Vatican Radio reports, Reliquary of St. Barbara visits Athens. The silver casket of Saint Barbara, martyred in the 3rd century, has been brought to Athens, where (emphasis added):
People of all ages and social backgrounds waited for hours in the sun for a chance to touch the reliquary, hoping for an answered prayer. The casket contains the remains of Saint Barbara, who according to legend was martyred in Asia Minor in the 3rd century AD.
Last week the reliquary was taken to the Saint Savvas cancer hospital in Athens, where it was literally mobbed by people seeking a healing. It’s due to be flown back to Venice at the end of this week, where it’s been housed since the Byzantine Empire sent it there about 1,000 years ago. […]
Worshippers questioned by reporters said that Christianity, and the saints, were their only hope after the failure of politicians and economists to right the world’s ills.
I honestly fail to see the difference between this and going to a shaman to use his healing fetish, other than the officials’ clothes having more gold thread and fewer feathers.
This particular juju happens to be Orthodox, but the Catholic church is also very big on relics, intercessory prayer, and healing miracles. As far as I know, the higher-ups in the church endorse such things officially, or at least don’t do anything to dissuade people from accepting such superstition.
Can anyone familiar with Orthodox or Catholic theology explain to me how sophisticated theology™ can coexist with such primitive superstition?