† 17th True Cross Dnjc + Bvm + John + Elizabeth Multi Reliquary 12 Theca Relics

† 17th True Cross Dnjc + Bvm + John + Elizabeth Multi Reliquary 12 Theca Relics

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† 17th True Cross Dnjc + Bvm + John + Elizabeth Multi Reliquary 12 Theca Relics:

70 mm X 60 mm X 10 mmTrue Cross
Christ crucified, painted byGiotto, circa 1310

TheTrue Crossis the name for physical remnants which, by aCatholic Churchtradition, are said to be from thecrossupon whichJesus was crucified.[1]

According to post-Nicenehistorians such asSocrates of Constantinople, the Empress St.Helena, mother of St.Constantine, the firstChristianEmperor of Rome, travelled to theHoly Landin 326–28, founding churches and establishing relief agencies for the poor. HistoriansGelasius of that she discovered the hiding place of three crosses that were believed to be used at the crucifixion of Jesus and of two thieves,St. DismasandGestas, executed with him, and that amiraclerevealed which of the three was the True Cross.

Many churches possess fragmentary remains that are by tradition alleged to be those of the True Cross. Their authenticity is not accepted by all Christians. The reports surrounding the discovery of the True Cross are questioned by some Christians.[2]The acceptance and belief of that part of the tradition that pertains to theearly Christian Churchis generally restricted to theCatholic Church,Eastern Orthodox Church,Oriental Orthodox Church, and theChurch of the East. The medieval legends that developed concerning its provenance differ between Catholic and Orthodox tradition. These churches honour Helena as a saint, as does also theAnglican Communion.[not verified in body]

    In the Latin-speaking traditions of Western Europe, the story of the pre-Christian origins of the True Cross was well established by the 13th century when, in 1260, it was recorded, byJacopo de Voragine,Bishop of Genoa, in theGolden Legend.[3]

    The Golden Legendcontains several versions of the origin of the True Cross. InThe Life of Adam, Voragine writes that the True Cross came from three trees which grew from three seeds from the "Tree of Mercy" whichSethcollected and planted in the mouth ofAdam's corpse.[4]In another account contained inOf the invention of the Holy Cross, and first of this word invention, Voragine writes that the True Cross came from a tree that grew from part of theTree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, or "the tree that Adam ate of", thatSethplanted on Adam's grave where it "endured there unto the time of Solomon".[5]

    After many centuries, the tree was cut down and the wood used to build a bridge over which theQueen of Shebapassed, on her journey to meetKing Solomon. So struck was she by the portent contained in the timber of the bridge that she fell on her knees and revered it. On her visit to Solomon, she told him that a piece of wood from the bridge would bring about the replacement of God's Covenant with the Jewish people, by a new order. Solomon, fearing the eventual destruction of his people, had the timber buried. But after fourteen generations, the wood taken from the bridge was fashioned into the Cross used tocrucifyChrist. Voragine then goes on to describe its finding by Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine.[6]

    Acceptance of this tradition[edit]

    In the lateMiddle AgesandEarly Renaissance, there was a wide general acceptance of the origin of the True Cross and its history preceding the Crucifixion, as recorded by Voragine. This general acceptance is confirmed by the numerous artworks that depict this subject, culminating in one of the most famous fresco cycles of the Renaissance, theLegend of the True CrossbyPiero della Francesca, painted on the walls of the chancel of the Church ofSan Francescoin Arezzo between 1452 and 1466, in which he reproduces faithfully the traditional episodes of the story as recorded inThe Golden Legend.

    Eastern Christianity[edit]

    The Golden Legendand many of its sources developed after theEast-West Schismof 1054,[citation needed]and thus is unknown in the Greek- or Syriac-speaking worlds. The above pre-Crucifixion history, therefore, is not to be found inEastern Christianity.[citation needed]

    According to thesacred traditionof theEastern Orthodox Churchthe True Cross was made from three different types of is an allusion toIsaiah 60:13: "The glory ofLebanonshall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box [cypress] together to beautify the place of my sanctuary, and I will make the place of my feet glorious." The link between this verse and the Crucifixion lies in the words, "the place of my feet", which is interpreted as referring to thesuppendaneum(foot rest) on which Jesus' feet were nailed (seeOrthodox cross).

