These are the fragments of the bones of Pope St Fabian and St Sebastian that will be buried in the sepulchre when we consecrate our altar. Each altar must contain the relics of a martyr, a practice predicted in the book of the Apocalypse: ‘I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne’ (Rev. 6:9).
A martyr is literally a ‘witness’. Part of the function of an altar is to serve as a witness to our covenant with God, and so it is fitting that their relics are involved in its consecration.
The certificate in the background is the guarantee of their authenticity. #oxfordoratory