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I am surprised that the Jewish aspect of this concept isn't mentioned. I looked up this article to find citations to sources. I had never heard a term for it, but it has traditionally been seen as so central to Judaism that it is considered a component of the Thirteen Princples by Orthodox Jews. The convergence of "bodily resurrection" and what is defined here as incorruptibility makes them almost indistinguishable in Orthodox Judaism. I really don't want to do the research to start the appropriate section correctly, but this article should be useful. Pay particular attention to the part about cremation. Decomposition is seen as atonement for sins. The fewer sins a person commits, the less "chibut kever" (rattling of the grave) that person gets. Righteousness, at least to the Orthodox, is proven by the lack of decomposition. I have also seen this cited (I think in the Jewish Book of Why) as the reason why Jewish funerals/grave visits do not include flowers, but rather placing stones on the grave. (talk) 07:31, 16 April 2008 (UTC)


The phenonmenon has many precedents is Islam too I believe. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Conspirisi (talkcontribs) 15:46, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

check out answer to q7

That reference seems to rely upon an inferred syllogism to assert that Islamic saints are incorrupt (souls suffer from what happens to a decaying body; the saintless do not suffer in the afterlife; therefore their bodies must not decaying.) Does anyone know of a source which actually cites a witnessed case of incorruptibility? Or are the incorrupt those who are assumed into Heaven, like they assert Mohammed, Jesus and Mary were? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:56, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Two questions[edit]

  • Is it worthwhile to include an explanation of the difference between a body being incorruptible or well preserved?
If there are useful things to say about it, sure!
  • The article currently discusses incorruptibility in Christian cultures, but there are examples of it from other cultures - secularly, well preserved corpses could be seen as incorruptible, some Buddhist monks have their bodies preserved through a system of drying and coating in gold leaf, in another example a well preserved or incorruptible corpse of a monk was found and venerated, and some followers of Paramahansa Yogananda claimed his body was incorruptible. Would it be appropriate to expand the article in this way? MrTrev 04:06, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
I think yes. That's why I added the subheading "Incorruptibility in Christianity", because the concept is wider than Christianity alone. Additional subheadings might be useful. As a Christian myself, I personally tend to give more credence to the Christian claims, but I'm also an NPOV fanatic and thus I think this article needs to be as complete as possible! Lawrence King 06:39, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I've added a couple of possible examples. I decided not to include the Buddhist monks, as they are deliberately preserved. You could argue the same for Paramahansa Yogananda, but his followers maintained otherwise. I felt it worthwhile to show there was disagreement over the cause, but this is a tricky area to get NPOV, so I'd appreciate you double checking. I'm not happy with the Incidence of Incorruptibility section but don't know how better to phrase what I'm trying to say here. MrTrev 19:25, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
I added a couple words to the case of Yogananda, since the supposed "incorruptibility" was observed only after 20 days. I didn't go into detail about how that's perfectly normal, but a modern body preserved for waking lasting 20 days is not the same thing, in my book, as a body lying in the ground for decades before being dug back up. I'm content to allow readers to infer that distinction, however, rather than introduce a dispute. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:02, 3 April 2011 (UTC)


Just a question, but should this article also deal with instances where a specific body part was found incorruptible? (Typically a heart, but other instances are also in folklore/religion) Sherurcij (talk) (Terrorist Wikiproject) 05:02, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Appropriatness of tone[edit]

Given that incorruptability is mythic, I find it odd that the Wikipedia choses to discuss it as if it were real. The section on "causes of incorruptability" is hardly good writing. Its a bit as if we had an article on flat Earth mythology that discussed "why the Earth is flat" as if it truly was flat. sotonohito