    There is a tradition that the three trees from which the True Cross was constructed grew together in one spot. A traditional the nephew ofAbraham, watering the trees.[7]According to tradition, these trees were used to construct theTemple in Jerusalem("to beautify the place of my sanctuary"). Later, duringHerod'sreconstruction of the Temple, the wood from these trees was removed from the Temple and discarded, eventually being used to construct the cross on which Jesus was crucified ("and I will make the place of my feet glorious").

    Finding the True Cross[edit]The Finding of the True Cross,Agnolo Gaddi, Florence, 1380

    According to the 1955 Roman Catholic Marian Missal: St. Helen, the first Christian Empress, went to Jerusalem to search for the True Cross and found it September 14, 320. In the eighth century, the feast of the Finding was transferred to May 3, and September 14th became the celebration of the "Exaltation of the Cross", the commemoration of a victory over the Persians byHeraclius, as a result of which the relic was returned to Jerusalem.

    According to Eusebius[edit]

    Eusebius of Caesarea, in hisLife of Constantine,[8]describes how the site of theHoly Sepulchre, once a site of veneration for the Christian church inJerusalem, had been covered with earth and been built on top. Although Eusebius does not say as much, this would probably have been done as part ofHadrian's reconstruction of Jerusalem asAelia Capitolinain 135, following the destruction during theJewish Revoltof 70 andBar Kokhba's revoltof 132–135. Following his conversion to Christianity, EmperorConstantineordered in about 325–326 that the site be uncovered and instructed SaintMacarius, Bishop of Jerusalem, to build a church on the site. In hisLife of Constantine,Eusebiusdoes not mention the finding of the True Cross.

    According to Socrates Scholasticus[edit]

    Socrates Scholasticus(born c. 380), in hisEcclesiastical History,gives a full description of the discovery[9]that was repeated later bySozomenand byTheodoret. In it he describes how SaintHelena, Constantine's aged mother, had the pagan temple destroyed and the Sepulchre uncovered, whereupon three crosses and thetitulus from Jesus's crucifixionwere uncovered as well. In Socrates's version of the story, Macarius had the three crosses placed in turn on a deathly ill woman. This woman recovered at the touch of the third cross, which was taken as a sign that this was the cross of Christ, the new Christian symbol. Socrates also reports that, having also found theHoly Nails(the nails with which Christ had been fastened to the cross), Helena sent these toConstantinople, where they were incorporated into the emperor's helmet and the bridle of his horse.

    According to Sozomen[edit]

    Sozomen(died c. 450), in hisEcclesiastical History, gives essentially the same version as Socrates. He also adds that it was said (by whom he does not say) that the location of the Sepulchre was "disclosed by a Hebrew who dwelt in the East, and who derived his information from some documents which had come to him by paternal inheritance" (although Sozomen himself disputes this account) and that a dead person was also revived by the touch of the Cross. Later popular versions of this story state that the Jew who assisted Helena was named Jude or Judas, but later converted to Christianity and took the nameKyriakos.

    According to Theodoret[edit]The proving of the True Cross, Jean Colombe in theTrès Riches Heures

    Theodoret(died c. 457) in hisEcclesiastical HistoryChapter xvii gives what had become the standard version of the finding of the True Cross:

    When the empress beheld the place where the Saviour suffered, she immediately ordered the idolatrous temple, which had been there erected, to be destroyed, and the very earth on which it stood to be removed. When the tomb, which had been so long concealed, was discovered, three crosses were seen buried near the Lord's sepulchre. All held it as certain that one of these crosses was that of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that the other two were those of the thieves who were crucified with Him. Yet they could not discern to which of the three the Body of the Lord had been brought nigh, and which had received the outpouring of His precious blood. But the wise and holy Macarius, the president of the city, resolved this question in the following manner. He caused a lady of rank, who had been long suffering from disease, to be touched by each of the crosses, with earnest prayer, and thus discerned the virtue residing in that of the Saviour. For the instant this cross was brought near the lady, it expelled the sore disease, and made her whole.

    With the Cross were also found theHoly Nails, which Helena took with her back to Constantinople. According to Theodoret, "She had part of the cross of our Saviour conveyed to the palace. The rest was enclosed in a covering of silver, and committed to the care of the bishop of the city, whom she exhorted to preserve it carefully, in order that it might be transmitted uninjured to posterity."

