At the end of the Angevin nave, next to the Baroque altar of San Giuseppe, preceded by a narrow threshold closed by a bronze door, stands the Chapel of the relics, also called “of the Holy Cross”.
Originally this room was used as a sacristy, but during the 18th century it was the subject of expansion and decoration works which made it a splendid room destined to house the sacred remains of martyrs. In particular, a very precious fragment of the Cross of Christ was venerated in it, set in a silver reliquary: it was donated by Frederick II and was placed in the center of the marble altar. Today it has been replaced by a copy, while the original is kept in the Devotional Museum.
Most of the relics were brought from Rome in the 1600s: in recent years, those of the so-called “saints of mercy” have been added (John Paul II, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, Faustina Kowalska, Bronislao Markiewicz), witnesses in land of God’s boundless love for men and symbols of the Sanctuary’s penitential and reconciliation vocation.
A few months ago, the Chapel underwent careful protection and restyling work: the thermal insulation will allow safe conservation of the goods kept and will make the environment more welcoming; the painting of the walls, the restoration of the furnishings and a new lighting will restore majesty to this place where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed every day.