Is it really fair, or even true, to say that it's mythic? There are dozens of reports of holy people whose bodies remain incorrupt years, sometimes centuries, after their deaths. Do you have cites proving that all of those incidences are false? -RaCha'ar 01:42, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
I'd disagree it is mythic. The explanations are mythic, but there are a number of cases where bodies have been found to be remarkably well preserved. Myself, I lean towards a physical explanation, probably related to the physical environment the corpse is in, but we have to acknowledge that others see it as metaphysical, spiritual, divine, or suchlike. MrTrev 13:52, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
Certainly some distinction needs to be made. Some cases are more inexplicable than others. The body of St. Innocent of Irkutsk was the only incorrupt one found in the cemetery, or even in the same part of the cemetery, although it was treated no differently. On the other hand, no matter how much I venerate him it must be admitted that the relics of St. John (Maximovitch) of Shanghai and San Francisco occupied a metal casket inside an airtight sarcophagus in what must have been a completely anaerobic environment after a portion of the inner casket oxidized. Even a devout believer might be excused for thinking there was not much miraculous about incorruptibility in that case, although it is a blessing to have intact relics for veneration. TCC (talk) (contribs) 23:03, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
"In Roman Catholicism, if a body remains incorruptible after death, this is generally seen as a sign that the individual is a saint, although not every saint is expected to have an incorruptible corpse."

Seems kinda mythic doesn't it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by TheKnight27 (talkcontribs) 13:13, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

It begins "In Roman Catholicism...". If someone who believes Catholicism is baloney reads it, the attribution is like a disclaimer. But to a believer, it's like an authentication. Everyone's happy and nobody has to bend the truth or inject their opinion into the subtext. InedibleHulk (talk) 17:12, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

I have to agree with the original post. This is obviously a complex biochemical issue specific to one or more unique attributes of a persons physiology. The article writes not from an objective, descriptive stance but from the fantastical theistic point - something that goes against the nature of an open forum. The article needs to be completely re written in terms of history, examples and then what is really going on. Christians should not be allowed to write their own articles as if they were true, just as I cannot write an article on Christianity while openly assuming it is an emergent property of human cultural and biological evolution. Either present both 'opinions' in a balanced way or write the entire article objectively. This is just sad. (talk) 22:10, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

St Zita[edit]

We have a photo of her body, yet her name does not appear in the list of incorruptible people, or anywhere else in the article. Her own article makes no reference to her incorruptibility. Does she belong here or not? JackofOz 02:27, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

It seems to me there should be a better picture anyway because her body does not look so incorrupted to me. St. Bernadette for example looks completly normal, Zita looks like a mummy?--JaymzRR 02:50, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Saint Bernadette Soubirous died in 1879[edit]

A good example of a Saint included on the list, she left Her Body April 16th 1879.

Pictured here:

Pictured on the cover of this a thorough study of the Incorruption of the Bodies. The (1) Deliberately preserved, (2) Accidentally preserved and (3) The Incorruptibles (i.e. Saint Bernadette):

Here we have a picture of Saint Bernadette at the time of her Death in 1879: (photo quality from technology available at the time, in 1879;considerably very clear I think)

Here we have a picture of Saint Bernadette on June 6, 1997 (118 years later). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 12:58, 4 March 2007 (UTC). 13:04, 4 March 2007 (UTC) 13:04, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

The face of St Bernadette that is displayed to pilgrims is actually a wax mask. (talk) 01:04, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

There some good source material on it here with the detailed descriptions of the body from 1909, 1919 and 1925. The website is a religious one, but the accounts of the various doctors and pathologists are quite frank about the points where the preservation of the body was less than perfect. It seems a thin layer of wax was laid over the hands and face in 1925 before it went on public display. There was apparently slight blackening of the skin caused by high carbon content in the coffin (as distinct from blackening caused by putrefication). I don't know if there are any photos widely available of the face without the wax coating. ANB (talk) 23:19, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

List of saints[edit]

John Newman has not been canonized. He's only venerable. Lexo 21:05, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Wax mask[edit]

