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A King’s Touch!

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  • A King’s Touch!

    In Medieval times, the crude cures offered by the doctors were more terrible than the diseases themselves! So many people would rather pray to the Saints for a speedy recovery, than go to a doctor. They believed that Saints can make the Almighty God take mercy on the afflicted persons and restore good health.

    Each disease had its own Saint-Doctor who could get it cured. Saint Vitus cured chorea, Saint Maur cured gout, Saint Anthony cured skin diseases and Saint Pius cured paralysis.

    Six different saints including Saint Valentine were invoked in the prayers, to ward off Plague—the greatest terror of that time!

    In England and France any one suffering from Scrofula, a disfiguring form of tuberculosis, may pray to Saint Marcouff or go to his king seeking relief. The royal touch of the king was supposed to cure the disease.

    The disease scrofula was called the “king’s evil” and only a “king’s touch” could cure it! Saint Marcouff had a healing hand. He passed on this gift of healing hands to the kings of France. When the king touched the swollen glands in the neck, healing was supposed to take place.

    In England the king stroked the affected part with an ‘angel’- a special coin minted, to be given away to the affected person. He should wear it as a talisman around his neck until complete cure took place.

    The healing days were the holy days, especially The Good Friday. Thousands of people used to flock around the king, begging to be cured. Between 1660 and 1664, Charles II is supposed to have touched more than 92,000 victims. In 1684, there was such a big crowd seeking cure, that seven persons got trampled to death.

    This custom was discontinued in England in the 18th century and in France after the French revolution.

    Visalakshi Ramani