Thomas Becket, bishop and martyr – December 29th
St Thomas Becket (d. 1170, Canterbury, United Kingdom) (Relics: Canterbury, United Kingdom)
First Class Relics
Saint Thomas of Canterbury Roman Catholic Church
CT1 2HJ, Canterbury, United Kingdom
*A reliquary within the Martyr’s Chapel of this church, located within the right transept, contains three relics of St Thomas Becket. The presence of these relics are partially explained by the following sequence of events. In 1220 AD several cardinals from Rome who were present for the translation of the body of St Thomas Becket from the crypt to the main floor of Canterbury Cathedral took several small relics of St Thomas Becket back to Italy. Upon the destruction of St Thomas Becket’s shrine in 1538 these relics of the saint were preserved. In the past two centuries some of these relics and others from around Europe have been returned to Canterbury. In the 19th century the church received from Gubbio, Italy both a piece of his vestment and a bone from his body. Then in 1953 the Prior of Chevetogne, Father Thomas Becquet, presented to this church a piece of St Thomas Becket’s finger. All three of these relics are now within the Martyr’s Chapel as noted previously.
Churches of Honor
CT1 2EH, Canterbury, United Kingdom
*For centuries this church housed the tomb St Thomas Becket until its destruction in 1538.
*St Anselm was originally buried within this church; however, upon the closing of this monastery by the orders of King Henry VIII his relics were lost. Nevertheless, the memory of St Anselm continues within the chapel dedicated to him on the right side of the nave.
*In the 11th century an arm of St Bartholomew was gifted to this church. However, this relic is also lost.