Under the solemn holy mass led by His Eminence Cardinal Vinko Puljic, the relics of the St. Luke the Evangelist which have been kept in the Convent of the Friars Minor in Dubrovnik for 552 years were exhibited for the first time at the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
According to tradition and some historical data, the relics of the St. Luke the Evangelist have been transferred from Jajce to Dubrovnik immediately after the final Ottoman conquest of Bosnia. They have been kept in the Convent of the Friars Minor in Dubrovnik in the reliquary “The reliquary of the St. Luke’s finger”, a work of an unknown master of Dubrovnik from 1555.
Upon the initiative of the Franciscans from Jajce, with the agreement of two provinces – the Franciscan Province of Bosna Srebrena from Sarajevo and the Franciscan Province of St. Jerome from Zadar, and with the consent of the Diocesan Curia in Dubrovnik, the Convent of the Friars Minor from Dubrovnik returned a part of the relics to the Convent in Jajce. Fr. Veselko Grubisic, the guardian in the Convent of the Friars Minor, handed the relics to the guardian of the Franciscan Convent in Jajce, Fr. Zoran Mandic, on May 21st this year.
The veneration of relics or powers – the physical remains of saints – is present throughout the history of Christianity. Even today, the powers of saints are being kept in the churches and venerated, and it is believed in their miraculous power. The powers are concentrated mainly in the reliquary, which is often a true work of art. That is also the case with the relics of the St. Luke which have been returned to the Franciscan Monastery.
The holy mass was led by the Cardinal Puljic and concelebrated by 30 priests, nuns, seminarians, and a large number of believers of the parish of Jajce and distinguished guests among whom was also the author of the reliquary, the Croatian sculptor Kuzmo Kovacic.
In his homily, the Cardinal spoke about the St. Luke, his life, emphasizing the dimension of mercy and taking Luke’s life as an example to today’s believers. The Cardinal also reflected on the importance and significance of returning the relics of this saint to Jajce.