The Church of St Blaise is the biggest in Vodnjan and its surroundings. The bell tower is 62 m high, which makes it the tallest in Istria. The church was built for 40 years from 1760 to 1800 and it has 10 altars, 24 paintings and 18 sculptures. There is a large collection of relics and mummies of the saints in the Church of St Blaise in Vodnjan. The collection has 370 relics which belong to 250 Christian saints. The most significant are: the thorn from the crown of Jesus, part of the veil of the Holy Virgin, the piece of the Jesus’ cross and others.
The most significant mummies of the saints are: St Leon Bembo (12th century, Venice), St Ivan John Olini (14th century, Venice), St Nikoloza Bursa (15th century, Koper). Along the bodies there is also the clothes in which the saints were buried and the mummies are exposed in glᴀss coffins. Besides the bodies, there are also some unaffected parts: the torso of St Sebastian, the feet of St Barbara, the tongue of St Mary of Egypt and right index finger of St Eutih, the Byzantine Patriarch. St Leon Bembo, St Ivan John Olini and St Nikoloza Bursa were declared sacred after it was proved they performed miraculous healings. The bodies wasn’t embalmed or hermetically sealed and the science can’t explain to this day how they remained intact. There was a CT scan in 2009 which have proved that the bodies of St Ivan John and St Nikoloza have all their inner organs which is a unique example in the World. There are just a few mummies left intact in the World without the use of chemicals. It is believed that the mummies of Vodnjan have special healing powers.
The mummies of the saints from Venice was brought by Gaetano Gresler, the academic painter on the 23rd July 1818 to save them from the destruction during the occupation of Venice. It is interesting to note that the authorities of Vodnjan church were looking for an artist who would decorate the newly built church, and Gaetano Gresler was chosen for the job. Along with him came the bodies of the saints. Thousands of visitors come to pilgrimage every year to the Church of St Blaise in Vodnjan.