Treated as saints, adorned with jewels and fabrics, the martyrs of the Roman catacombs were unearthed from the funerary labyrinth during the Counter-Reformation and ushered into triumphant glory. While they had been forgotten for over 1200 years, these remains suddenly captivated Christian Europe from the 16th to the 19th centuries. These skeletons are often anonymous, but the desire to revive the Catholic cult in regions close to Protestant lands caused a peculiar "miracle." Many of these bodies were canonized without any real evidence of their identity. They were also given names and prominent places in convents and monasteries. Switzerland, in particular, was heavily involved in this trade of relics. Even today, it is brimming with priceless treasures. Some are hidden, forgotten, or even scorned. Others are venerated and displayed as testaments of faith and baroque works. Straddling the macabre and the sublime, these bones adorned with gold and silver that seem ready to come back to life at the Messiah's return are primarily historical and artistic relics. An unrecognized heritage finally rediscovered thanks to this unique work.

Photographer Carole Alkabes traveled Switzerland to breathe life into the Katakombenheilige, capturing images that extol the splendor of these unknown martyrs. The largest religious sites opened their doors for her to revive this curious cult. And while most of the relics are, in a manner of speaking, artificial, they are no less meaningful and recount, in their opulence, the devotion of the convents that adorned them for the saints they were supposed to embody. A vivid tribute, which contrasts with our current perception of death, characterized by restraint and sobriety.

About tombstonestudio

Carole Alkabes, a Swiss-born photographer, studied in San Francisco, where she obtained a BFA in photojournalism. Establishing her studio in Ste-Croix, Swiss Jura, she's renowned for her distinctive, humorous, and audacious visual narratives that have drawn an international clientele.

Author of "Martyrs – Les reliques oubliées", she embarked on a five-year journey uncovering Switzerland's hidden treasures – the adorned relics of saints from Roman catacombs. Her tireless exploration into ancient monastic sites revealed a lost heritage, leaving even historians astounded by her findings.

Further extending her influence, Carole is a member of Impressum, contributing to numerous newspapers and magazines throughout Europe.

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