    Syriac tradition[edit]

    Another popular ancient version from theSyriactradition replaced Helena with a fictitious first-century empress named Protonike.[citation needed]

    The relics of the Cross in Jerusalem[edit]After Empress Helena[edit]

    The silver reliquary that was left at theBasilica of the Holy Sepulchrein care of the bishop of Jerusalem was exhibited periodically to the faithful. In the 380s a nun namedEgeriawho was travelling onpilgrimagedescribed the veneration of the True Cross at Jerusalem in a long letter, theItinerario Egeriaethat she sent back to her community of women:

    Then a chair is placed for the bishop inGolgothabehind the [liturgical] Cross, which is now standing; the bishop duly takes his seat in the chair, and a table covered with a linen cloth is placed before him; the deacons stand round the table, and a silver-gilt casket is brought in which is the holy wood of the Cross. The casket is opened and [the wood] is taken out, and both the wood of the Cross and thetitleare placed upon the table. Now, when it has been put upon the table, the bishop, as he sits, holds the extremities of the sacred wood firmly in his hands, while the deacons who stand around guard it. It is guarded thus because the custom is that the people, both faithful and catechumens, come one by one and, bowing down at the table, kiss the sacred wood and pass through. And because, I know not when, some one is said to have bitten off and stolen a portion of the sacred wood, it is thus guarded by the deacons who stand around, lest any one approaching should venture to do so again. And as all the people pass by one by one, all bowing themselves, they touch the Cross and the title, first with their foreheads and then with their eyes; then they kiss the Cross and pass through, but none lays his hand upon it to touch it. When they have kissed the Cross and have passed through, a deacon stands holding the ring of Solomon and the horn from which the kings were anointed; they kiss the horn also and gaze at the ring...[10]

    Before long, but perhaps not until after the visit of Egeria, it was possible also to venerate thecrown of thorns, the pillar at which Christ was scourged, and thelancethat pierced his side.

    During Persian-Byzantine war (614-630)[edit]

    In 614 II("Chosroes") removed the part of the cross held in Jerusalem as a trophy, when hecaptured the city. Thirteen years later, in 628, Khosrau and regained the relic fromShahrbaraz. He placed the cross in Constantinople at first, and took it back to Jerusalem on 21 March 630.[11]Some scholars disagree with this narrative, ProfessorConstantin Zuckermangoing as far as to suggest that the True Cross was actually lost by the Persians, and that the wood contained in the allegedly still sealed reliquary brought to Jerusalem by Heraclius in 629 was a fake. In his analysis, the hoax was designed to serve the political purposes of both Heraclius and his former foe, recently turned ally and co-father-in-law, Persian general and soon-to-become king, Shahrbaraz.[12]

    Fatimids, crusaders and loss of the Cross[edit]

    Around 1009, the year in whichFatimid caliphAl-Hakim bi-Amr Allahordered the destruction of theChurch of the Holy Sepulchre, Christians in Jerusalem hid part of the cross and it remained hidden until the city was taken by the European soldiers of theFirst Crusade.Arnulf Malecorne, the firstLatin Patriarch of Jerusalem, had the Greek Orthodox priests who were in possession of the Cross tortured in order to reveal its position.[13]The relic that Arnulf discovered was a small fragment of wood embedded in a golden cross, and it became the most sacred relic of the LatinKingdom of Jerusalem, with none of the controversy that had followed their discovery of theHoly LanceinAntioch. It was housed in theChurch of the Holy Sepulchreunder the protection of the Latin Patriarch, who marched with it ahead of the army before every battle.

    Reliquaryof the True Cross at theChurch of the Holy Sepulchre,Jerusalem

    After KingBaldwin I of Jerusalempresented KingSigurd I of Norwaywith a splinter of the True Cross following theNorwegian Crusadein 1110, the Cross was captured bySaladinduring theBattle of Hattinin 1187, and while some Christian rulers, likeRichard the Lionheart,[14]Byzantine emperorIsaac II AngelosandTamar, Queen ofGeorgia, sought to ransom it from Saladin,[15]the cross was not returned and subsequently disappeared from historical records. The True Cross was last seen in the city of Damascus.[16]

    Current relic[edit]

    Currently the Greek Orthodox present a small True Cross relic shown in the so-called Greek Treasury at the foot of Golgotha, within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.[17]And Syriac Orthodox also has small relic of True Cross in St Mark Monastery, Jerusalem[citation needed].

    Dispersal of relics[edit]An enamelled silver reliquary of the True Cross from Constantinople, c. 800One of the largest purported fragments of theTrue Crossis atSanto Toribio de Liébanain Spain (photo by F. J. Díez Martín)A"Kreuzpartikel"or fragment ofTrue Crossin theSchatzkammer (Vienna)

    An inscription of 359, found at Tixter, in the neighbourhood of Sétif inMauretania, was said to mention, in an enumeration of relics, a fragment of the True Cross, according to an entry inRoman Miscellanies, X, 441.

