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John Calvin, Treatise on Relics - Footnotes
Author: John Calvin
Language: English
FT1 An English translation of this Treatise was published under the following title:—“A very
profitable Treatise, declarynge what great profit might come to all Christendom yf there were a
regester made of all the saincts’ bodies and other reliques which are as well in Italy as in France,
Dutchland, Spaine, and other kingdoms and countreys.

Translated out of the French into English by J. Wythers. London, 1561.” 18mo. I have made my
translation from the French original, reprinted at Paris in 1822.

FT2 It is well known that more than half a million of pilgrims went to worship the holy coat of
Treves in 1844, and that many wonderful stories about the cures effected by that relic were
related. Several of these stories are not altogether without foundation, because there are many
cases where imagination affects the human body in such a powerful manner as to cause or cure
various diseases. It was therefore to be expected that individuals suffering from such diseases
should be at least temporarily relieved from their ailings by a strong belief in the miraculous
powers of the relic. Cases of this kind are always noticed, whilst all those of ineffectual
pilgrimage are never mentioned.

FT3 A translation of this letter was published in the Allgemeine Zeilung of Augsburg.


FT4 Thus St. Anthony of Padua restores, like Mercury, stolen property; St. Hubert, like Diana, is
the patron of sportsmen; St. Cosmas, like Esculapius, that of physicians, etc. In fact, almost every
profession and trade, as well as every place, have their especial patron saint, who, like the
tutelary divinity of the Pagans, receives particular honors from his or her proteges.

FT5 In his Treatise given below.

FT6 “Quod legentibus Scriptura, hoc et idiotis, praestest pictura, quia in ipsa ignorantes vident
quid sequi debeant, in ipsas legunt qui litteras nesciunt,” says St. Gregory. —Maury, Essai sur les
Legendes, etc., p. 104.

FT7 “Quoniam talis memoria qum imaginibus fovetur, non venit es cordis amore, sed ex visionis
necessitate.”—Opus illustrissimi Caroli magni contra Synodum pro adorandis imaginibus, p.
489, (in 18-1549),—a work of which I shall have an opportunity more amply to speak.

FT8 See his chapter on the “In Effects of Solitude on the Imagination”— English translation.

FT9 Ibid.

FT10 “Fleury Histoire Eccles.,” lib. 21, chapter 15.

FT11 The author of this sketch says himself, in a note, “Yet this idolatry is far from having
entirely disappeared. Pilgrimages, and a devotion to certain images, but particularly to that of the
Virgin, are still continuing,” etc. This was said in 1843. I wonder what he will say now when this
idolatry is reappearing, even in those parts of Europe where the Calvinists had, according to his
expression, struck at its very root.

FT12 “Essat sur les Legendes Pieuses du Moyen Age,” par Alfred Maury, pp. 111, et seq.


FT13 “Chateaubriand Etudes Historiques,” vol. 2, p. 101.

FT14 “Histoire de la Destruction da Paganismu dans l’Empire d’Orient,” par E. Chastel, Paris,
1850, p. 342 et seq.

FT15 “Histoire de la Destruction du Paganisme en Occident,” par A.

Bengnot, Member of the French Institute, Paris, 1835, 8vo, 2 vols.

FT16 Translator’s note.—Was not the introduction of pagan rites into the church the indirect way
to idolatry alluded to in the text?

FT17 Author’s Note—The festivals of the martyrs was a very large concession made to the old
manners, because all that took place during those days was not very edifying.

FT18 Translator’s Note.—I shall give in its proper place a more ample account of Vigilantius.

FT19 Author’s Note.—These compromises were temporary, and the church revoked them as
soon as she believed that she could do it without inconvenience. She struggled hard against the
calends of January, after having for a considerable time suffered these festivities; and when she
saw that she could not succeed in abolishing them, she decided to transport the beginning of the
year from the first of January to Easter, ia order to break the Pagan customs.

FT20 Auther’s Note.—“The Saturnalia, and several other festivals, were celebrated on the
calends of January; Christmas was fixed at the same epoch. The Luporcalia, a pretended festival
of purification, took place during the calends of February; the Christiau purification (Candlemas)
was celebrated on the 2d of February. The festival of Augustus, celebrated on the calends of
August, was replaced by that of St. Peter in vinculis, established on the 1st of that month. The
inhabitants of the country, ever anxious about the safety of their crops, obstinately retained the
celebration of the Ambarvalia; St. Mamert established in the middle of the fifth century the
Rogations, which in their form differ very little from the Ambarvalia. On comparing the
Christian calendar with the Pagan one, it is impossible not to be struck by the great concordance
between the two. Now, can we consider this concordance as the effect of chance? It is principally
in the usages peculiar only to some churches that we may trace the spirit of concessions with
which Christianity was animated during the first centuries of its establishment. Thus, at Catania,
where the Pagans were celebrating the festival of Ceres after harvest, the church of that place
consented to delay to that time the festival of the Visitation, which is celebrated everywhere else
on the 2d July. Aprile Cronologia Universale di Sicilia, p. 601. I would recommend to those who
wish to study this subject the work of Marangoni, a very interesting work, though its author
(whose object was to convince the Protestants who attacked the discipline of the Roman Catholic
Church on account of these concessions) tried to break the evident connection which exists
between certain Christian and Pagan festivals.

FT21 Author’s Note.—“There are at Rome even now several churches which had formerly been
pagan temples, and thirty-nine of them have been built on the foundations of such
temples.”—Marangoni, pp. 236- 268. There is no country in Europe where similar examples are
not found. It is necessary to remark, that all these transformations began at the end of the fifth

FT22 Authors Note.—At home four churches have pagan names, viz:—S.

Maria Sopra Minerva, S. Maria Aventina, St. Lorenzo in Matuta, and St. Stefano de Cacco. At
Bienna, the temple of Quirinus became the church of St. Quiricus.