Cabinet of Wonders posted on this subject, & included mention that the saint pictured in the article's lead has had her face "refurbished" with a wax mask. This is probably worthy of mention, but I don't have time to see if I can find a better cite than the article above. Anybody have anything? If not, I'll try to remember to come back later. --mordicai. 17:29, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Ha, especially because closer reading shows that Wikipedia is the source cited in the article...okay, well. Now to decide if the picture requires a caveat or similar...--mordicai. 21:06, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
I've gone ahead & added mention; don't want the photos to be misleading. --mordicai. 20:52, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
Hmmm, I just recently saw the incorrupt corpses of St. Vincent de Paul, St. Catherine Labouré and Saint Louise de Marillac in Paris. I'm afraid I couldn't help but notice how similar they looked to wax models I've seen in wax museums. I admit that I'm a skeptical person by nature, but I honestly believe that these incorruptables (at least the ones I saw) are nothing more than elaborate hoaxes. Of course, a fervent believer will always dismiss this as pure nonsense. Are there any references to independent (or dare I say the word, "scientific") verifications of these bodies? Ga2re2t 10:26, 11 October 2007 (UTC)
I can tell you that in some cases, they just put a coat of wax over the hands and face of the saint. It supposedly helps protect it from damage. I know that in the case of Saint Bernadette Soubirous (of Lourdes fame) was exhumed several times, each time her body was found to be in a perfect state even though the Rosary in her hands was rusted and there were other signs of decay. Each time, they'd take her body, wash it, put a new habit on it, then bury it again. The last time they exhumed the body, it was for permanent display; they gave it the usual wash and change, but the body suffered water damage. So they coated it with wax, perhaps to hide the water damage, and to protect it. I don't know if there were scientific explorations into these incorruptible cases, but there wouldn't be anything wrong if there were. In fact, if anything, the Church greatly encourages scientists to try to find flaws in supposed-miracles, to protect the faithful from venerating a miracle that really isn't one. J.J. Bustamante 15:52, 11 October 2007 (UTC)
There's a serious misunderstanding here. It is correct that in the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal in Paris, St. Catherine Labouré's incorrupt body is on display. However, the 'body' of St. Louise de Marillac is a wax statue/figure that contains her relics. I can see how this would be confusing, but it was very clear to me when I was there. I don't know where you saw the body of St. Vincent de Paul - his heart is preserved in a reliquary, but there is no image of his body (other that what is obviously a marble statue) as far as I know. Here is a link to the official website of the Shrine, which has information (although poorly translated from the French). Click on the picture of the chapel for the 'tour,' then the coffin on the far left for information about St. Louise de Marillac. St. Vincent de Paul's relics are on the right, and St. Catherine is in the coffin to the right of the center. SHarold (talk) 06:42, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
There is a book called The Incorruptibles which can be found on but it seems to be written by someone who believes in all known cases of incorruptibility and who only poses the "right" questions. I'll try to do some more research on the area. Ga2re2t 10:22, 12 October 2007 (UTC)
"each time her body was found to be in a perfect state" - there are major POV problems in this article. These are only claims, not facts, and pious fraud is very common so it would not be suprising to me if this were not true, or exaggerated. The water damage reason to use a mask sounds like an excuse to me. Does anyone know of any photos of well documented incorupts? Or any good evidence of fraud - wax passing for real bodies? Do people who see bernadette understand that they are just seeing wax? Liam1564 (talk) 15:50, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
The article features an image of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, but he wears a wax mask. Since nothing more than his face is seen I do not see what qualifies the caption "The incorrupt body of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina." This image should be deleted. Areyousancho (talk) 13:54, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Saint Frances Cabrini[edit]

This article lists Saint Cabrini to have been incorrupt, yet the main article for her explicitly says the opposite. Does anyone happen to know which version is true? I'd be happy to correct whichever article is inaccurate, but I just don't know which.J.J. Bustamante 03:06, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

Blessed Virgin Mary[edit]

Just a thought, should we include the Blessed Virgin Mary in this article? She's the only one whose incorrupt state is a matter of dogmatic fact. Any thoughts?J.J. Bustamante 03:11, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

