"St. Valerius at rest in in Weyarn, Germany. When archaeologists unlocked the catacombs of Rome in 1578, they unleashed a wave of religious fervor. Catholic officials disinterred skeletal remains, which they assumed to be early Christian martyrs, and had artisans reassemble them. Encrusted with gold and jewels, the skeletons then went on display in lavish shrines across Europe to convey the glory that awaited the Church's devout followers in the afterlife. But by the early 19th century their saintly authenticity came into question and, in a dramatic reversal of fortune, many of the relics were hidden from view or destroyed."
📸 by Paul Koudounaris