Officials in the small Italian town of Mottola have found relics of the community”s patron saint, St. Thomas Becket, Vatican News has reported.
“Together with the Bishop of Castellaneta, Claudio Maniago, we have searched the sanctuaries that could contain the relics of Saint Thomas,” said FatherÂ Sario Chiarelli, the rector of the Cathedral in Mottola. “The last contact was with a church of Verona that bears his name, but nothing came of it. Then, the surprise: two relics were here in Mottola, hidden in as many holy stones [altar stones]. In short, we had been searching for what we already had.”
The two relics were discovered during restoration work in the Mottola”s Cathedral, “Mother Church of Holy Mary of the Assumption.” One was previously identified but had been lost. The second, a fragment of bone, was a new discovery. Both relics were placed in a new altar during the re-consecration of the chapel.
Thomas Becket served as Chancellor of England and later, Archbishop of Canterbury. He was murdered in 1170 by agents of Henry II after a long dispute between the future saint and the king over Church vs. state authority.