    Fragments of the Cross were broken up, and the pieces were widely distributed; in 348, in one of hisCatecheses, Cyril of Jerusalem remarked that the "whole earth is full of the relics of the Cross of Christ,"[18]and in another, "The holy wood of the Cross bears witness, seen among us to this day, and from this place now almost filling the whole world, by means of those who in faith take portions from it."[19]Egeria's account testifies to how highly these relics of the crucifixion were prized. SaintJohn Chrysostomrelates that fragments of the True Cross were kept in golden reliquaries, "which men reverently wear upon their persons." Even two Latin inscriptions around 350 from today's Algeria testify to the keeping and admiration of small particles of the cross.[20]Around the year 455,JuvenalPatriarch of Jerusalemsent toPope Leo Ia fragment of the "precious wood", according to theLettersof Pope Leo. A portion of the cross was taken to Rome in the seventh century byPope Sergius I, who was of Byzantine origin. "In the small part is power of the whole cross", so aninscriptionin the FelixBasilicaofNola, built by bishop Paulinus at the beginning of 5th century. The cross particle was inserted in the altar.[21]

    TheOld EnglishpoemDream of the Roodmentions the finding of the cross and the beginning of the tradition of the veneration of its relics. TheAnglo-Saxon Chroniclealso talks of King Alfred receiving a fragment of the cross from Pope Marinus (see: Annal Alfred the Great, year 883).[22]Although it is possible, the poem need not be referring to this specific relic or have this incident as the reason for its composition. However, there is a later source that speaks of a bequest made to the 'Holy Cross' atShaftesbury Abbeyin Dorset; Shaftesbury abbey was founded by King Alfred, supported with a large portion of state funds and given to the charge of his own daughter when he was alive - it is conceivable that if Alfred really received this relic, that he may have given it to the care of the nuns at Shaftesbury[23]

    Most of the very small relics of the True Cross in Europe came fromConstantinople. The city was captured and sacked by theFourth Crusadein 1204: "After the conquest of the city Constantinople inestimable wealth was found, incomparably precious jewels and also a part of the cross of the Lord, which Helena transferred from Jerusalem and was decorated with gold and precious jewels. There it attained highest admiration. It was carved up by the present bishops and was divided with other very precious relics among the knights; later, after their return to the homeland, it was donated to churches and monasteries."[24][25][26]A knightRobert de Clariwrote: "Within this chapel were found many precious relics; for therein were found two pieces of the True Cross, as thick as a man's leg and afathomin length."[27]

    By the end of the Middle Ages so manychurchesclaimed to possess a piece of the True Cross, thatJohn Calvinis famously said to have remarked that there was enough wood in them to fill a ship:

    There is no abbey so poor as not to have a specimen. In some places there are large fragments, as at the Holy Chapel in Paris, at Poitiers, and at Rome, where a good-sized crucifix is said to have been made of it. In brief, if all the pieces that could be found were collected together, they would make a big ship-load. Yet the Gospel testifies that a single man was able to carry it.

    — Calvin,Traité Des Reliques

    Conflicting with this is the finding ofCharles Rohault de Fleury, who, in hisMémoire sur les instruments de la Passionof 1870 made a study of the relics in reference to the criticisms of Calvin andErasmus. He drew up a catalogue of all known relics of the True Cross showing that, in spite of what various authors have claimed, the fragments of the Cross brought together again would not reach one-third that of a cross which has been supposed to have been three or four metres (9.8 or 13.1 feet) in height, with transverse branch of two metres (6.6 feet) wide, proportions not at all abnormal. He calculated: supposing the Cross to have been of pine-wood (based on his microscopic analysis of the fragments) and giving it a weight of about seventy-five kilogrammes, we find the original volume of the cross to be 0.178 cubic metres (6.286 cubic feet). The total known volume of known relics of the True Cross, according to his catalogue, amounts to approximately 0.004 cubic metres (0.141 cubic feet) (more specifically 3,942,000 cubic millimetres), leaving a volume of lost, destroyed, or otherwise unaccounted for.[28]

