Raising the bones

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Elevation of the incorrupt bones of St. Stephen in Jerusalem in 415, leaded glass window in St. Stephen's Cathedral in Toul (19th century; detail)

The elevation of the bones ( Latin elevatio ) is the exhumation of the (often undestroyed) mortal remains of a person from a grave or a find and the transfer of the relics to a public place of worship for religious reasons.


The term "elevation" is not to be understood in a figurative sense, but refers to the actual lifting of the remains from a grave for the purpose of their presentation in the church. The uprising goes back to the early Christian veneration of martyrs . It later became an important act in the context of canonization . The solemn elevation of bones has been practiced since the second half of the 4th century. Miracles have at times been reported in connection with elevation .


The "collection of bones" and the solemn transfer ( relics translation ) in a mostly also increased standing reliquary or a altar was a special sign of veneration . In the 8th and 9th centuries, for example, translation reports were made specifically to emphasize the importance of beatification or canonization. The local bishops and local clergy encouraged this form of worship.

Hagiographic topos

The hagiography , which was created in late antiquity, includes texts on the life and worship of saints . In addition to the vita and the description of the type of martyrdom, the hagiography sometimes also contains detailed reports on the elevation of the bones, which may have been accompanied by miracles.

Web links


  • Albert J. Urban (Hrsg.): Lexicon of pilgrimage sites - their history and today's importance , Voltmedia, Paderborn, 2006, ISBN 3-938478-35-7

Individual evidence

  1. Institut Philipp Neri ( Memento of the original from June 18, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.institut-philipp-neri.de