Aug 18 2009
If you go to the treasury in the main cathedral in Dubrovnik, Croatia, you can find some very curious religious relics; for instance, the head of Dubrovnik’s patron saint, St. Blaise, as well as his arm, leg, and throat. You might also come across a piece of the true cross and what I thought was the weirdest “treasure” ever, a silver box that holds Jesus’ diapers. No one really believes me when I tell them that the diaper box exists and you can pay a couple of bucks to see it, but since you can’t take photographs in the treasury, I have no proof.
I kind of forgot about the diaper box until I read my new favorite book, An Irreverent Curiosity by David Farley. Simply put, the book is about Farley’s year in Calcuta, Italy. This small medieval hilltop town might possibly be home to some of the most colorful residents in the whole of Italy and certainly is worth a book unto itself. However, even stranger is Farley’s quest: to discover what happened to the village’s most precious relic – The Holy Foreskin. The Holy Foreskin was the treasure of the village and in 1982 it mysteriously disappeared. Everyone seems to have their theories, but no one knows for sure about the authenticity and the location of the item. And after reading the book, I am a bit more curious about the strange world of relics. (Confession: as I am writing this a priest sat down next to me and now I feel really weird.)
Not only is the book an awesome read, but it is a great conversation starter (but I just slipped it back into my bag because the priest is still surfing the internet next to me and I am not up to talking about The Foreskin with him). I was drinking coffee with a group of friends the other day and we were talking about the books and how “interesting” relics are. Since we happened to be next to the cathedral in Dubrovnik, I asked if any of them have seen the “Holy Diaper Box.” Of course everyone laughed and thought I was crazy, but we decided to wander over and have a look.
When we went into the treasury it was easy to identify the various body parts of Saint Blaise as they were marked with small signs. Unfortunately nothing else was. I scanned all of the other “treasures” but couldn’t find the silver box that contained Jesus’ nappies. We went back out to see if there was any information about the item, but there was nothing in English or Croatian. We asked the girl behind the counter and we were met with a look of utter confusion. She said she had no idea that Jesus wore diapers and that one of them was in the treasury. I felt a little deflated. I know that I read about it previously but now my friends have more reasons to think I am completely crazy. We started to walk around the cathedral and stumbled upon posters explaining the “treasures” of the cathedral. Eureka!!! At the very bottom of the poster was a picture of the “Holy Diaper Box” as well as a description. We cross-referenced the other languages as well to make sure that it wasn’t a translation error. I copied down the information in Croatian and went back to ask the lady at the desk. Once again she just shook her head, looked at me like I was crazy and pointed me in the direction to the St. Blaises head. We started to look feverishly for the silver box, and then just to the left of St. Blaise’s leg was a silver box. We had found it and we were astonished.
After that, of course we had to go for another drink and have another look at this curious book.Read more: An Irreverent Curiosity, Book Reviews, Croatia, David Farley, Dubrovnik, Eastern Europe, Religion, Travel
Lisa can usually be found staring longingly at the Eastern European shelf at the Globe Corner Bookstore. However, she really wants to go to Colombia.