The Relic Collection at St. John Gualbert's Church – Buffalo, New York - Atlas Obscura

The Relic Collection at St. John Gualbert's Church

This sprawling collection of saintly relics includes such fascinations as wood from the Cross of Jesus and threads from Mary's veil. 


Father Michael Burzynski has been collecting Christian relics for over 25 years. After being appointed to lead the parish at St. John Gualbert’s Roman Catholic Church just East of Buffalo, New York he brought his entire collection to a side altar in the church where they will remain on permanent display for visiting and veneration.

Across his years collecting precious religious relics ranging from across the three official classifications of relic. From First Class relics, which must have a direct connection to Jesus Christ or be a saintly body part, to Second Class relics which must have belonged to a saint or have been used to torture a martyr, to Third Class relics which simply have to have come in contact with a First or Second Class relic, each has an example in Burzynski’s collection. 

Some of the more notable items in the collection include relics claiming to be a piece of the True Cross of Jesus Christ, a thread that is said to have come from the veil of the Virgin Mary, and countless bones of apostles and saints. More than some hobbyist, the items in Burzynski’s collection have been authenticated by the Vatican and have the paperwork to prove it. 

The Relic Collection at St. John Gualbert’s Church is now a permanent display that Burzynski officially donated to the Buffalo Diocese. He continues to purchase relics for the display to this day and admits that there are a number of fakes out there, and that he has even purposefully purchased some just to prove his suspicions about certain dealers. In the end Father Burzynski’s devotion to preserving these holy relics may be the most wondrous part of the display. 

Know Before You Go

The relics are open for viewing only during the morning and weekend services.

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