According to the Catholic Church, the Virgin Mary was assumed into Heaven. In contrast, the incorruptibles are the earthly remains of saints that never succombed to decomposition. Also, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, as far as I am aware, is not a shared dogmatic fact amongst all Christian faiths. Ga2re2t 15:35, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

Buddhist Monk[edit]

The article makes reference to "a Buddhist monk." It does nto say whom this monk is. Yet there is a case of supposedly verified incorruptibility of Hambo Lama Itigelov, a Buddhist monk exhumed in 2002.,3759,0,0,1,0

Can someone confirm this with another source? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:31, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

Major POV problem here![edit]

On the St. Bernadette photo, an editor has changed

She is shown here with a wax mask.


Her incorrupt state is evident here in this recent photo.

Well, which is it? Are we looking at a wax mask or an incorrupt face? I hardly think we can have an article about incorruptibles with an illustration of a face that might not be an incorrupt face at all. The article needs to be crystal clear what we're looking at. Facts, please, not faith. EverybodyLovesSomebody (talk) 00:37, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

It's a wax mask. The photo caption has already been updated. Dgf32 (talk) 19:45, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Since no one has provided any evidence that the photo shows any thing other than a wax mask I've gone ahead and removed it. - Headwes (talk) 18:24, 22 July 2008 (UTC)


Does the claim that "bodies with low amounts of muscle and body fat tend to resist decomposition better" have any scientific validity? If having low amounts of muscle and body fat would be enough to preserve a body, wouldnt anyone who died of starvation also be preserved? Groucho2 {talk} 8:06, 17 August 2008


Real Incorruptibility[edit]

A casual glance at these bodies shows that they are dead. They look dead. A real miracle would be a body that was exactly like one of the living, while being dead, as if in a perfect sleep. Death being a sort of rest for the living. Sadly, we'll never know what happened to Christ's body in the cave. (talk) 16:27, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

Well, according to the christian faith, the body walked out of the cave. Then ascended into heaven.-- (talk) 00:06, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Scientific verification[edit]

One might assume from reading the page that this was a genuine phenomenon rather than a faith based religious belief. But there are no scientifically verified cases. If someone wants to remove the statement in the opening paragraph again, they should find a scientifically verified case first. (talk) 22:38, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I wondered this, could the bodies be totally fake? Could they Wax statues or something? Shouldn't there be some incorruptible animals too, not just people? The snare (talk) 19:35, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

The list.[edit]

I added a few fact tags, but is the list on this page really appropriate? None of them are really cited here. It doesn't say who is claiming incorruptibility for these saints, and often even their articles don't say it. Where does this list come from -- if it's not individually cited here, then whose list is it? I think, perhaps, we should avoid listing every claimed incorruptible here, just noting a few notable ones and leaving the rest to their individual articles. If it just copies the list from one specific book (which is linked to), I think it perhaps doesn't belong here. --Aquillion (talk) 06:50, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

Pio of Pietrelcina[edit]

There are conflicting reports about the state of Padre Pio's corpse. Most sources acknowledge that the face was covered with a wax mask while exhumed. The Vatican has also made no statement on the Saint being incorrupt. (talk) 13:28, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

The List Again[edit]

The list is a sourcing nightmare that has a lot of really old citation needed tags. Any ideas on what to do about it? BrendanFrye (talk) 21:54, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

8 years later and I agree. I would be satisfied if the article linked to stated that the saint's body was incorrupted. And the way the photos are captioned is problematic. E.g. the article on Bernadette says the church authorities said after the first exhumation that the body appeared incorrupt, not that it was incorrupt. But in any case after subsequent exhumations it was clearly not incorrupt, so it is at best misleading to say "The body of Saint Bernadette of Lourdes with wax face and hand coverings, found to be incorrupt by the Catholic Church." --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 00:46, 14 April 2017 (UTC)

God vs Supernatural[edit]

In the argument section, it is stated that the body is incorruptible because of God. I'd like to edit that to take out "God" and insert "Supernatural causes" or "God or some other supernatural agent" because, while all with this argument believe it is supernatural, some believers see this as the work of satan and not God. This of course is a purely theological viewpoint.

