Impregnation as a method for preservation of relics used by the Christian Church

N. Tomov, N. Dimitrov, D. Atanasova, J. (Yanko) Dzhanozov
2018 Trakia Journal of Sciences  
Relics are a special type of human body remains, which are venerated by the faithful due to the prominence the person had achieved during lifetime. Even if no such claims for incorruptibility are made, body relics have to be preserved in some fashion, in order to allow for their long-term viewing and veneration. The present report summarizes the available data regarding the impregnation as a method for body preservation, used by the Christian Church to conserve body relics. Impregnation is a
more » ... mpregnation is a widely used method, both by the Orthodox as well as by the Roman Catholic Church. It is known that bodies are treated with different protective mixtures on variable intervals after death. Public worship historically involved pouring of oil over relics. Moreover, small tissue fragments are embedded in wax blocks or are sealed with a mixture of molten wax and other resins. All of those methods are in fact impregnation with compounds with high molecular mass as a final stage of a preservation procedure. This impregnation of a tissue already reached some degree of dehydration or other preservation ensures longevity and protection of the relics by greatly slowing down the natural processes of decomposition and disintegration.
doi:10.15547/tjs.2018.03.014 fatcat:s34q5xzcsbdxbdk2jxt4ucqv24