8 Missing Religious Relics That Have Never Been Found


Throughout Christian history there has been devotion to many relics. These are objects that are either the blood and bones of religious figures, or items that these figures have touched or been associated with. During the Middle Ages, these relics increased in popularity to the point where each altar was expected to possess at least one. A good relic could increase the economy of a town, as pilgrims would travel to come and see the sacred relic of a treasured saint.

This led to many fake relics and the stealing of relics, such as the body of Saint Nicholas. Strangely enough, the thefts were always admitted in order to verify the authenticity of the relic. Countless relics were destroyed during the reformation, and those that survive today are often called into question. Here are just a few relics from medieval and ancient history that are missing today. Some are rumored to have been destroyed, while others are believed to be hidden, their locations a mystery.

A piece of flesh believed to be the holy foreskin of Jesus. Catholic.org

The Holy Foreskin

Jesus was circumcised as an infant and it was believed by many that the skin cut from the infant was preserved. There was some reference to the foreskin being preserved by an old Hebrew woman in an alabaster box of old oil of spikenard. However, the foreskin largely disappeared after that, with no real mention of it again until the Middle Ages.

On December 25, 800, Charlemagne was purported to have given it to Pope Leo III in gratitude for crowning him Emperor. When asked where he got the holy foreskin, Charlemagne responded that it had been brought to him by an angel as he was praying at the Holy Sepulchre. Another report claims that it was given to him as a wedding present by Empress Irene. Pope Leo III then took the foreskin and placed it Sancta Sanctorum and there it remained until Rome was sacked in 1527.

A German soldier stole the foreskin during the attack and took it to Calcata where he was captured. The soldier managed to hide the relic in his cell and there it stayed until it was found in 1557. From then on, the foreskin remained in Calcata and had several miracles attributed to it. The story and the miracles were enough to have the Catholic Church approve the authenticity of the skin in Calcata over the numerous other claims of holy foreskin.

In 1900, the Church grew tired of the celebration of the foreskin. So the Vatican issued a warning that anyone who so much as talked about the Holy Prepuce would be excommunicated. This did little to deter the people of Calcata ,who were proud of their sacred relic and would march it through the streets every year on the Feast of the Circumcision. However, the practice stopped when the relic was stolen in 1983. Some believe that it was stolen by or sold to the Vatican in order to get people to stop talking about the foreskin. It has not been seen since.

  • Larry Tess

    No mention of the bleeding host or Luciano

  • Mike 89128

    The Ark was burned to get the melted gold that covered it. King Nebuchadnezzar ii needed the gold to pay his troops and for supplies.

    • doninkansas

      Liar! The Ark was found by the Nazis and is now hidden in a warehouse somewhere in the USA. I saw it on a documentary I once watched, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark!

    • JJJ

      It’s very plausible that you are right, and the Ark was melted down. Consider that all metallic sculptures from Greece and Rome were also melted down, including the sacred chryselephantine statues.

    • All Seeing Eye

      Mike – You make an interesting point, and one that is totally logical. But there are some issues that do not make sense to me. First, if Nebuchadnezzar ii did melt down the Arc, due to its importance to the Jews he vanquished, I would think he would have made a big deal out of it and there would be some written record about it. Also, if he melted the Arc, which was a wooden structure covered in gold, why did he not also melt down the other Temple implements that were solid gold, like the Candelabra which was eventually carted away by the Romans? When Cyrus the Great allowed the Jews to return to Israel, he gave them back the golden Temple implements, showing that they were not melted. Why one and not the others? Also, there is a story that the Chief Rabbi of Israel, I think it was Goren, was on an unauthorized dig under the Temple Mount and saw the Arc hidden there. It was supposedly sealed up so that it would be available for the building of the Third Temple. Fact or fiction? I don’t know and don’t claim to have any better insight. The whole thing seems to be a mystery in how one of the most, if not the most, important artifact to the Jewish people disappeared without a trace or a note in history. The logical thing is to think it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, but the facts (or should I say lack of facts) has to make one wonder what really happened. Perhaps I am a romantic but I would like to think it is hidden away someplace waiting for the Third Temple!