FT23 Translator’s Note.—And still more to their corruption.

FT24 Translator’s Note.—Christ has said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in
heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”—
Matthew 11:28-30. I would ask the learned author, whether these words of our Savior are not
sufficiently mild, tender, and consoling, and whether there was any necessity to consecrate some
new ideas in order to temper their severity?

FT25 Author’s Note.—Amongst a multitude of proofs I shall choose only one, in order to show
with what facility the worship of Mary swept away in its progress the remnants of Paganism
which were still covering Europe:—Notwithstanding the preaching of St. Hilarion, Sicily had
remained faithful to the ancient worship. After the council of Ephesus, we see eight of the finest
Pagan temples of that island becoming in a very short time churches dedicated to the Virgin.
These temples were, 1. of Minerva, at Syracuse; 2. of Venus and Saturn, at Messina; 3. of Venus
Erigone, on the Mount Eryx, believed to have been built by Eneas; 4. of Phalaris, at Agrigent; 5.
of Vulcan, near Mount Etna; 6; the Pantheon, at Catania; 7. of Ceres, in the same town; 8. the
Sepulchre of Stesichorus.—V. Aprile Cronologia Universale di Sicilia . Similar facts may be
found in the ecclesiastical annals of every country.

FT26 Translator’s Note .—The time when the church is to accomplish this purification has, alas!
not yet arrived.

FT27 Beugnot, volume 2, book 12, chapter 1, pp. 261-272.


FT28 The opinions of different writers on the number of Christians in the Roman empire at the
time of Constantine’s conversion greatly varies.

The valuation of Staudlin (“Universal Geshichte der Christlichen Kirche,” p. 41, 1833) at half of
its population, and even that of Matter (“Histoire de’rEglise,” t. 1, p. 120), who reduces it to the
fifth, are generally considered as exaggerated. Gibbon thinks that it was the twentieth part of the
above-mentioned population; and the learned French academician, La Bastie (“Memoires de
l’Academie des Inscripter” etc.) believes that it was the twelfth. This last valuation is approved
by Chastel (“Histoire de la Destruction du Paganisme en Orient,” 1850, p. 36) as an average
number, though it was much larger in the East than in the West. The celebrated passage of
Tertullian’s “Apology,” in the second century, where he represents the number of Christians in
the Roman empire to be so great, that it would have become a desert if they had retired from it, is
considered by Beugnot (vol. 2, p. 188) as the most exaggerated hyperbole which has ever been
used by an orator.

FT29 Translator’s Note.—Expression of St. Jerome, Op. 4, p. 266. It would be curious to know
what this father of the church would have said of the present Rome.

FT30 Beugnot, volume 1, p. 86.

FT31 “Ludorum celebrationes, deorum festa sunt.”—Lactanctius, Institutiones Divin., vi, 20,
apud Beugnot.

FT32 “Adite aras publicas adque delubra, et consuetudinis vestrae celebrate solemnia: nec enim
prohibemus preteritm usurpationis officia libera lute tractari.”

FT33 The labarum was a cross, with the monogram of Christ.

FT34 The Graeco-Russian church has, however, given him a place in her calendar on the 21st
May, but only in common with his mother Helena. This was done only a considerable tune after
his death.

FT35 Beugnot, upon the authority of Ausonius, volume 1, p. 321.

FT36 Thus Symmachus, one of the leaders of the old aristocracy of Rome celebrated for his
learning, virtues, and staunch adherence to the national polytheism, was invested by Theodosius
with the dignity of a consul of Rome; the well known Greek orator, Libanius, was created prefect
of the imperial palace; and Themistius, who had been invested with the highest honors under the
preceding reigns, was created by Theodosius prefect of Constantinople, received in the senate,
and entrusted for some time with the education of Arcadius. These distinguished polytheists
never made a secret of their religious opinions, but publicly deelared them on several occasions.
Many of Theodosius’ generals were avowed Pagans, but enjoyed no less his confidence and

FT37 Fallmerayer, “Geschichte der Morea,” volume 1, p. 136.

FT38 Vide supra , pp. 30-32.


FT39 I think that it will not be uninteresting to my readers to know how the Roman Catholic
Church explains this prohibition, and which may be best seen from the following piece of
ingenious casuistry, by one of her ablest defenders in this country:—“Canon 36, of the Provincial
Council held in 305, at Eliberis, in Spain, immediately refutes the error of Bingham. 1a The
pastors of the Spanish church beheld the grievous persecution that Diocletian had commenced to
wage against the Christian faith, which had for a lengthened period enjoyed comparative repose,
under the forbearing reign of Constantius Caesar, father of Constan tine the Great. They
assembled to concert precautionary measures, and amongst other things, they determined that, in
the provinces under their immediate jurisdiction, there should be no fixed and immovable picture
monuments, such as fresco paintings or mosaics, no images of Christ whom they adored, nor of
the daints whom they venerated, on the walls of the churches which had been erected and
ornamented during the long interval of peace which the Christians had enjoyed. ‘Placuit,’ says
the council, ‘picturas in ecclesia esse non debere, ne quod colitur et adoratur, in parietibus
depingatur,’ (Con. Elib., apud Labbeum, tom 1, p. 972.) This economy was prudent and adapted
to the exigency of the period. The figures of Christ and of his saints were thus protected from the
ribaldry and insults of the Pagans. But this well-timed prohibition demonstrates, that the use of
pictures and images had already been introduced into the Spanish church.”—Hierurgia, or
Transubstantiation, Invocation of Saints, Relics, etc., expounded by D. Rock, D.D., second
edition, p. 374, note. There can be no doubt that the enactment in question proves that images
were used at that time amongst the Spanish Christians, as a law prohibiting some particular
crimes or offenses shows that they were taking place at the time when it was promulgated; but
the opinion that the above-mentioned enactment was not a prohibition of images but a
precautionary measure in their favor, must be supported either by the other canons of the same
council, which contain nothing confirmatory of this opinion, or by the authority of some
contemporary writer, and be without such evidence quite untenable, and nothing better than a
mere sophism. I have given this explanation of the Council of Elvira by a Roman Catholic writer
as a fair specimen of the manner in which all other practices of their church, derived from
Paganism, are defended.

