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A Martyr's Bone Was Plucked From the Sea, Then the Trash

Newser — Kate Seamons

St. Clement was said to have been put to death by being tied to a boat anchor and drowned. Just shy of 2,000 years later, what's believed to be a piece of one of his bones has been presented to Westminster Cathedral.

The path from there to here is filled with legend, crime, and a Google search. Clement, one of the Catholic Church's first popes, was killed on the orders of the Roman emperor Trajan around AD99, and his watery death led to him becoming a patron saint of mariners, reports the Guardian.

The BBC reports something miraculous was said to have followed: The sea receded, revealing his bones, a fragment of which reportedly came to be kept in a wax-sealed case that shows the words "EX OSS S. CLEMENTIS PM."

It was recently stolen from the car of the unnamed person who owned it and ended up in London's trash.

It might have stayed there were it not for Enviro Waste owner James Rubin, whose staff set aside the case while pulling items that could be recycled or refurbished from the waste it collected.

A Google search of those Latin words led Rubin to believe it was a saint's bone, and he blogged about the find, asking for advice on what to do.

Some 650 suggestions later, he settled on giving it to Westminster Cathedral, and the owner, who also emerged, agreed to hand it over on permanent loan.

A ceremony was held to transfer the relic on Tuesday. (A thief stole what was left of a saint's brain.)

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