Aachen Cathedral to show the relics of St Corona, patron saint of resisting epidemics

Aachen Cathedral has dug out the relics of little-known Saint Corona, patron saint of resisting epidemics, from its treasure chamber and is polishing up her elaborate shrine to go on show once the coronavirus pandemic has passed, Reuters reported. The pandemic has boosted public interest in the Christian martyr, believed to have been killed 1,800 years ago.

The cathedral had planned even before the coronavirus outbreak to display St Corona’s shrine this summer as part of an exhibition on gold craftsmanship. It is not clear when people will now be able to view the shrine.  But experts are painstakingly cleaning the gold, bronze and ivory shrine, which has been hidden from public view for the last 25 years.

“We have brought the shrine out a bit earlier than planned and now we expect more interest due to the virus,” Aachen Cathedral spokeswoman Daniela Loevenich said. Corona is believed to have been only about 16 years old when the Romans killed her, probably in Syria, for professing the Christian faith. The girl suffered a particularly excruciating death, according to legend. She was tied to two bent palm trees and then torn apart as the trunks were released.

Corona’s relics, brought to Aachen by King Otto III in 997, were kept in a tomb underneath a slab in the cathedral until 1911-12 when they were placed in the shrine, which is 93 centimetres tall and weighs 98 kilograms. The cathedral stresses that St Corona is patron saint of resisting all epidemics, not just this specific virus.

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