FT39A Bingham maintained the same opinion on the images which is expressed in the text.

FT40 Translators Note.— And yet the same writer he defended this manner of recruiting the
church.—Vid. supra, p. 17.

FT41 Translator’s Note.—And yet this system of concession has been called by the same author
true wisdom.—Vid. supra, p. 18.

FT42 Translators Note .—It dated from the time when the Christian church began to make a
compromise with Paganism.

FT43 Who would defile themselves by the impious superstition of the idols.

FT44 An ecclesiastical writer of the fifth century.

FT45 Translator’s Note .—Importing usually into the Christian church that leaven of Paganism
which is mentioned in the text.

FT46 Translator’s Note .—Retaining meanwhile, however, the thing itself.

FT47 Translator’s Note .—It is a great pity that the author leaves us in the dark about the time
when this great improvement in the Roman Catholic Church to which he alludes took place.

FT48 St. Augustinus relates, in the fourth book of his Confessions, chapter 3, that he was
diverted from the idea of studying astrology by a pagan physician, who made him understand all
the falsehood and ridicule of that science.

FT49 A similar custom is still prevalent in Russia. Vide infra, “On the Superstitions of her

FT50 Author’s Note .—In 1215, Buondelmonte was murdered by the Amidel at the foot of the
statue of Mars. This murder produced at Florence a civil war, which, gradually spreading over all
Italy, gave birth to the factions of the Guelphs and Ghibelines.

FT51 Basnage, “Histoire de l’Eglise,” p. 1174.

FT52 An interesting account of Vigilantius was published by the Revelation Dr. Gilly, the
well-known friend of the Waldensians, FT53 Vide supra , p. 8.c


FT54 Gibbon’s “Roman Empire,” chapter 49.

FT55 The Greeks and Russians worship their images chiefly by kissing them, and it was
probably on this account that it was ordered to raise them to a height where they could not be
reached by the lips of their votaries, because this means could not prevent them from bowing to

FT56 It is related that the women were the most zealous in defending the images, and that an
officer of the emperor, who was demolishing a statue of Christ placed at the entrance of the
imperial palace, was murdered by them.

FT57 Gibbon and some other writers think that Constantine survived for some time the loss of
his eyes, but I have followed in the text the general opinion on this event.

FT58 Irene was a native of Athens.

FT59 Volume 9, p. 429, et seq.

FT60 Extracts from the works of this celebrated monk, and his life, apud Basnage Histoire de
l’Eglise, p. 1375.

FT61 Theodora, on being appointed by her husband regent during the minority of her son, was
obliged to swear that she would not restore the idols . The Jesuit Maimbourg, who wrote a
history of the iconoclasts, maintains that, in restoring the woship of images, she did not commit a
perjury, because she swore that she would not restore the idols , but not images, which are not

FT62 I may add, as well as the Russo-Greek Church, which, I shall have an opportunity to show
afterwards, is no less opposed to Protestantism than her rival, the Church of Rome.

FT63 Thus, for instance, the well-known work of the celebrated patriarch Photius written in the
ninth century, contains extracts from and notices of many works which have never reached us.

FT64 “Edinburgh Review,” July, 1841, p. 17.

FT65 According to the author of “Hierurgia,” Casstanus suffered martyrdom under the reign of
Julian the Apostate; we knew, however, from history, that no persecution of Christians had taken
place under that emperor. Cassianus’ body is still preserved at Imola, but according to Collin de
Plancy he has besides a head at Toulouse.

FT66 “Hierurgia,” by D. Rock, D.D., second edition, p. 377, et seq.

FT67 Prudentius was known as a man of great learning, and had filled some important offices of
the state.

FT68 The title of this book is—“Opus illustrissimi Caroil Magni, nutu Dei, Regis Francorum,
Gallias, Germaniam, Italiamque sive barum finitimas provincias, Domino opitulante, regentis,
contra Synodum quae in partibus Grecimi pro adorandis imaginibus, stolide sive arroganter gesta


FT69 I think that it has recently been completed at Brussels.

FT70 The title of Ruinart’s work is—“Acta primorum Martyrum sincera et selecta ex libris, cum
editis, tum manuscriptis, collecta eruta vel emendata.” 4to, Paris 1687, and several editions

FT71 The most important of these Apocrypha of the New Testament, some of which have
reached us, whilst we know the others from the writings of the fathers, are the Gospels according
to St. Peter, to St. Thomas, to St. Matthins, the Revelations of St. Peter, the Epistle of St.
Barnabas, the Acts of St. John, of St. Andrew, and other apostles.

FT72 Mabillon on the Unknown Saints, p. 10. Apud Basnage, p. 1047.

FT73 “Vie de at Francois Xavier,” par le Pere Bouhours, 1716. Apud Maury, p. 22.

FT74 “Liber Aureus Inscriptus, Liber Conformitatum Vitae Beati ac Seraphici Patris Francisci,
ad Vitam Jesu Christi Domini Nostri.” It went through several editions.

FT75 The title of this curious work is, “Histoire de St Frangois d’Assise, par Emile Chavin de
Malan.” Paris: 1845.

FT76 “Edinburgh Review,” April 1847, p. 295.

FT77 History of St Waltheof, p. 2 in the 8th vol. of the collection.

FT78 Ibid., p. 24.

FT79 Life of St Augustine of Canterbury, Apostle of the English, p. 237, in the 1st volume of the
English Saints, mentioned above.

FT80 There is a German story which is evidently a parody of this legend. It says that an
individual who was passionately fond of playing at ninepins committed a crime for which he was
sentenced to be beheaded. He requested, as a favor which was usually granted to culprits before
their execution, to indulge once more in his favorite game. This demand being conceded, he
began to play with such ardor that he entirely forgot his impending execution. The executioner,
who was present, got tired of waiting for the culprit, and seizing a moment when he stretched his
neck picking up a ball from the ground, cut off his head.

The culprit was, however, so keen in the pursuit of his game, that he seized his own head, and
having made with it a successful throw, exclaimed, “Haven’t I got all the nine?”

FT81 An old German ballad gives a fair specimen of the ideas which people entertained of the
joys of heaven. It says, amongst other things:— “Wine costs not a penny in the cellar of heaven;
angels bake bread and cracknels at the desire of every one; vegetables of every kind abundantly
grow in the garden of heaven; pease and carrots grow without being planted; asparagus is as thick
as a man’s leg, and artichokes as big as a head. When it is a lent day, the fishes arrive in shoals,
and St Peter comes with his net to catch them, in order to regale you. St Martha is the cook and
St Urban the butler.”—See Maury, p. 88.

FT82 Zimmerman’s “Solitude Considered with respect to its Dangerous Influence upon the Mind
and Heart.” English translation. Ed. 1798, p. 102, eg seq.


FT83 Vide supra , p. 17.

FT84 “Mandat sancta synodus omnibus episcopis et caeteris, ut juxta catholicae et apostolicae
ecclesiae usum, a primaevis Christianae religionis temporibus receptum, de legitimo imaginum
usu fideles diligenter instruunt, docentes eos, imaginis Christi et Deiparae virginis, et aliorum
sanctorum, in templis praesertim habendas et retinendas, eisque debitum honorem et
venerationem impertiendam; non quod credatur inesse aliqua in iis divinitas, vel virtus, propter
quam sint colendae; vel quod ab iis aliquod sit petendum; vel quod fiducia in imaginibus sit
figenda, veluti olim ficat a gentibus, quae in idolis (Psalm 135.) spem suam collocabant: sed
quoniam honos, qui cis exhibetur, refertur ad pro-totypae, quae illae representant, ita ut per
imagines, quae osculanmr, et coram quibus caput aperitams et procumbimus, Christum
adoremus; et sanctos quorum illae similitudinem gerunt veneremur.”—Sessio 25, de Invocatione
Sanc. et Sacr. Imag.

FT85 The following description of this little idol is given by a well-known French writer of last
century:—“This morning, when I was quietly walking along a street towards the capitol, I met
with a carriage, in which sat two Franciscan monks, holding on their knee something which I was
unable to distinguish. Every body,was stopping and bowing in a most respectful manner. I
inquired to whom were these salutations directed? ‘To the Bambino,’ I was answered, ‘whom
these good fathers are carrying to a prelate, who is very ill, and whom the physicians have given
up.’ It was then explained to me what this Bambino is. It is a little statue, meant for Jesus, made
of wood, and richly attired. The convent which has the good fortune of being its owner has no
other patrimony. As soon as any body is seriously ill, the Bambino is sent for, in a carriage,
because he never walks on foot.

Two monks take him and place him near the bed of the patient, in whose house they remain,
living at his expense, until he dies or recovers. “The Bambino is always driving about; people
sometimes fight at the gate of the convent in order to get him. He is particularly busy during the
summer, and his charges are then higher, in proportion to the competition and the heat, which I
think Is quite right.”—Dupaty, Lettres sue t’Italie, let. xlviii.

The Bambino continues to maintain his credit; and I have read not long ago in the newspapers,
that an English lady of rank, who had joined the communion of Rome, was performing the duties
of his dry nurse on a festival of her adopted church.

FT86 Insolitam imaginem. I have made use in the text of the English Roman Catholic translation
of the canons of the Council of Trent, by the Revelation Mr Waterworth.

FT87 “Omnia haec impis sunt et cultus idolorum, alloqui ipsan statuas aut ossa, aut fingere
Deum aut sanctos magis in uno loco, seu ad hanc statuam alligatos esse quam ad alia loca. Nihil
differunt invocationes qum fiunt ad Mariam Aquensem seu Ratisbonensem ab invocationibus
ethnicis, quae fiebant ad Dianam Ephesiam, cut ad Junonem Plataensem, aut ad alias
statuas.”—Respon, ad Articul Baltic, art. 17, p. 381.

FT88 Middleton’s “Miscellaneous Works,” volume 5, p. 96, edition of 1755.

FT89 Ibid., p. 97.

FT90 Hospinian, “De Origine Templ.,” lib. 2 cap. 23; apud Middleton, loco citato.

FT91 Beugnot, volume 1, p. 231, on the authority of Soaomenes.

FT92 There are some I roteslant writers who attach great value to the apostolic canons, as, for
instancet Dr Beveridge, Bishop of St Asaph, who wrote a defense of them.

FT93 “Institutiones Christianae,” lib. 6, t cap. 2; apud, “Hospinian de Origine Templorum,” lib.
li, cap. 10.

FT94 This date is a mistake, and I would have taken it for a misprint if the an thor had not said
before, that “Vigilantius attacked the practices of the church in the fourth age.” I have, in
speaking of this subject, p. 71, followed the authority of the great historian of the Roman
Catholic Church, Fleury, who says that Jerome answered Vigilantius in 404.

FT95 Vial. supra, p. 14, et seq., the opinions of Chateaubriand and Beugnot on the same subject.

FT96 The appellation of regina calorum , queen of heaven, is frequently given to the blessed
Virgin in Roman Catholic litanies and hymns addressed to her. The queen of heaven, mentioned
by Jeremiah, is supposed to be the same as Astarte, or the Syrian Yenus.

FT97 Herodot., lib. 2., p. 36,— “Qui grege linigero circumdatus et grege calvo, Plangentis populi
outfit derisor Anubis.” Juvenal, vi. 532.

FT98 He describes in it the well-known Roman Catholic practice of flagellation or
self-whipping, which has been, and is still, done by the priests and votaries of several Pagan

FT99 “Namque omnia loca quae thuris constiterit vapore fumasse, si tamen ea fuisse in jure
thurificantium probabitur, fisco nostro adsocianda censemus,” etc.—Vid. also supra, p. 48.


FT100 I give these numbers on the authority of the Almanac de Gotha.

FT101 The facts of this curious affair have never been published, but they are preserved in the
ecclesiastical archives of Moscow, and a copy of them in the ecclesiastical acreleroy of St
Petersburgh.--Strahl’s Beytradge zur Russischen Kirchengeschichte, p. 289.

FT102 Hermann Geschichte you Russland, 1853, volume 5, p. 89.

FT103 Anointment with oil makes a part of the Greek ritual of baptism.

FT104 These regulations may appear strange in a country like this, but in Russia all the
population is divided into various classes, and nobody can pass from one of them into another
without the authorization of the Government; as, for instance, if a peasant or agriculturist wishes
to become a burgher by settling in a town. The peasantry in the Baltic provinces were
emancipated under the reign of the Emperor Alexander, but the landowners still maintain a
certain authority over them.

FT105 The Pope, book 4, chapter 1.

FT106 Bodenstedt’s Morning Land; or, Thousand and One Days in the East.

Second Series, volume l, p. 61, et seq .,—a work which is particularly interesting at the present

FT107 Studien uber Russland, volume 1, p. 101.

FT108 The Russians of that time were known as slave dealers, according to BenJamin of Tudela,
a Jewish traveler of the same period.

FT109 Travels of Ibn Foslan, German translation, by Frahn, p. 7.

FT110 “Die Volker des Kaukasus” p. 284.

FT111 It owned before the confiscation of the church estates more than a hundred thousand male

FT112 Studien uber Russland, volume 1, p. 87.

FT113 Simocatta, apud Basnage , p. 1332.

FT114 This reform, accomplished in the reign of Alexius, father of Peter the Great, consisted
chiefly in the correction of the text of the Slavonic Scriptures and liturgical books, which had
been greatly disfigured by the ignorance of successive copyists, and in the prohibition of some
superstitious practices, which had usurped an important part in the divine service of the Russian
Church. These wise reforms produced, however, a violent opposition, and several millions
separated from the established church, and are known, though divided into many sects, under the
general appellation of Raskolniks, i.e., schismatics, whilst they call themselves Starovertzi, or
those of the old faith and designate the established church by the name of the Niconian heresy.

FT115 Leveque, Histoire de Russic revue, par Malte Brun et Depping, tom. 4, p. 131.

FT116 The title of this book is “Das Merk wurdige Jahr Meines Lebens”— “The Memorable
Year of my Life.” It has been, I believe, translated into English.

FT117 A civil grade equal to that of a captain in the army.

FT118 The author observes in a note that, in former times, a petty ecclesiastical prince, the
Archbishop of Cologne, conld conceive and partly execute the gigantic plan of the Cologne
minster, and that in the present time, though the whole of Germany had undertaken to build the
remainder of it, her people would have abandoned this project long ago, if it were not supported
by the kings, he ought, however, I think, to confine his remarks to Germany, because there are
certainly more places of worship built by voluntary contributions in England than in Russia.

FT119 Studien uber Russland, volume 1, p. 91, FT120 Studien uber Russland, volume 1, p. 93.

FT121 Leveque, Histoire de Russic, volume 4, p. 133.

FT122 London: Longman & Co. 1854.

FT123 The title of this curious production is, “An Appeal on the Eastern Question to the Senatus
Academicus of the Royal College of Edinburgh. By a Russia,, Quondam Civis Bibliotheca

Edinburgh: Thomas O. Jack, 92 Princes Street. London: Hamilton, Adams, & Co. 1854.

FT124 Letter 36, at the end.

FT125Vide supra, p. 184.

FT126 “Custine’s Russia,” letter 36. The same opinion is expressed by Baron Haxthausen, whom
I have quoted above, and who says, “The sons of the papas and other young men acquire in the
seminaries and ecclesiastical academies a certain degree of theological learning, after which they
indue the monacal dress, and are inscribed on the rolls of some convent, without however
remaining in it. They enter the offices of bishops and archbishops to perform their personal as
well as clerical service. Their position becomes then exactly the same as that of the military
aides-de-camp of the Generals, and of the civil ones of ministers, and it is from amongst them
that bishops, archimandrites, abbots, etc., are chosen. It is a career like every other service in

Several of these ecclesiastics may have chosen their calling from a real devotion; the most part of
them are, however, driven into it by an unmeasurable ambition, selfishness, speculation, and
vanity, the curse of the upper classes of Russia.”—(Studien uber Russland, volume 1, p. 89.) It
must be remarked that all the dignities of the Oreek church are reserved for the monastic or
regular clergy, whilst the secular (who cannot take orders without being married) do not rise
above the station of a parish priest. This last-named function, which gives no prospeots of
promotion, is generally left to such theological students as are not fit for any thing better, and,
with some few honorable exceptions, they are generally an ignorant and drunken set, treated with
very little respect by the upper classes. The following anecdote, characteristic of the moral and
intellectual condition of that class of the Russian clergy, was related to the author by a friend who
had resided for some time in Russia. A landowner of the government of Kazan, Mr Bakhmetieff,
who was very fond of the pleasures of the table in the old style, was in the habit of inviting to his
revels the priests of the neighborhood.

Once, when his clerical guests had got so drunk as to lose all consciousness, their host, who was
less overpowered by the effect of drink, determined to play them a practical joke, by daubing
their beards with melted wax. The distress of these poor fellows, on awaking from their sleep, at
this strange unction of their beards, was very great, because it was impossible to get rid of the
wax without greatly injuring that hirsute appendage, upon which so much of their personal
respectability rests. They became the laughing-stock of their congregations, and the story made a
great noise over all the country.

