AN arm of a dead saint was on display in Bendigo this week as part of a celebration of Christianity.
The right arm of St Francis Xavier was one display at the Sacred Heart Cathedral and St Francis
Xavier Catholic Church in East Bendigo.
St Francis Xavier, who died in 1552, blessed and baptised thousands of people in south Asia.
The arm with which he did this has been venerated in the principal Jesuit Church in Rome, the Gesú, since the early 1600s.
The relic is travelling throughout Australia until December 3.
Xavier was buried on China’s Shangchuan Island, but his body was moved to Malacca two months later.
The church believes his body was incorrupt, which is a belief Godly intervention allowed his body, and that of other saints, to avoid the normal process of decomposition after death as a sign of their holiness.
The church believes when the body was moved, miracles began in the places it was moved to.
They believe from the moment of Xavier’s body’s arrival in Malacca, the plague, which had been raging, abruptly stopped, blind people were given their sight and sick people were healed.
After nine months, the body was moved to Goa in India, where Xavier had worked as a missionary, where it remains.
In 1614 Xavier’s right forearm was detached so it could be an object of devotion.
The tour is part of the church’s Year of Grace.