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relikskrin2-norrala-400

Reliquary

Reliquary and probably portable altar of gilded, enamelled copper on a wooden framework. Made in North Germany during the late 12th century.

This reliquary consists of a receptacle and lid resting on four animal-like feet. The centre section of the receptacle is retracted by about 1.5 cm, thereby creating a lower frame lending prominence to the casket, as if it were stood on a table. All surfaces are sheathed in copper. The vertical centre section of the casket has a diagonally chequered pattern of white, blue and gold squares, decorated in the middle with a pattern of green four-pointed stars or flowers. The frames have a simple zigzag pattern picked out in gold. The body of the lid is cunningly decorated with a depiction of Majestas Domini, Christ in Glory, in the middle, surrounded by the four Evangelists. The central images are framed by a Latin inscription:

”QVOD SIM SENTITE DEVS ET PIVS ET VIA VITE MORS FOVET ECLESIAM MEA SET PER IMIT SINAGIGAM”

meaning ”Bethink who I am. God and just and the path of life. My death is the Church’s gain but brings the downfall of the Synagogue.”

This reliquary was presented to Norrala Church in 1648 by District Judge Lars Kjellbjörnsson. It had probably been carried off during the Thirty Years War. In Norrala Church it has been used as a ciborium, and today we cannot say for sure what relics it had previously contained. It may possibly have been a portable altar, used for celebrating mass outside the church, in which case it would have held a relic and been consecrated by a bishop.