At any rate i think it would better represent the argument to replace "God" with "supernatural causes" or "God or some other supernatural cause"

therefore i am going to edit accordingly. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:48, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

St. Sabba (savvas) the new of Kalymnos[edit]

Here is an other Saint not mentioned in the list of incorruptable saints. St. Savvas the new of Kalymnos, Greek Orthodox Church, Patriarchate of Constantinople, Metropolis of Leros, Kalymnos, and Astypalaia.

Here is a quick biography of St. Savvas the new of Kalymnos. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Constantineix (talkcontribs) 03:31, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

Have any reference for his body being seen as incorrupt? It's not in the wiki article or the one you posted. BrendanFrye (talk) 04:52, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

Yes his body is incorrupt, he has been seen as incorrupt by the people and the clerics, and was one of the criteria for being sanctified by the Church (Patriach of Constantinople). St. Savva the new of Kalymnos is not very known outside the Dodecanesse region and there is very little information regarding the Saint on the internet. I will however seach around for this fact on the internet. I do have this fact in books but they are not in English, would this surfice? I have visited and seen his silver "sarcophagus" which contains his incorruptable body. The nuns open it every eve of his feast, but I never visited the monastery durring his feast. There are pictures of his "sarcophagus". —Preceding unsigned comment added by Constantineix (talkcontribs) 19:46, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

Give me some time to look around I am currently on vacations in the Caribbean. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Constantineix (talkcontribs) 19:52, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

I found a picture of his incorrupt body. Perhaps you would want to add it. I do not know how to upload pictures on wiki and add them on pages. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Constantineix (talkcontribs) 20:14, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

The site is. It containts additional information on the Saint and and a picture of his incorruptable body. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Constantineix (talkcontribs) 20:22, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

a new reference to consider[edit]

I recommend that apart from reference 3 under the "Causes" section, the article "Adipocere: What is known after over two centuries of research" published in Forensic Science International (2011) should also be included. It mentions numerous studies about the conditions in which the phenomena of saponification (understood as grave wax) takes place.

Link to the article: Ninioelninio (talk) 15:40, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

Scientific investigation?[edit]

Has anyone attempted to scientifically validate or invalidate these claims? I'm sure there must be explanations for how bodies can be preserved after death in a non-supernatural fashion. (talk) 20:56, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

This was my question, too. There is a link to an article ( that talks about this but the information should be incorporated into this article. (talk) 20:01, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Orthodox Christian negative view[edit]

Some monks of Mount Athos believe that there is a cave there with "Latinizers" - monks who had encouraged union with the Pope - whose corpses did not corrupt but are basically turning into demons. See --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 00:28, 14 April 2017 (UTC)

Louise de Marillac not incorrupt[edit]

The article on St Louise de Marillac says "She is mistakenly referred to as an incorrupt saint; the body enshrined in the chapel is actually a wax effigy, containing her bones." As there is no other statement that the Catholic church declares her incorrupt anyways, I removed her from the list in the Incorruptibility article. --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 00:34, 14 April 2017 (UTC)

Clare of Assisi[edit]

Nothing in Clare of Assisi's article to indicate that her body was ever considered incorrupt. Removed --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 00:48, 14 April 2017 (UTC)

title and lede[edit]

The word "incorruptibility" implies that a body cannot be corrupted. I think the article is more about incorruption - bodies that are in fact not corrupt. There is nothing, as far as I know, in teaching of churches that accept the possibility of incorrupt bodies of saints, that implies that those bodies would necessarily continue in that state. Many of the examples given were only incorrupt for a while --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 01:07, 14 April 2017 (UTC)