanum of an altar inside the San Giovanni in Laterano Church in Rome.” (VP p.101.)

******“Holy tears in France made their appearance in Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, Provence; in the church of Saint-Léonard at Chemillé in Anjou; in the cathedral at Marseilles; in the abbey of Fontcarmont; in the church of Saint-Pierre-le-Puellier, Orleans; at Thiers in the Auvergne; in the abbey of Saint-Pierre at Sélincourt, Picardy; and in the church of the Holy Trinity, Vendôme.” (RB p.136.)

***Teeth ***
One small reliquary at Chartres was designed to hold relics of Jesus himself - his milk teeth, various tears that he had wept, drops of blood. Most awe-inspiring of all - Le Saint Prepuce, or in English the Holy Foreskin. (TC p.96)

“In the 12th century monks of Saint-Médard-de-Soisson claimed to have obtained from Constantinople one of Jesus’ teeth. This roused the anger of a Benedictine theologian named Guibert of Nogent, who pointed out that after the resurrection no physical relics of Jesus could have been left behind. To the claim of the monks that this was a milk tooth, which the infant Jesus shed and therefore never again needed, Guibert responded that in that case he would expect to see several others preserved throughout the Christian churches, not to speak of some of the hairs that Jesus undoubtedly shed when he walked in Palestine. Guibert spoke too soon…” - Refer to Hair and fingernails, above. (RB p.133/4.)

The Crown of Thorns is reputed to be preserved in Notre Dame at Paris. It is, in fact, only the rush foundation, to which no thorns any longer are attached. It was taken out of pawn, literally, by the Emperor Baldwin II and given to St Louis of France, who built La Sainte Chappelle to contain it. At that time it still retained many of the thorns, but several of these were given away by St Louis in golden reliquaries; one such reliquary is in the British Museum and it still appears to contain the thorn which it was made to enshrine. After the Revolution what remained of the relic or its rush foundation was brought to light through the compunction of one of the constitutional clergy." (CD2.)

One of the most delicately jewelled of all reliquaries was commissioned by the duke of Berry for his brother, the King of France. It was designed to house one thorn from the Crown of Thorns.

The most impressive reliquary of all was an entire chapel, the Sainte Chapelle in Paris, the biggest casket in the world - built to house the Crown of Thorns itself, which had been brought from Constantinople. The king, Louis IX, added further treasures such as the swaddling clothes of Jesus, the Lance, the sponge and the chain of the Passion, a portion of the True Cross, the rod of Moses, and part of the skull of John the Baptist**. **
**(**TC p.97 and SGTF p.97) (

Mt Athos is the home of some of the most revered relics in Christendom, including part of the crown of thorns.
(RB p.64.)

Relics at Reading Abbey, Berkshire included St Veronica’s shroud. (APME p.70.)

How many towels did Jesus really need to wash his disciples’ feet: the one at Rome, that at Aachen, and the one displayed at Saint-Corneille-de-Compiègne (and bearing still the imprint of Judas’ dirty foot)?" (RB p.172.)

There ARE very many genuine relics, but inasmuch as Catholics are no less prone to being sinners (and opportunists, at times!) there were very many forgeries of relics produced especially in the Middle Ages. I have no idea at all in the genuineness save and except that, where the Church suggests that such and such a relic is worthy of belief as to genuineness and profitable for the spiritual welfare of believers, then I have no problems in accepting that advice.

One must also realize that there are various classes of “relics” ranging from 1st through to 3rd class (I thing that is the extent.) Thus, a piece of iron fashioned into a “nail” which has touched a 1st class relic - becomes a relic itself.

According to Sr.Catherine Emmerich’s The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord, after Jesus was resurrected God the Father sent angels to gather all the drops of blood, sweat and bits of flesh that Jesus lost during his Passion. From this, I would assume that the Saint Prepuce and milk teeth etc would also have been collected in this way.
Just a thought.

wOoKiE -
please refer to The True Status of Anna Katharina Emmerick, a.k.a. Anne Catherine Emmerich at

Catholics today are subjected to just as much forgeries and false apparitions as were the Middle Ages Catholics inundated with false relics!

Anna Katharina Emmerick wrote not one word of her so-called writings. They may contain mixtures of truth, beauty, poetry, piety AND gross and minor errors, fiction, etc.

You might also like to view

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit