Relics of Saint Thomas Aquinas Displayed for the First Time Since 1369

February 27, 2023

The year 2023 marks the entry into a triple jubilee of the Common Doctor, Saint Thomas Aquinas. Born on January 28, 1225, he died at Fossa Nuova Abbey on March 7, 1274, and he was canonized by Pope John XXII on July 18, 1323. Thus, the year 2023 marks the VII centenary of his canonization. 2024 will see the 750th anniversary of his death, and 2025 the eighth centenary of his birth.

On the occasion of the 700th anniversary of the canonization of the Angelic Doctor, the relic of the skull of St. Thomas Aquinas has been transferred to a new reliquary. Kept under the altar of the Jacobins convent in Toulouse, cradle of the Dominican Order, it had not been exhibited since 1369. But the last recognition had been made in 1974.

The reliquary was made by Mr. Augustin Frison-Roche, and it required hundreds of hours of work. It was blessed on Friday, January 27 in order to receive the skull of the holy Doctor, before being transferred to the Jacobins church for the opening Mass of the 7th centenary.

The reliquary will then leave for a great journey in France and abroad: the first stage is the convent of the Dominicans of Bordeaux. On the occasion of this triple anniversary of St. Thomas, the Apostolic Penitentiary, by decree of Pope Francis, granted a plenary indulgence to the faithful who venerate his relics.

St. Thomas Aquinas, whose finest title is undoubtedly that of Common Doctor of the Church, is also called the Prince of theologians, or even the Angelic Doctor. The pope who canonized him, John XXII, had this to say, speaking of his most famous work, the Summa Theologiae: “Quot articula, tot miracula,” “as many miracles as articles”— knowing that there are more than 3,000 articles in this work.

The work of the holy Doctor stands out for its extraordinary cohesion, founded on an extremely structured theology and on a superior philosophy, accompanied by a very thorough knowledge of the Fathers and ancient authors. Each question is seen in this higher light. This is why the popes have always encouraged the study of the work of St. Thomas.

Today the Common Doctor remains more relevant than ever in the fight against modern errors.