FT127 The Greek Church admits no carved images, as being prohibited by the second


FT128 They have considerably more, as will be shown presently.

FT129 Every altar in a Roman Catholic church must contain some relic.

FT130 It is said to have been made of pasteboard.

FT131 There are, besides the five water loots mentioned by Calvin, thirteen others at St Nicole of
the Lido at Venice, at Moscow, at Bologne, at Tongres, at Cologne, at Beauvais, at the abbey of
Port Royal at Paris, and at Orleans, though the Gospel mentions but six. The materials of which
they are made are very dissimilar to each other, and so are their respective measures, whilst those
mentioned in the Gospel seem to have been all of the same size.

FT132 There are, besides these, thirteen more, unknown probably to Calvin; but it would be too
tedious to enumerate where they may be seen.

FT133 If a diligent inquiry were instituted after these relics in particular, four times as many as
are here enumerated might be found in other parts.

FT134 I have employed the term Sudary, which has been adopted by Webater, from the Latin
word sudarium , to designate the relic in question.

FT135 It appears that a kerchief with the likeness of the face of Jesus Christ imprinted on it, and
covered with blood and sweat, was kept in a church at Rome in the eleventh century, for it is
mentioned in the brief of Pope Sergius IV, dated 1011. We do not know what tales respecting
this relic were related at that time, but it appears that copies of it called Veronies, i.e., a
corruption of verum icon, “the true image,” were sold; and no doubt this appellation gave rise to
the legend of Santa Veronica who wiped the face of Christ with her kerchief as he was going to
Calvary. There are many versions of this legend, as for instance that it was this woman whom
Christ had cured of the bloody issue, whilst again it is maintained that she was no less a person
than the Bernice, niece to King Herod. It is also related that after the dispersion of the apostles, St
Veronica went in company with Mary Magdalene, Martha, and Lazarus, to Marseilles, where she
wrought many miracles with her kerchief. The Emperor Tiberius heard of these miracles, and
having fallen ill, he summoned Veronica to Rome. She cured him in a moment, and was
rewarded with great honors and rich presents. The remainder of her life was spent at Rome in
company with with St Peter and St Paul, and she bequeathed the miraculous kerchief to Pope St
Clement. It must, however, be observed, that this legend has not obtained the official approbation
of the Roman Catholic Church, though St Veronica is acknowledged and has a place in the
calendar for the 21st of February; and it is said she suffered martyrdom in France. With regard to
the large sudaries or sheets upon which the whole body of Jesus Christ is impressed, and the
absurdity of which Calvin has so clearly exposed, the most celebrated of these is that at Turin. Its
history is curious, inasmuch as it shows that the efforts of enlightened and pious prelates to
prevent idolatrous practices invading their churches proved unavailing against that general
tendency to worship visible objects, so strongly implanted in corrupt human nature, that even in
this enlightened age we are continually witnessing such manifestation of it revival as may be
compared only to that of the dark period of the middle ages. The most striking instances
undoubtedly are those of the holy coat of Treves, and the relics of St Theodosia, which have been
recently installed at Amiens, with great pomp, and in the presence of the most eminent prelates
of the Roman Catholic Church, who seem now to be as anxious to promote this kind of
fetishism, as some of their predecessors were formerly to repress the same abuse. But let us
return to our immediate subject—the holy sudarium of Turin. It is a long linen sheet, upon which
is painted in a reddish color a double likeness of a human body, i.e. , as seen from before and
from behind, quite naked with the exception of a broad scarf encircling the loins. It is pretended
that this relic was saved by a Christian at the taking of Jerusalem by Titus, and it was preserved
for many centuries by the faithful.

In 640 it was brought back to Palestine, from whence it was transferred to Europe by the
Crusaders. It was taken by a French knight named Geoffroi do Charny, who presented it to the
collegiate church of a place called Lire , which belonged to him, and which is situated about
three leagues from the town of Troyes, in Champagne; the donor declaring, on that occasion, that
his holy sheet was taken by him from the infidels, and that it had delivered him in a miraculous
manner from a prison dungeon into which he had been cast by the English. The canons of that
church, seeing at once the great profits to be derived from such a relic, lost no time in exhibiting
it, and their church was soon crowded with devotees. The bishop of Troyes, Henri de Poitiers,
finding however no proofs of the authenticity of this relic, prohibited it to be shown as an object
of worship, and it remained unheeded for twenty-four years.

The sons of Geoffroi de Charny, about the year 1383, obtained permission from the Papal legate
to restore this relic of their father’s to the church of Lire, and the canon exposed it in front of the
pulpit, surrounding it with lighted tapers, but the bishop of Troyes, Peter d’Arcy, prohibited this
exhibition under pain of excommunication.

They afterwards obtained from the king, Charles VI, an authorization to worship the holy
sudarium in the church of Lire. The bishop upon this repaired to court, and represented to the
king that the worship of the pretended sheet of Jesus Christ was nothing less than downright
idolatry, and he argued so effectually that Charles revoked the permission by an edict of the 21st
August 1389.

Geoffroi de Charny’s sons then appealed to Pope Clemens VII, who was residing at Avignon,
and he granted permission for the holy sudarium to be exhibited. The bishop of Troyes sent a
memorial to the Pope, explaining the importance attached to this so-called holy relic.

