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The Relic-Mongers

by Michael Díaz Feito

Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Chapters: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Chapter 14: Parade


News of Abbatissa Antía’s visions had spread. She became popular. Three scribes visited daily to copy her words and make new books for the abbey’s library.

Antía illuminated these books herself, schematizing her prophecy of the Third Age: leafy nuns planted like trees along the paved streets of the new city, nuns transformed by water, soil, and sun, that is, by the Holy Spirit. Foreign monks traveled from abroad to make copies of her books for their houses, too.

“We will be so mixed with the Holy Spirit that man’s law becomes unnecessary, and scandalous dichotomies dissolve with our bodies, which will be like the drizzle of Galicia,” Antía wrote.

Books were no longer enough, however. In principio erat Verbum. They were past the beginning. When Fèlix the Relic-Monger was paid, and the bodies of Saints Eustochium and Paula were finally acquired, the patrons of Crunia celebrated Abbatissa Antía’s real success. Now the town could become a city, and with the otherworldly blessing of the relics, a new altar could be consecrated, a portal to the divine, and a cathedral established.

Soror Liuve returned to the abbey, weak and jaundiced by an illness that later proved contagious. She followed Antía’s advice and waited until the saints were secured in their gold reliquaries before she denounced Fèlix as a Cathar.

He was arrested by Knights Hospitaller outside Compostela and taken to Toulouse, where Manfred of Cologne, the new papal legate in Provence, oversaw his trial and execution along with many others.

Even King Alfonso IX, invited by Archbishop Pedro of Compostela, attended the translation of Saints Eustochium and Paula. Each reliquary was transported on a bier by four clerics, and Abbatissa Antía headed the solemn procession.

Antía began the ceremony on the beach, singing a Te Deum in the shadow of the Roman lighthouse, that birds’-nest ruin on the rocks. And then she led her special guests, both clerical and lay, up the wet green hill to her abbey.

Antía slipped on the slick grass but did not fall. Her shuffling feet maintained balance and kicked up mud, spattering her white cloak. It was pungent dirt, delicious to inhale.

Copyright © 2017 by Michael Díaz Feito

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