  • MikeGreggs

    The Holy Foreskin was prolly one of the least-loved Indiana Jones exploits

    • pachyderm63


    • pachyderm63

      My favorite Robin line from the Batman tv show,”Holy foreskin Batman!” …

  • Olger Danske

    You can’t find relics of any fictional character…. just saying…

    • Justin Jurek

      Nobody is looking for relics of the Easter Bunny.

      • Jack Kasaback

        you kidding me? every Easter, I search for the hidden and missing egg-shaped relics of the Bunny, purportedly to be found in a woven basket.

      • pachyderm63

        my kids hunt like madmen once a year!

  • imnotasheeple

    Pssst…gods are pretend, no one told them.

  • Jack Kasaback

    the holy foreskin. it’s hard to believe a tiny, spaghetti-o-sized piece of human penis could perform miracles…but, then again, during proper coitus, the penis has been known to cause some women to summon the Lord with freak abandon.

    • roslyn Littlefield

      omgosh hahahahahaha

  • vs

    Why the ridicule and disdain for religion in the posts below? The articles, if you read through, mentioned some of the relics may or may not have existed. Are you using this article as proof to determine if God or Jesus actually exist? If you are looking for a scientific researched based theory to proof or disproof the existence of God, at least take the time to read the research-you may look at things differently; but you should not use this article to ridicule Faith because you don’t understand it or don’t have it yourself-doing so makes you sound less “educated” and “sophisticated” then you think you are.

  • vs

    Why the ridicule and disdain in the posts below? The articles, if you read through, mentioned some of the relics may or may not have existed. Are you using this article as proof to determine if God or Jesus actually exist? If you are looking for a scientific researched based theory to proof or disproof the existence of God, at least take the time to read the research-you may look at things differently; but you should not use this article to ridicule Faith because you don’t understand it or don’t have it yourself-doing so makes you sound less “educated” and sophisticated then you thing you are.

    • Ted Gargantiel

      Thank God we have the Holy Hand Grenade!

  • pachyderm63

    ugh. why would anyone want that?

  • Gregory In Seattle

    You forgot to mention that, at one point in the Middle Ages, at least 18 Holy Foreskins existed. Claimants included Santiago de Compostela, the city of Antwerp, and Chartre Cathedral. Just because the Calcata claimant was the one to survive longest does NOT mean it is genuine.

    • James ‘Jim’ Osborne

      Maybe it was “parted” miraculously like the fishes and loaves so there’d be plenty to go around…LOL

  • RhodeIslandAspie

    Didn’t you see the Indiana Jones Movies. The US government has the Ark in a warehouse somewhere.

  • george orwell

    My belief is that the grail is/was just a simple bowl.

  • All Seeing Eye

    Interesting article with one exception. The Arc is a Jewish relic and has no connection with Christianity what-so-ever except that there are rumors the catholic church has it hidden away. Christianity has constantly tried to steal Jewish history even claiming that the original bible is theirs. The only thing Jewish associated with Christianity is that they worship a Jew as their Savior,

    • Kent DiColombo

      Not quite, we worship the same god as them, however, we believe that Jesus is the messiah, whereas they do not. We follow the ten commandments as well, which were, and are still supposedly housed within the Ark of the Covenant, which is why it is such a sought after artifact. I could go further in depth, however, the main defining difference between Judaism, and Christianity, is based on whether or not you believe Jesus to be the messiah. Christianity doesn’t necessarily try and steal Jewish history, as it is our history too. Our religion split off from Judaism after all, so much of the history is shared.

