Do holy relics lose power over time? It seems as if holy relics account for fewer miracles than in times past. The handkerchiefs of Paul had incredible power to heal (Acts 19: 12). Today one seldom hear that anyone gets healed by a relic.

Anyone that knows can answer but I think the Catholics, etc are the experts and I am very interested in the use of relics in exorcisms. The question was prompted by the classification of relics so maybe an explanation of how that works as well.

  • Have you ever heard of exorcisms? The Catholic church still performs them, where the holy relics are still believed to have power to heal.
    – Double U
    Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 15:09

2 Answers 2


Did they ever have power? Relics, like people, do not have power. The power comes from God. If you have faith that God can heal, He will reward your faith.

And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

Numbers 21:8-9

In the middle of the desert, people began to doubt God and speak against Him and His servant Moses. And so, God retired His divine protection from them, giving open way for the beasts of the desert to attack. Then God gave Moses the command to make a serpent. Was there anything special about the handcrafted serpent? No. Was there any power in it? No. Why have them look at it then? Because those who believed (had faith) in God and in the words of His servant Moses looked, and were healed by God. Those who did not and looked for their own remedy died.

The power is not in the relic. The power is not even in a person. The power comes from God Himself.

  • But that's like saying "Has the sunsets become less beautiful as I got older" and answering that with "Beauty comes from God". It doesn’t really answer the question. Miracles used to be often attributed to relics, and now it's unusual. The question is why. Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 16:35
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    @LennartRegebro Not really. It is answering the question because if relics NEVER had power to begin with, then the power of relic has never reduced. Miracles could be attributed to relics. Is it true? No. No relic has any power. Saying that a relic has power is making an idol, as you are attributing to an item something which belongs only to God. Commented Oct 15, 2013 at 12:29
  • Several people are reported to have made miracles in the Bible, with God working through these people. The question assumes that this used to be the same for relics, but that his seems to be less of the case today. The answer "No, God never worked miracles through relics" is very different from "It wasn't the relics themselves that had power". Your answer is the second one, but you seem to intend to say the first one? Commented Oct 15, 2013 at 12:40
  • @LennartRegebro brother, with all due respect, the question is "Do relics lose power over time?" and my answer is no, because they never had any power to begin with. God used items in a very limited way as often, these items led people to idolatry, which is no different today. Even when the items were used; ie. bronze serpent, Jesus' robe, Ark of the Covenant; the power NEVER proceeded from the item, but from God Himself. Commented Oct 15, 2013 at 12:54
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    But that still then means that the question is "Are God using relics less now", which you are avoiding asking by only addressing a technicality of phrasing. Commented Oct 15, 2013 at 13:40

It's not the power of the relics that has changed, but peoples belief in miracles. With the rise of science since the renaissance, people are less inclined to believe claims of miracles without proof.

  • Ironically I agree with this answer even though I suspect we disagree about the existence of miracles. As would you mind offering some evidence of your answer? It's hard to tell if it has any basis in Christianity. (To be fair, the question is sub-par.) Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 21:58
  • @JonEricson I doubt it's even true, there have been tons of Marian apparitions in the 20th century. Some verified and some discredited. But even discredited miracles discredit this answer.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Oct 15, 2013 at 3:46
  • @PeterTurner How do discredited clams of miracles discredit this answer? Commented Oct 15, 2013 at 5:28
  • @JonEricson I'm not sure what kind of evidence you would accept. Or need, for that matter. As for basis in Christianity, it has basis in reality, and I would assume that you claim that this is the same thing. Commented Oct 15, 2013 at 5:34
  • @Lennart Regebro: On Christianity, we are looking for theological evidence. Commented Oct 15, 2013 at 11:10

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