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Relics of St Anthony of Padua brought to Southwark

Hundreds of people queued inside and outside St George's Cathedral on Friday evening to see relics of St Anthony of Padua.

Relics of St Anthony of Padua brought to Southwark
Relics of St Anthony of Padua brought to Southwark

The two relics were brought into the cathedral more than an hour before the All Saints Day Mass on Friday evening but already most seats had been taken. Shortly afterwards several appeals had to be made for a growing crowd to be patient and move back from the altar.

The cathedral remained open late to allow visitors to venerate the relics and leave prayer requests to be placed at the saint's tomb in Padua Cathedral.

The two relics, skin and flesh removed from the saint's tomb in Padua during the last century, are held in a bust of St Anthony and a reliquary.

The visit is part of a tour of the British Isles marking the 750th anniversary of the finding of Anthony's body by St Bonadventure. Stops have been made in Belfast, Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool.

'St Anthony' travelled to Southwark from Chester before final stops at Westminster Cathedral and London's Italian Church in Clerkenewell.

"Instead of people having to go to Padua to venerate the relics of St Anthony, he has come to them," said Fr Mario Conte, a Franciscan Greyfriar from Padua who is travelling with the relics.

Anthony, a Franciscan who lived from 1195 to 1231, is the patron saint of Portugal, where he was born, and lost articles.

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