Skull of St. Thomas Aquinas unveiled at 700th anniversary of his canonization


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Denver, Colo., Jan 28, 2023 / 05:00 am (CNA).

The skull of St. Thomas Aquinas has arrived at the Dominican Convent of Toulouse, France, and placed in a new reliquary as the order celebrates the 700th anniversary of the saint’s canonization in the Catholic Church.

The new reliquary was created by Augustin Frison-Roche and was blessed during a Mass on Jan. 27 in the church of the convent. It was then transferred to the Jacobin Convent of Toulouse for the opening Mass of the seventh centenary of the Italian saint, theologian, and philosopher on Saturday, Jan. 28. A procession of the relics followed the Mass.

The opening of the reliquary took place in the Dominican convent’s sacristy in the presence of Monsignor Jean-Louis Bruguès, OP; the chancellor of the Toulouse Diocese, Father J.-François Galinier-Pallerola; and prior of the Toulouse convent, Father Philippe Jaillot, OP.

Sculptor and painter Frison-Roche posted a photo of the new reliquary on his Instagram account, where he wrote: “Happy New Year to all. For me it begins in the light of St. Thomas Aquinas.”

The Dominican order also shared photos of the rare event.

“The opportunity to witness the opening of a reliquary is rare, as it is sealed to guarantee the authenticity of its contents,” the order wrote in their Instagram post. “The opening is only done for major reasons that require the renewal of the container.”

You can also watch a video of the reliquary journey shared by the Dominicans:

The reliquary will now embark on a journey across France and abroad.

Aquinas was a Dominican friar and priest and is considered one of the Church’s greatest teachers, philosophers, and theologians.

Some of his greatest accomplishments are his works of theology. These include the Summa Contra Gentiles, the Compendium Theologiae, and Summa Theologica.

Nearing death, he made a final confession and asked for the Eucharist to be brought to him. In its presence, he declared: “I adore you, my God and my Redeemer … for whose honor I have studied, labored, preached, and taught.”

Aquinas died on March 7, 1274. He was canonized in 1323 and made a doctor of the Church in 1567.

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    • Brian: First, read some history; secondly, deepen your theological understanding of God, Christ, the Incarnation, the body, etc.

      It’s not ghoulish or superstitious. Or amusing. You are speaking like a 21st-century American, not a Christian rooted in Tradition faith, and eschatological hope.

      Everything to do with the saints (relics, prayers, devotion, etc) is about Jesus Christ, precisely because the Catholic Faith has a far deeper, more robust, and authentic understanding of the Church, communio, and the material realm than do Protestants, who are so often (as one Protestant author rightly called it years ago) quite gnostic in their understanding of the created world.

      • Carl with comeuppance for yours truly. One of the reasons to enjoy CWR is to learn. The forum attracts able writers and educated, godly responders. We don’t have to be correct on every point, yet we are enriched as we encounter dialogue from fellow lovers of Christ. CWR is a catalyst for developing faith, eschewing misconceptions and aiding those who do not know Christ.

        Perhaps you are correct in your summation, however, I would not be putting the skull of this giant of the faith on my mantlepiece anytime soon (providing some thoughtful soul sent it along)!

        Allow me to compliment you and your staff on your God honouring work!

        Ever in Christ,


        James 1:9-10 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away.

        1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

        Romans 10:2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.

      • Dear Carl:

        The gnostic perspective and Philip K lee!

        A true protestant will reject gnosticism because it is unbiblical. You must review numerous drafts that present irregular and sometimes unorthodox views. Training and good scholarship allows you to separate the wheat form the chaff.

        In John’s letters to the church, he uncovers the gnostic perspective. He does not endorse those views as sound theology. While these ideas may help a person to understand Christ’s message and decline conclusions that are contrary to Holy Scripture, should we not study the excellent while rejecting substandard analysis?

        In Colossians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, Titus and 2nd Peter, again, admonishment is given against the heresy of the gnostics. Perhaps scripture says it best in respect to the follower of gnosticism:

        2 Timothy 3:7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

        2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

        Ephesians 4:14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.



        • “A true protestant will reject gnosticism because it is unbiblical.”

          And yet, Brian, you apparently accept and promote sola scriptura, which is completely unbiblical. But we’ve covered that ground already…

          • Dear Carl:

            How can the word of God be incomplete? He who has given us everything we need, in some such way, left something out? While I deeply respect your work, it will happen that we disagree from time to time. However, could you point to a specific instance where scripture fails to address a particular need that man has?

            Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

            Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

            Ephesians 6:17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,

            Blessings upon blessings,


    • Let those who take amusement at the church of Rome enjoy their laugh. They will laugh last as the Church honors the material remains of a saint of profound reason, deeply blessed faith, heavenly inspiration, and unearthly industry, skulls and its contents could greatly benefit. They will also laugh last as Jesus the Christ honors in heaven what the Church honors on Earth, as He holds bound what His Catholic Church holds bound. He is her Head. What body part does Protestantism hold with which to amuse, enjoy and believe itself blessed by that part?

      • Dear Meiron:

        Thank you for responding and offering your perspective. You have said a great deal in a few sentences. Allow me to attempt to reply to you.

        We agree on the excellence of Aquinas. We celebrate his faith, words and work. How could we laugh at such a godly legacy? Praise God for such a man.

        If we discuss godly matters, our framework should be the guidance of God.

        1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

        You point to: Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

        We ask ourselves is there a restraining mechanism that all believers in Christ should adhere to?

        Revelation 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,

        Peter is liberated by the word of God and constrained by eternal precepts ordained by God, as well.

        Malachi 1:6 “A son honours his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honour? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’

        Isaiah 29:13 And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honour me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,

        Though I stand to be corrected, Catholics and Protestants celebrate the resurrected and holy body, plus spirit of Jesus Christ the righteous.



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