Clemens did not, however, prohibit the sudarium to be shown, but he forbade its being exhibited
as the real sudary of Jesus Christ. The canons of Lire, therefore, put aside their sudary, but it
reappeared in other places, and after being shown about in various churches and convents it
remained at Chambery in 1432, where nobody dared to impugn its reality. From that time its
fame increased, and Francis I, king of France, went a pilgrimage on foot, the whole way from
Lyons to Chambery, in order to worship this linen cloth. In 1578 St Charles Borromeo having
announced his intention of going on foot to Chambery to adore the holy sudary, the Duke of
Savoy, wishing to spare this high-born saint the trouble of so long a pilgrimage, commanded the
relic to be brought to Turin, where it has since remained, and where the miracles performed by it
and the solemn worship paid to it, may be considered as a proof that its authenticity is no longer

There are about six holy sudaries preserved in other churches, besides the pieces shown

FT136 Calvin, speaking of the silver pieces for which Judas betrayed our Lord, does not say
where they are shown. Two of them are preserved in the Church of the Annunciation at Florence,
one in the Church of St John of the Lateran, and another in that of the Holy Cross at Rome.

There is one pirie at the Church of the Visitandine Convent at Air in Provence besides many
other places where they are displayed.—Collin de Plancy, Dictionairs des Reslique .

FT137 The whole skeleton of the animal is preserved at Vicenza, enclosed in an artificial figure
of an ass.

FT138 Eusebius relates, that Abgarus, king of Edessa, having heard of Christ’s teaching and
miracles, sent an embassy to acknowledge our bord’s divinity, and to invite him to his kingdom,
in order to cure Abgarus of a complaint of long standing; upon which Christ sent him the
likeness mentioned in the text. Now, it is impossible for one moment to admit, that, if such an
important fact had any truthful foundation; it would have been left unrecorded by the apostles.

FT139 The Roman Catholic Church maintains that the Blessed Virgin was carried to heaven by
angels, and it commemorates this event by the festival of the Assumption on the 15th August.
This belief was unknown to the primitive church; for, according to a Roman Catholic writer of
undoubted orthodoxy, the Empress Pulcheria, in the fifth century, requested the Bishop of
Jerusalem, Juvenal, to allow her to have the body of the Virgin, in order to display it for the
public adoration of the faithful at Constantinople.—(Tille raut’s “Memoires
Ecclesiastiques.”)—There are many other proofs that, even at that time, when many idolatrous
practices had tegun to corrupt the church, the Virgin’s body was generally believed to be in earth,
and not in heaven.

FT140 Vials filled with such milk were shown in several churches at Rome, at Venice in the
church of St Mark, at Aix in Provence, in the church of the Celestins at Avignon, in that of St
Anthony at Padua, etc. etc., and many absurd stories are related about the miracles performed
with these relics.

FT141 There are about twenty gowns of the Blessed Virgin exhibited in various places. Many of
them are of costly textures, which, if true, would prove that she had an expensive wardrobe.

FT142 The number of miraculous images of the Virgin in countries following the tenets of the
Roman Catholic and Greek Churches is legion, and a separate volume would be required if we
were to give even an abridged account of them.

FT143 The most celebrated relic of St Joseph is his “han,” i.e, the sound or groan which issues
from the chest of a man when he makes an effort, and which St Joseph emitted when he was
splitting a log of wood. It was preserved in a bottle at a place called Concaiverny, near Blois, in
France.”—D’Aubigne’s Confessions de Sancy, chapter 2. apud Colin de Plancy.

FT144 It is said that as late as 1784, at Mount St Michael in Bretagne, a Swiss was vending
feathers from the archangel Michael’s wings, and that he found purchasers for his wares.

FT145 This multiplication of St John’s head reminds one of an anecdote related by Miss Pardoe
in her “City of the Magyar.” A museum of curiositles was kept in the chateau of Prince
Grassalkovich in Hungary, and it was usually shown to strangers by the parish priest of that
place. This worthy man was once conducting a traveler over the collection, and showed him
amongst other curiosities two skulls, of large and small size, saying of the first, “This is the skull
of the celebrated rebel Ragotzi;” and of the second, “That is the skull of the same Ragotzi when
he was a boy!”

FT146 Calvin has not rendered full justice to the relics of John the Baptist exhibited in various
places. He only mentions the different parts of his head and the fingers; and the quantity
altogether shown implies no doubt that the head was one of no ordinary dimensions. He evidently
was not aware that there are about a dozen whole heads of St John the Baptist, which are or were
exhibited in different towns. The most remarkable of them was undoubtedly that one which the
notoriotts Pope John XXIII, who was deposed for his vices by the Council of Constance, had sold
to the Venetians for the sum of fifty thousaud ducats; but as the people of Rome would not allow
such a precious relic to quit their city, the bargain was rescinded. The head was afterwards
destroyed at the capture and pillage of Rome by the troops of Charles V in 1527. There are,
besides, many other parts of St John’s body preserved as relics. A part of his shoulder was
pretended to have been sent by the Emperor Heraclius to King Dagobert I; and an entire shoulder
was given to Philip Augustus by the Emperor of Greece.

Another shoulder was at Longpont, in the diocese of Soissons; and there was one at Lieissies in
the Hainault. A leg of the saint was shown at St Jean d’Abbeville, another at Venice, and a third
at Toledo; whilst the Abbey of Jolenval, in the diocese of Chartres, boasted of possessing
twenty-two of his bones. Several of his arms and hands were shown elsewhere, besides fingers
and other parts of his body; but their enumeration would be too tedious here.

FT147 Calvin here alludes to the haircloth worn by the monks of some orders, and other Roman
Catholic devotees, instead of the ordinary shirt.

FT148 There is a French edition of the New Testament, published, I think, at Louvaine, in which
Acts 13:2, is thus translated: “Etquand ils disoient la messe,”— “And when they were saying

FT149 The relics of Peter and Paul became at an early period the object of veneration to the
Christians of Rome. Gregory the Great relates that such terrible miracles took place at the
sepulehrcs that people approached them in fear and trembling, and he adds that those who
ventured to touch them were visibly punished. The Emperor Justinian, desiring some relics of
these two apostles, some filings from their prison chains, and sheets that had been consecrated by
having been laid over their bodies, were sent to him; but some time afterwards these relics were
touched and handled without persons suffering any visible punishment for so doing Their heads
were transferred to the church of St John of Lateran, and their bodies were divided and placed in
the churches of St Peter and St Paul in the Ostian Road. We have seen in the text that different
parts of their bodies are shown in many places, and the celebrated D’Aubigne relates that France
had possessed formerly the entire bodies of Peter and Paul before the Huguenots burnt and
destroyed a great number of the relics in that country.

