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The Relic of St. Brigid
In 1929 a
small portion of St. Brigidís skull was brought back to Ireland and
placed here for the veneration of the people. At the time it came as a
great surprise to the majority of Irish people that this relic existed,
and that it had been carefully preserved in Portugal, where for hundreds
of years the Portuguese had almost made St. Brigid their own.
The Holy Relic is preserved in an unpretentious
church in Lumiar, a small town outside Lisbon. King Dinis had a small
convent of Cistercians founded there during his reign, at a place called
Odivelas, a few miles outside Lisbon and quite near Luimar.
In 1276 the Bishop of Lisbon decided to build a
church at Luimar and he placed it under the patronage of the nuns at
Odivilelas. When King Dinis heard that three Irish knights were bringing
St. Brigidís head to Portugal, he wanted to have it preserved in the
convent of Odivelas, but Divine Will decreed otherwise; it was placed in
the church at Lumiar, where it remains to this day.
The three faithful knights remained with the Holy
Relic for the rest of their days, and when they died they were interred
in tombs let into the wall of St. Brigidís chapel.
The inscription reads:
Here in these three tombs lie the
three Irish knights who brought the head of St. Brigid, Virgin, a native
of Ireland, whose relic is preserved in this chapel. In memory of which,
the officials of the Table of the same Saint caused this to be done in
January A.D. 1283
A portion of the skull was given
to the Rev. Father Traynor of Killester, under seal of the Cardinal of
Lisbon, on November 16th 1928 for Killester Church. The Archbishop of
Dublin approved it on November 26th 1928, and on Sunday 27th 1929, the
solemn ceremony of translation took place.
Reliquary which houses the
St. Brigid Relic
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