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Catholic Dictionary




Shrine Church of St. Sernin. The church of many relics, notably St. Thomas Aquinas' sacred remains. The building of the church began in the fourth century. The body of St. Sernin, Apostle of Toulouse and its first bishop, was transferred there. Soon after, the bodies of Sts. Papoul, Honestus, Sernin's disciples, and the body of St. Exuperius, who completed the church, were also placed in the shrine. Charlemagne sent the bodies of St. Susanna, St. Acisclus, and her sister St. Victoria, martyrs of Córdova, and the first crusaders returning gave the church the revered head of St. Bartholomew and the body of St. Barnabas. At the time of the French Revolution the sacred remains of St. Thomas Aquinas were transferred from the custody of the Dominicans at Toulouse to St. Sernin's, and today they repose there in a gold and silver casket. Several popes have visited the church and their gifts have enriched it. Pope Urban VIII granted the same indulgences to those who visit the seven altars of St. Sernin's as could be gained by visiting the seven altars of St. Peter's in Rome. In 1100 a special confraternity was established with the duty, accepted under oath, to care for the precious relics at St. Sernin's.