St. Maurus Reliquary

Written by Nikola Vachalova

St. Maurus reliquary is a unique Romanesque reliquary that is permanently exhibited in a town Becov nad Teplou in the western part of the Czech Republic. It is considered to be the second most significant and important historical artefacts for Czech culture- the most significant is the Czech Crown Jewels. The reliquary was originally created in the 13th century in order to hold the skeletal remains of St. Maurus, St. John the Baptist and St. Timothy. It is a large case or a casket in a shape of a house with a wooden structure covered with silver plates, it consists of 12 small statues of saints and is decorated with Romanesque metalwork ornamentations and a number of precious gems. It is worth mentioning the person of St. Maurus, although there is not much of reliable information about his life, it is sure that he was a martyr living in the first or third centuries AD. When Becov nad Teplou castle owner Alfred de Beaufort bought the reliquary in 1838 from a church in Belgium- it was originally made for a Benedictine abbey in Belgium, he brought it to Becov nad Teplou and had it repaired. When his grandson had to flee the country in 1945 because he had collaborated with the Nazis, he hid the reliquary in a backfill of a chapel in Becov Castle. The reliquary has remained hidden for 40 years and was found in November in 1985 by criminologists. There were some attempts of buying it but the Czechs refused to sell it, not wanting it to leave the country. The reliquary was first displayed to the public at the exhibition at Prague Castle in 2000, but at that time it has not been fully restored. Finally in 2002 it became a part of a long-term exhibition and is exhibited in a blue dining hall in Becov nad Teplou castle.

For more information about the Karlovy Vary Region where this place is located click here.