Remains of St. Clari
History of the remains
The remains of the first Christian martyr, St. Clari, were donated by Roman Pope Urban VIII (pontificate 1623–1644) to Prince-Bishop Johann IV Marcus von Aldringen, the abbot of a monastery in Seckau, Austria. In the same period, the noble Aldringen family also acquired the Teplice demesne, through field marshal Johann Reichsgraf von Aldringen, the brother of Anna Maria von Aldringen.
In terms of the history of Teplice, the marriage of Anna Maria von Aldringen with Hieronymus von Clary has become an important milestone, as two prominent aristocratic families that were fundamentally instrumental in the further growth of the Teplice demesne up until the end of the Second World War were united by this marriage. Also, the remains of St. Clari belonged amongst the property of the Clary-Aldringen family for the same period.
The actual remains were transported to Teplice in a travel reliquary (shrine), of which the front wood door which was fitted with a lock and bore the Latin inscription CORPUS SANCTI CLARI (remains of St. Clari), and the rear door with a lock and the inscription DONUM SUMI PONT (donation of the Holy Father) have been preserved. Inside the travel reliquary, the remains were placed on ruby velvet pillows on which they still lie today, in a new reliquary. Two original boards from the travel reliquary are placed in a Baroque reliquary that is no longer used, on the left in front of the entrance to this chapel.
After being transported to Teplice, the remains were transferred by bishop Johan IV Marcus von Aldringen into the new Baroque reliquary together with the crown of the martyr and the many jewels that decorated the remains. This original reliquary is also located on the left in front of the entrance to the St. Clari chapel. Apart from the decorative crown, none of the original decorations that were part of the reliquary were preserved after the Second World War.
The top part of the reliquary is partly glazed, while the front part of the reliquary is glazed entirely. It is overlapped by three movable wooden boards, which bear the gold-plated metal inscription CORPVS CLARI / SANCTI MARTYRIS (corpse of Saint martyr Clari). The donation of the remains of St. Clari to Teplice was not accidental. The symbolic reason was a link between the notable spa location and the remains of the martyr who is a recognised patron saint of balneology and traditional medicine, as well as a patron saint of the sacrament of marriage.
The legend of St. Clari
St. Clari (also Clarus – ‘bright’ or ‘clear’ in Latin) was a Christian clergyman who was tortured to death, probably around the year 396. It was concluded from his skeletal remains that he was a man of approximately 40 years of age and of smallish build. However, the age of the remains prohibits determining their precise date based on DNA.
It is inferred from legends that have been recorded over time that this clergyman and healer was killed after several days of torture. The reason was his intransigence, as he did not want to disclose the hiding place of two young people whom he had previously baptised and married in front of God. This had been against the will of the rich family of the girl, who married a young slave. St. Clari not only refused to reveal their hiding place, but also did not want to withdraw God’s blessing and the sacrament of baptism and Christian marriage. Before dying, he had both his eyes gouged out and was then thrown into boiling oil.
The legend tells of a touching story about a faithful dog that spent several days sitting at the grave of his master, St. Clari, until he was taken away by force.
St. Clari is considered a patron of balneology and traditional medicine to the same degree as a patron of the sacrament of marriage. His “hot death” tends to be linked with his blessing of “hot treatments”, that is treatments in hot thermal springs. It is mainly ill spa guests who visit the remains, with a prayer and plea for the recovery of the body.
As do people who are entering the sacrament of marriage. Blessings are not only requested by engaged couples, but also by those whose marital relationship is undergoing a crisis.