St. Zdislava's crystal reliquary was made for Pope František in the Pačinek Glass glassworks in Kunratice u Cvikova near Česká Lípa. A unique casket with the relics of a Czech saint and patroness arrived in the Vatican on November 11 2021. The reliquary was a gift to the Pope from the Czech Bishops' Conference and from Catholic Christians from all over the Czech Republic.
A unique glass reliquary and its symbolismReliquaries are containers for relics, or the remains of saints. In the history of the Catholic Church, they have a thousand-year tradition and are often very ornate and expensive. For example, the Reliquary of St. Maurus in Bečov nad Teplou is considered the second rarest artefact in the Czech Republic after the Czech Crown Jewels.
This new reliquary for the Pope has the form of a monstrance, which bears a small bone of a saint in its centre. However, the fragile bone would not withstand the heat of molten glass, so a cold technique was chosen - glass gluing. The monstrance is made of clear, densely shaped glass, and the glassmakers at the Pačinek Glass glassworks in north Bohemia near Česká Lípa laboured
over it for about two weeks. Its parts then spent the same amount of time in an engravings workshop where the reliquary was decorated with fine engravings. Photo source: Vatican News
All reliquaries are shrouded in interesting symbolism, and this reliquary is no exception. Its three cameos symbolise the Holy Trinity and the three divine virtues. The front features 12 rays for the 12 apostles. At the back, the monstrance has 7 rays, as a reminder that God rested on the seventh day of creation.