Four items appear on this page:

1    Fake Relics
2    Truthfulness And Relics
3     A Treatise on Relics
4    Origen Not The Forger


(Investigator 146, 2012 September)

From the time of the Council of Nicea in 325 AD trickery has featured prominently in Church practice.

In 393 AD a Dutchman living in Constantinople purchased from a priest a leg of the donkey upon which Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem. The priest has also sold four other legs off the same donkey. Bishop Ferund assured the Dutchman it was all right for God could multiply and produce as many five-legged donkeys as he liked. This stupid Dutchman believed this.

In 395 AD Bishop Ambros displayed a 15-foot (4.6 metres) length of timber as the "true cross" in his church and the ignorant lined up to buy fragments cut from it.

In 629 AD Emperor Heraclius staged a public exhibition of the supposed "true cross" at Jerusalem. He claimed to have received it from the Persians into whose hands it had fallen by 614 AD. Heraclius spent the rest of his life living off sales made from "sacred fragments of the true cross". Nearly 1000 years later, religious reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) declared that enough fragments of the "true cross" had been sold to construct a ship.

As matter of record 62 "true crosses" were presented to the public by the Church between 326 and 680 AD.

In the 6th century St. Gregory of Tours produced a "crown of thorns" and an eye witness that the thorns in the crown still looked green, a freshness which was miraculously renewed each day.

Bishop Densodona (9th century) and his band of rogues sold human remains to churches for a great price, saying that they were those of martyrs — but the Bishop's gang dug them up from graves.

Other Notes of Interest
Brian de Kretser
N. T.

Truthfulness And "Relics"


(Investigator 147, 2012 November)

The short answer to Mr De Kretser's "Fake Relics" in #146 is that people who introduce fake relics do not represent Christianity. Although such people may be members in a church they are similar to those mentioned in I John 7: "Many deceivers have gone out into the world…"

In #101 I wrote about "Lies A Theme of the Bible". Truth, however, is also a Biblical theme.

The importance of truthfulness is stressed throughout the Scriptures. For example:
Obviously, anyone who sells fake relics or uses them as evidence for the Bible does not reflect Biblical Christianity.

Another complaint by De Kretser is: "Celsus…branded…orations about the miracles of Jesus as absurd. He wrote a work called True Discourse which was destroyed by the 5th century Church. Over 90%, however, was reconstructed."

Celsus was a pagan philosopher whose book True Discourse (c.178) is the earliest literary attack on Christianity. His view on miracles, however, is irrelevant since he did not address the empirical evidence for miracles which I presented in #58 #59 #78 #131. It is unknown how True Discourse got lost — most ancient works disappeared one way or another without the Church being responsible. Its reconstruction, however, was done by Christians and was possible due to extensive quotes from it in Christian writings, particularly Origen (185-254).

De Kretser, and atheists generally, get sidetracked by supposed Christians of unchristian conduct — De Kretser mentions Constantine. This approach is no more valid than listing known criminals in Australia to "prove" Democracy is wrong. The Bible's instruction is to imitate good examples, not search for bad examples to use as excuses:
Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me [Paul the Apostle], and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ… Their end is destruction…their minds are set on earthly things. (Philippians 3:18-19)
For further information on relics I've appended a page from the French theologian John Calvin (1509-1564)

A Treatise on Relics

John Calvin

The belief that the body of the Virgin was not interred on earth, but was taken to heaven, has deprived them of all pretext for manufacturing any relics of her remains, which otherwise might have been sufficiently abundant to fill a whole churchyard; yet in order to have at least something belonging to her, they sought to indemnify themselves for the absence of other relics with the possession of her hair and her milk.

The hair is shown in several churches at Rome, and at Salvatierra in Spain, at Maçon, St Flour, Cluny, Nevers, and in many other towns. With regard to the milk, there is not perhaps a town, a convent, or nunnery, where it is not shown in large or small quantities. Indeed, had the Virgin been a wet-nurse her whole life, or a dairy, she could not have produced more than is shown as hers in various parts. How they obtained all this milk they do not say, and it is superfluous here to remark that there is no foundation in the Gospels for these foolish and blasphemous extravagances.

The Virgin's wardrobe has produced an abundant store of relics. There is a shirt of hers at Chartres, which has been fully celebrated as an idol, and there is another at Aix-la-Chapelle [Aachen]. I do not know how these things could have been obtained, for it is certain that the Apostles and first Christians were not such triflers as to amuse themselves in this way. It is, however, sufficient for us to consider the shape of these articles of dress, in order clearly to see the impudence of their exhibitors. The shirt at Aix-la-Chapelle is a long clerical surplice, shown hanging to a pole, and if the Blessed Virgin had been a giantess, she would still have felt much inconvenience in wearing so large a garment.

In the same church they preserve the shoes of St Joseph, which could only fit the foot of a little child or a dwarf. The proverb says that liars need good memories, so as not to contradict their own sayings. This rule was not followed out at Aix-la-Chapelle, otherwise care would have been taken to maintain a better proportion of size between the shoes of the husband and the shirt of the wife. And yet these relics, so devoid of all appearance of truth, are devoutly kissed and venerated by crowds!

I know of only two of her head-dresses; one is at the abbey of St Maximian at Treves, and the other is at Lisio in Italy. They may be considered quite as genuine as the Virgin's girdle at Prato and at Montserrat, as her slipper at St Jaqueme, and as her shoe at St Flour.

Now, those who are at all conversant with this subject well know that it was not the custom of the primitive church to collect shoes and stockings, etc., for relics, and also that for five hundred years after the death of the Virgin Mary there was never any talk of such things. It really seems as if these well-known facts would be sufficient to prove the absurdity of all these relics of the Virgin…
(From: Valerian Krasinski (Translator) 1870 A Treatise on Relics by John Calvin, Second Edition, p. 58)


(Investigator 147, 2012 November)

The September (2012) issue has Brian de Kretser saying that Origen and Eusebius did some forging of Josephus' writings after the Council of Nicea. For Origen this would have been difficult because he died in 254 AD i.e. over 70 years before 'Nicea' which took place in 325 AD.

Eusebius (260-340 AD), however, attended the Council of Nicea and is also is known as the "Father of Church History".

Frank Russo.