    Four cross particles – of ten particles with surviving documentary provenances by Byzantine emperors – from European churches, i.e.Santa Crocein Rome,Notre Dame, Paris,Pisa CathedralandFlorence Cathedral, were microscopically examined. "The pieces came all together from olive."[29]It is possible that many alleged pieces of the True Cross areforgeries, created by travelling merchants in the Middle Ages, during which period a thriving trade in manufactured relics existed.[citation needed]

    Gerasimos Smyrnakis[30]notes that the largest surviving portion, of 870,760 cubic millimetres, is preserved in the Monastery Athos, and also mentions the preserved relics inRome(consisting of 537,587 cubic millimetres), inBrussels(516,090 cubic millimetres), inVenice(445,582 cubic millimetres), inGhent(436,450 cubic millimetres) and inParis(237,731 cubic millimetres). (For comparison, the collective volume of the largest of these sets of fragments would be equivalent to a cube of a little less than 4 inches per side, while the smallest of these would have an equivalent cubic dimension of about 2.5 inches per side. The volume figures given by Smyrnakis for these objects—six significant figures and to the cubic millimeter—are undoubtedly the result of multiplying slightly approximate numbers and should not be seen as implying scientific accuracy of the highest order in a book written over a century ago.)

    Fragments of True Cross in Serbian Monastery ofVisoki Dečani

    Santo Toribio de Liébanain Spain is also said to hold the largest of these Pies and is one of the most visited Roman Catholicpilgrimagesites. Another portions of the True Cross are in theMonasterio de TarlacatSan Jose, Tarlac,Philippinesand at the National Shrine of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina in San Pedro,Santo Tomas, Batangas,Philippines.[31]

    TheEthiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Churchalso claims to have the right wing of the true cross buried in the monastery of Gishen Mariam. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has an annual religious holiday, called Meskel or Demera, commemorating the discovery of the True Cross by Queen Helena. Meskel occurs on 17 Meskerem in the Ethiopian calendar (September 27, Gregorian calendar, or September 28 in leap years). "Meskel" (or "Meskal" or "Mesqel", there are various ways to transliterate from Ge'ez to Latin script) is Ge'ez for "cross".[32]

    The festival is known as Feast of the exaltation of the holy cross in other Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant churches. The churches that follow the Gregorian calendar celebrate the feast on September 14.


    SaintJohn Chrysostomwrote homilies on the three crosses:

    Kings removing their diadems take up the cross, the symbol of their Saviour's death; on the purple, the cross; in their prayers, the cross; on their armour, the cross; on the holy table, the cross; throughout the universe, the cross. The cross shines brighter than the sun.

    A relic of the True Cross being carried in procession through the Piazza San Marco, Venice.Gentile Bellini15th century.

    TheRoman Catholic Church, theEastern Orthodox Church, theAnglican Communion, and a number ofProtestantdenominations, celebrate theFeast of the Exaltation of the Crosson September 14, the anniversary of the dedication of theChurch of the Holy Sepulchre. In later centuries, these celebrations also included commemoration of the rescue of the True Cross from thePersiansin 628. In theGalicianusage, beginning about the seventh century, the Feast of the Cross was celebrated on May 3. According to theCatholic Encyclopedia, when the Galician and Roman practices were combined, the September date, for which the Vatican adopted the official name "Triumph of the Cross" in 1963, was used to commemorate the rescue from the Persians and the May date was kept as the "Invention of the True Cross" to commemorate the finding.[33]The September date is often referred to in the West asHoly Cross Day; the May date (See alsoRoodmas.) was dropped from theliturgical calendarof the Roman Catholic Church in 1970 as part of the liturgical reforms mandated by theSecond Vatican Council(1962–1965). The Orthodox still commemorate both events on September 14, one of theTwelve Great Feastsof theliturgical year, and theProcession of the Venerable Wood of the Crosson 1 August, the day on which the relics of the True Cross would be carried through the streets ofConstantinopleto bless the city.[34]

    In addition to celebrations on fixed days, there are certain days of thevariable cyclewhen the Cross is celebrated. The Roman Catholic Church has a formal 'Adoration of the Cross' (the term is inaccurate, but sanctioned by long use) during the services forGood Friday, while Eastern Orthodox churches everywhere, a replica of the cross is brought out in procession duringMatinsofGreat and Holy Fridayfor the people to venerate. The Orthodox also celebrate an additional Veneration of the Cross on the third Sunday ofGreat Lent.

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    † 17th True Cross Dnjc + Bvm + John + Elizabeth Multi Reliquary 12 Theca Relics:

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