Saint Clari the martyr (also known as Clarus – Latin for clear/pure) was a Christian cleric martyred in around 396. He was among the first Christians that were cruelly persecuted for their beliefs, thus he is considered among the first martyrs. It follows from his skeletal remains that he was a slightly-built man of around forty.
The legend claims that this cleric and healer was killed after several days of cruel torture. The reason was his unwillingness to reveal the hiding place of two young people he had previously baptised and married, all against the will of the maiden’s wealthy parents, incensed over the fact that their daughter wedded a young slave. Not only did Clari not want to reveal their sanctuary, but he also did not want to retract the divine blessing and sanctity of baptisms and Christian marriages. Before his death, both his eyes were poked out and then he was thrown into boiling oil. The legend also tells the touching story of his loyal dog, who sat several days by his master’s grave until he was taken away by force. Clari was canonised for his deeds and, in light of the reasons and manner of his death, he was named the patron saint of spas, healing and the sanctity of marriage.
His remains hold a special place thanks to his position as one of the first martyrs and to the fact that they are complete, which is definitely not common.
History of the remains
The acquisition of the remains of St Clari is firmly connected to the noble Aldringen family, which obtained the Teplice estate in the 17th century. From the perspective of the history of Teplice, Anna von Aldringen’s marriage with Hieronymus von Clary was an important milestone. This marriage brought together two important noble families, which left a significant mark on the further blossoming of the Teplice manor up until the end of the Second World War.
The Roman Pope Urban VIII (the pontiff from 1623 – 1644) gave the remains of the early Christian martyr Saint CLARI to the Prince and Bishop Johann IV Marcus von Aldringen, the Abbot in the monastery in Seckau, Austria. Surely by the name of the aforementioned Bishop, you can guess that he, too, belonged to the Aldringen family. And since Teplice was already known for its medicinal springs even then, the remains of the saint that is considered to be the saint of spas were literally a gift from heaven. If you noticed the similarity between the names Clary and Clari, you may be disappointed. This part of the Clary – Aldringen noble family is no relation to the poor Clari, though it certainly gave many opportunities for reflection. Nevertheless, Saint Clari also found his way to Teplice and what better place than a spa.
The remains themselves were taken to Teplice in a travelling reliquary, of which the front wooden door equipped with a lock and the Latin inscription CORPUS SANCTI CLARI (the remains of Saint Clari) and the back door with a lock and the inscription DONUM SUMI PONT (a gift from the Holy Father) have been preserved. Inside the travelling reliquary, the remains were placed on ruby velvet pillows, on which they rest until this day. The two original panels of the travelling reliquary have been placed in a baroque reliquary, no longer in use, to the left of the entrance to this chapel.
After being taken to Teplice, the remains were transferred by Bishop Johann IV Marcus von Aldringen into a new baroque reliquary together with the crown of a martyr and many accessories that decorated the remains. This original reliquary is also located to the left from the entrance to the Chapel of St CLARI. None of the original decorations that were part of the reliquary were left after the Second World War, except for the decorative crown. That is simply the way things were.
The upper part of the reliquary is partially glass, as is the entire front. It is covered in three movable panels with the gold inscription CORPVS CLARI / SANCTI MARTYRIS (the body of CLARI / the holy martyr).
St CLARI is the patron saint of spas and healing, as well as the sanctity of marriage. His “hot death” was connected with the patronage of “hot medicine”, meaning treatments in thermal springs. Thus, ill spa guests primarily come to the remains with a prayer and a request to heal their bodies.
Similarly, people entering into the sanctity of marriage also come, as do those whose marriage is going through a crisis.