Body of dead mystic monk to go on tour in see-through crystal coffin
The body of one of the most popular Roamn Catholic saints , the mystic monk Padre Piobegan, will go on tour in temperature controlled glass coffin.
His body has been on display, complete with a partially reconstructed with a life-like silicone mask, in San Giovanni Rotondo.
He was exhumed in the small town in 2008 and he has been on display in the large, temperature-controlled glass reliquary.
The Capuchin monk who died in 1968 and is said by the Catholic Church to have had the “stigmata” – the bleeding wounds of Jesus and his hands and feet.
Pope Francis wanted the body of man who spent most of his life hearing confessions and who was declared a saint in 2002, to be displayed in St Peter’s Basilica during the Catholic Church’s current Holy Year.
But locals in San Giovanni, whose economy revolves around the pilgrim trade, were not happy that the saint was going on the road.
“Personally for me it is a sad day,” said Auro Mizza, one of the hundreds of people who turned out to see the coffin off, many of them with tears in their eyes.
“A saint doesn’t go on pilgrimage, it is the others who go on pilgrimage to the saint.”
The shrine draws close to a million people yearly.
The body, along with that of another, less famous, saint that is being transported to Rome from northern Italy.
They will be displayed in a Rome church before both are moved in procession to St Peter’s on Friday.
They will return to their usual locations later this month.
Many people said the brown-robed Padre Pio was able to predict events in their lives and knew what they were about to confess.
There are thousands of “Padre Pio Prayer Groups” around the world.
Padre Pio was dogged during his life and even after his death by allegations that he was a fake but Church investigators cleared him each time.