Needless to say people took this whole business very seriously. The church created a ranking system for relics based on the items connection to the holy person in question. Relics were divided into 4 classes. First class relics were items that came directly from the body itself, either the whole thing, a large portion of it, or any other small piece of the whole such as bone fragments. These items were usually held by a church beneath the alter, or size permitting encased in a small box and worn around the neck of the devoted. Second class relics were items that were owned or used by the holy person, clothing or other items. The last two classes were dependent on the concept of "beneficent contagion". Third class relics were items that had deliberately touched first class relics and fourth class relics were items that had deliberately touched second class relics. In short, anything could be or become a relic.
Relics were a big deal, they were used to justify the creation of many churches and cathedrals. They were also big business, they were bought and sold like sports memorabilia for the pious. One glaringly obvious problem was the fakes were ridiculously easy to produce. Authenticity being something of a novelty in the medieval period, people began taking junk and claiming that it was a relic and swindling some poor peasant out of their excess barley or whatever they had to barter with. Eventually people began to take umbrage with the selling of relics. It occurred to some people that there was only a finite amount of wood that could have actually been a part of the cross on which Jesus was crucified and it was unlikely that all of it had made its way to an isolated German town in the 16th century. Relics were one of the issues that early Protestants had with the Catholic Church and helped to fuel the reformation. They persist to this day, but have nowhere near the value they once had. They have been replaced, by sports memorabilia.
Sports memorabilia are modern day relics. Their value is determined by the items' relationship to the player (holy person) in question. It is obvious that these relics are big business. As illustrated by 1967ers one can find just about any kind of relic they desire for sale on the internet. Like religious relics sports memorabilia can be divided into classes. Ted Kennedy's false teeth would qualify as a first class relic. Any game used item would qualify as a second class. Autographs would be considered third class relics. Jerseys that have been worn to games and ticket stubs or programs would be forth class. These items are sought after because of their connection to the players and events that we as fans worship. We want them because they bring us closer to the team we love, and maybe just maybe if we have them they will bring us luck and the Leafs will win a game.
I write all this for a few reasons. First, I have been endued with a sense of history and pride by Death_by_Leafs' passionate post. Second, I want to see what relics everyone here has and holds dear. Lastly, I'm a nerd and miss writing history papers.
So, what relics do you own, or would like to own, leave your list in the comments.
Signed Doug Gilmour jersey. (third class relic)
One Leaf Home Jersey worn to two Leaf games. (fourth class relic)
Various tickets stubs from games attended. (fourth class relic)
- T-shirt my mom made with a picture of me meeting Gilmour on it. (fourth class relic)