Restoration work in Galicia, Spain, may have led to the discovery of four legendary “wonder” rings.
The as yet unauthenticated rings were found during the restoration of the monastery of Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil in Nogueira de Ramuin, Ourense. Restoration work on the altarpiece was underway when an urn was found among the mortal remains of nine bishops.
In one of the four compartments of the urn was probably a silk bag embroidered with gold thread, which contained the rings.
It is believed that the silver rings belonged to the nine bishops and that they were said to have miraculous healing powers.
According to the diocese of Ourense, the nine bishops were so important and respected for the miracles they performed that the monastery closely guarded their mortal remains. However, the rings were considered lost – until today.
Together with the rings, there were also stones and two documents in the bag, one of which said: “These four rings belong to those who remain of the nine holy bishops. They are the ones that remain. The others have disappeared. Through them water is passed for the sick and they heal many.”
Luis Manuel Cuña Ramos, the Episcopal Delegate for Heritage and Cultural Heritage of the Diocese of Ourense, told La Voz de Galicia that the rings are simple and are made of silver fused with another metal. The bag in which they were found was covered with dust from previous work in the church.
The rings are authenticated by the Delegation for Cultural Heritage of the Xunta de Galicia and the restoration teams of the Vatican Museum. Researchers in medieval jewelry and antique textiles will also assist in the authentication of the rings.
By a strange coincidence, the rings were found in the same place where they appear in a novel. In María Oruña’s novel El Bosque De Los Cuatro Vientos (The Forest of the Four Winds) a protagonist goes in search of the rings – and finds them exactly where they were actually found.
La Region reported that Oruña said that “nobody believed in the legend, and the fact that the ancient relics are now appearing legitimizes the documentary work behind it.
The author also highlighted the parallels between fiction and reality, saying that “the character who finds the rings, Amelia, is based on Vania López, the restorer of the project and the person she also discovered in reality,” and in the book the place where they are looking for the rings is “exactly the place where they appeared.
On Twitter, Oruña reported on the discovery of the rings: “Everyone knew that the nine bishops rested in Santo Estevo. Very few believed in the legend of his wonderful rings.
“Now that the circle that began 1000 years ago is closing, the legend is emerging”.