FT150 This relic is considered a very efficient remedy for cutaneous disorders.

FT151 Calvin was evidently in haste to get over his task, as he intimated to us at the
commencement of this chapter. He has made very great omissions. In the first place, he appears
to have forgotten the body of St James the Major at Compostella in Spain, one of the most
celebrated places of pilgrimage of the Western Church. According to the legend, this apostle
went to Spain to preach Christianity and then returned to Jerusalem, where he was beheaded by
Herod.—( Acts 12.). His body was afterwards removed by his disciples to Spain. This is,
therefore, his second body. He has a third at Verona, and a fourth at Toulouse, besides several
heads elsewhere. The other apostles have also more bodies than are mentioned in the text, but the
limits of this work forbid enumeration.

FT152 St Matthew is not so poor in relics as Calvin supposed, for we could quote several whole
bodies, as well as members, with which he was not acquainted.

FT153 An oratory is a small chapel or cabinet, adorned with images of saints, etc, and used by
the Roman Catholics for private devotions.

The absurdity of ascribing to John the Evangelist the possession of such an oratory is too
palapable a falsehood to require any comment.

FT154 Accordlng to the well-known Jesuit writer Ribadeneira, the Jews seized Lazarus, Mary
Magdalene, Martha, Marcella, Maximin, Celidonius (supposed to have been the man born blind,
who was restored to sight by Jesus Christ), and Joseph of Arimathea, and placing them on board
a vessel without helm, oars, or sails, launched it forth into the sea. By a miracle the vessel
reached Marseilles, where Lazarus was appointed the first bishop of that town. Maximin became
bishop of Aix, Joseph of Arimathea went to England, Martha entered a convent, and Mary, after
preaching in various parts of Provence for some time, retired into the desert of St Beaume, to
weep and lament over her sins.—Flower of Saint, July 22.

FT155 The legends say that the soldier, whom they name Longinus, was struck with blindness
immediately after piercing Jesus Christ’s side.

He perceived the enormity of his crime, recognized the divinity of our Lord, and having rubbed
his eyes with the blood which was on his face, he recovered his sight, and finally became a monk
in Cappadocla.

It is true that neither the Gospels nor the early ecclesiastical writers mention any thing respecting
St Longinns, but Ribadeneira and other narrators of legends speak much of him. The reader may
possibly object to the tale of his becoming a monk since in those days there were none; but that
difficulty merely requires the addition of another miracle.

FT156 Calvin is wrong here. Milan only assumes to have possession of the graves of the wise
men, not their bodies, which were removed to Cologne at the capture of Milan in 1162, by
Frederick Barbarossa.

FT157 Vid. supra, p. 120.

FT158 St Anthony is venerated, or rather worshipped, by the Eastern as well as the Western
Church, and he seems to have bestowed his favors upon each with the utmost impartiality, for a
body of his is shown at Novgorod, in Russia, where a church, with a convent attached to it, is
dedicated to him. The legend concerning St Anthony’s arrival at Novgorod is curious. It is said
that this saint, whilst at Rome, was commanded by an angel, in a dream, to go and convert the
inhabitants of Novgorod. In obedience to this angelic injunction, St Anthony embarked on a
millstone, and floated on this extraordinary craft down the Tiber, past over the Mediterranean,
Atlantic, and Baltic seas, and arrived safely at the river Wolchow, upon which stream Novgorod
is situated, having accomplished the whole voyage in four days— marvellous speed indeed, and
which completely shames all the wonders of modern steam navigation! The date assigned to this
wonderful voyage happens to be that of a few centuries after St Anthony’s death, but we suppose
this too must be considered as another miracle.

FT159 Calvin is much mistaken about Helena, who was better provided for than he imagined.
Besides the body mentioned in the text, she has one in the Church of Ara Caeli, at Rome. There
was one also at Constantinople, in the Church ef the Twelve Apostles, and another at Hauteville,
near Epernay, in Champagne.

FT160 The legend tells us that an English chief, after conquering and taking possession of Lower
Brittany, returned to his native land in search of wives for his army and himself, he married
Ursula, an English princess, and took eleven thousand maidens as brides for his companions in
arms. Ursula, whilst journeying with this bridal train to join her husband, was driven by a storm
into the mouth of the Rhine, and arrived at Cologne. There they were beset by a party of Huns,
who murdered them all. Their bodies were discovered at Cologne in the 16th century, and the
remains of St Ursula, which at first were mixed with those of her companions, were pointed out,
by a miracle, for the special veneration of the faithful. Several of these virgins have relics in
various parts of Europe, and they are distingnisimd by proper names, as, for instance, St Ottilia,
St Fleurina, etc. etc. The origin of this absurd legoral is ascribed by some antiquarians to the
following inscription found upon a tomb:—“St Ursula, et. XI. M. V.,” i.e, et martyres virgines,”
which, through ignorance or willful deceit, has been converted into millia virgines— 11,000
virgins. Other sarans believe that the inscription meant “St Ursula et Undecimilla martyres
virgines” and that Undecimilla, which was the proper name of a virgin martyr, was mistaken by
some ignorant copyist for an abbreviation of undecim millia, 11,000.

FT161 It must be remarked that many relics described in this Treatise were destroyed during the
religious wars, but particularly by the French Revolution. I recommend to those who have an
interest in this subject the observations made on it in by George Sinclair’s Letters, p. 88, \i et seq.