Thursday, November 10, 2005

Creepy yet beautiful

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From Wikipedia:
The Sedlec Ossuary is a small Christian chapel, located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic. The ossuary contains approximately 40,000 human skeletons which have been artistically arranged to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel.

Henry, the abbot of the Cistercian monastery in Sedlec was sent to the Holy Land by King Otakar II of Bohemia in 1278. When he returned, he brought with him a small amount of earth he had removed from Golgotha and sprinkled it over the abbey cemetery. The word of this pious act soon spread and the cemetery in Sedlec became a desirable burial site throughout Central Europe. During the Black Death in the mid 14th century, and after the Hussite Wars in the early 15th century many thousands of people were buried there and the cemetery had to be greatly enlarged.

Around 1400 a Gothic church was built in the center of the cemetery with a vaulted upper level and a lower chapel to be used as an ossuary for the mass graves unearthed during construction, or simply slated for abolition to make room for new burials. After 1511 the task of exhuming skeletons and stacking their bones in the chapel was, according to legend, given to a half-blind monk of the order.

Rest of the article.

A church in Rome - Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, or Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins, has a similar ossuary, made out of the bones of over 4,000 Capuchin friars collected between 1528 and 1870.

Read more about ossuaries, also called "bone boxes" - did you know that the ossuary of the high priest during the time of Christ, Caiaphas, has been discovered?

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, me and my mummy interest, I've come across this place in several books/tv specials. Weird, isn't it?