For centuries, people have been fascinated with, and have fought over, the relics of the Crucifixion. When researching St Helena, I discovered a woman who, late in life, made this her mission - to find these sacred relics, and bring them back to the newly Christianized Roman Empire.
The book covers the history of the cross, starting with traditions about its origins (via Eden and the Pool of Bethsaida) and focusing in detail on the centrality of its recovery during the Crusades. The volume also treats the legendary histories of the nails, the “INRI” board, the crown of thorns, the holy lance and grail, Veronica’s veil and (albeit too briefly) the Shroud of Turin.
Among the things you’ll discover in these pages:
- The miracle that revealed to St. Helena which of the three discovered crosses was that of Jesus
- The horse’s bit made from a nail of the True Cross, and the successes it brought the horse’s rider
- The nails — and why there are so many in existence today
- A history of the fortunes the Crown of Thorns to those who held them, and a list of towns where thorns are found
- Where, in 1492, workman accidentally discovered again the actual board on which “King of the Jews” was written
- The modest Frenchman who saved a holy nail from profanation during the French Revolution
- Drawings of the spear of Longinus, and reports of its later use in battles
- Relics of Jesus’s actual blood from the Crucifixion: and why it makes sense that some still exists
- The veil of Veronica, Christ’s seamless robe, and much more!
From Christian Book dot com:
In these gripping pages, you'll not only learn about the tree from which the Cross was made and the Cross itself, but as well of the Nails that bore Jesus's battered body, the Crown placed on his head, the Thorns, treasured by Christians for generations, and even the very blood of Jesus caught in vessels by those who loved Him and preserved down to this day.
Too easily we skeptical moderns dismiss the authenticity of relics, particularly relics of the kinds that have often been forged. Author Wall here cites so many reliable sources about relics of Christ's Passion that you will put down these pages with doubts about your doubts, and find in yourself a new and growing desire to look upon them yourself and to receive the many graces that - as Wall also reports here - regularly flow from them for the benefit of souls.
More on the True Cross:
Archaeologists in Turkey believe they have found a small piece of the cross used to crucify Jesus. It was discovered in a stone chest on the site of seventh-century Balatlar Church in Sinop and tests are now being carried out to try to determine its authenticity. Legend has it that the cross was discovered in 325 AD and parts were sent to religious leaders around the world and this may explain how the piece ended up in Turkey.
The veneration of relics is not a question of proof or science but an act of faith. Throughout history, there has been an unbroken chain of tradition in the veneration of relics and reference can be found in both the Old and New Testaments where the Holy Scriptures fully supports the true virtue of relics and the request to honor them. (See II Kings 13:20-21, Exodus 13:19, Mark 5:25-29, Acts 5:15-16).
Helena (c 249-c 329) was the mother of Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor. She is held up to reverence as the discoverer of the Cross upon which Jesus was crucified.
Helena was almost 80, however, when, in 327-8, she made her pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Jerusalem had been desecrated in 130 by the Emperor Hadrian, who had built a pagan temple on the supposed site of Jesus’s tomb near Calvary.
Helena ordered its demolition, and then selected a spot close by to start digging for relics. Three crosses were found, and the true one identified when a sick woman was cured after touching it. Nails and a tunic were also discovered.
But in the last half of the 19th century, a French independent scholar named Charles Rohault de Fleury assigned himself the task of tracking down and measuring every surviving relic of the True Cross.
In 1870, de Fleury published his findings in a book, Mémoire sur les Instruments de la Passion. De Fleury concluded that if all the surviving relics of the True Cross were somehow reassembled, there would not be enough lumber to crucify a man, let alone build Noah’s Ark.