      • All Seeing Eye

        Your analogy is not totally correct. Yes Christianity broke off from Judaism, but in the break, many of the things that make Judaism great were lost. Christians believe they must convert people to believe in Jesus, even if it means killing them in the process. For two thousand years Christianity has sought to destroy Judaism. Jews were taxed, forbidden from holding certain jobs, expelled from countries, suffered massacre (the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, Hitler, and others) all with the blessing of the church and the Pope. Judaism teaches learning, Christianity teaches blind faith to its warped teachings. Yes, Christianity broke off from Judaism, but the Bible was written by and for the Jews. Christians don’t even follow the teachings of the Tanach, only those parts they like. Even Jesus does not meet the Bible’s criteria for being the messiah, and Christianity has hated the Jews since that time onward for not believing. The Catholic Church is the original source of all the anti-semitism in the world, and it is one of my greatest disappointments that the plot to try and execute the Pope for the church’s crimes against the Jews during his visit to Israel in 2000 was not carried out.

        • Morgan

          Good summary.

        • Kent DiColombo

          You’re also lumping all of Christianity into one group, when many Christians heavily disagree with the Catholic Church and their methods. Yes, there was heavy persecution against Jews, but that was the Catholic Church, well after the split. Initially, Christians were persecuted just as heavily as Jews, however, at the time, the church was more or less unified. Then, after the Nicene church split in the Schism, the Orthodox Church, which is the true successor, has been at odds with the Catholic Church just as much as Jews have been. This can be seen especially during the Crusades. Most Christians don’t try and convert anybody, we seldom talk religion with people outside of our faith, because we are well aware of differing beliefs, and customs. In fact, nobody outside the Catholic Church even recognizes the pope to have any authority at all. Many Christians do plenty of missionary work to impoverished countries, especially after disasters, to rebuild the infrastructure there, and yes, we do offer Church services to those there, but it is only if they are interested. You’re sadly mistaken if you think we’re all the same, that line of thinking is not dissimilar to how people assume Jews are. Of course there are differences between Christianity and Judaism, as the two religions split over two thousand years ago, it would be ridiculous to assume otherwise.

          • All Seeing Eye

            Thank you for that reply. You raised many points I was not aware of, and I would guess many non-Christians don’t know either. This will bear some thought!

          • Kent DiColombo

            And thank you for being open minded, after all, we all share this Earth together, and the sooner we all understand each other better, the sooner we can all come together.

          • Tundramoss

            Kent, the Jews in Orthodox Russia might disagree with you… and there have been PLENTY of Jewish persecution under Protestant and secular rule in Europe. Your anti-Catholicism bias is showing.

          • Kent DiColombo

            Russia is a different story, I’m referring primarily to the Patriarchate in Constantinople, and the Greek Orthodox Church, not the Russian Orthodox Church. Historically, the Catholic Church has not been too friendly towards other branches of Christianity, or other religions, especially Judaism. As for Protestantism, they shared a similar attitude in the past.

          • Kent DiColombo

            Relations between the Greek Orthodox Church and Judaism, have, for the most part, been relatively warm throughout history. There have been incidents, however, that is to be expected, because they are after all, two separate religions, and won’t see eye to eye on everything.

      • Morgan

        But why should Anglo-Saxon people worship a Middle Eastern Jewish tribal war god? I’m a Pagan and prefer to venerate the deities of MY ancestors. Of course, a lot of them were forced to convert to Christianity at the point of a sword, but they always remained loyal to their own gods, and many Christian churches and shrines were built on top of older Pagan ones. Some of the Pagans who were forced to help build for the Christians managed to sneak Pagan symbols into some of them. Too bad they weren’t given a choice—the ultimate fate of Christianity might well have taken a different turn.

        • Kent DiColombo

          I never said anybody should have to worship any particular religion, it is up to them who they want to worship, if they want to worship anybody at all. Yes, a long time ago, shortly after the church was embraced as the Roman Empire’s state religion, it was forced upon peoples of other lands at the point of the sword, which is unacceptable, however, many other faiths were spread this way, and some still are. Some people still forcefully convert others at to Islam now at the barrel of a rifle, but we still cannot assume it is every follower of that religion. My personal beliefs are for me, however, what I will stress, is that people should be educated, and allowed to make their own decisions.