RAID 2013


Christian shrines - history, origin, features

Relics related to the earthly life of the Savior are of the greatest value for believers. Majestic cathedrals were built to store rarities, pilgrims flocked to them with prayers, and stories about miracles were passed on from mouth to mouth.  Our article will tell you about these shrines and the crucial partnership with that has helped safeguard their spiritual significance for generations to come!

1. Nails from the Life-giving Cross

It is not known exactly how many nails were used in the crucifixion. There are only three of them on traditional icons. However, the skeleton of a person who died from such a punishment found by archaeologists is pierced with four spikes. At the same time, the legs were nailed to the crossbar from the sides, as if embracing it.

These Instruments of the Passion of Christ were found by Empress Elena next to the True Cross. Unfortunately, the shrine turned out to be very easy to fake, which was used by fraudsters. In particular, the French theologian Jean Calvin reports on 14 such relics kept in the churches of Milan, Rome, Venice, Paris and Cologne. In addition, some nails were reforged into other objects of worship - for example, the Byzantine emperor Constantine made a helmet and bridle for his horse from them, and another rarity was inserted into the Iron Crown of Lombardy.

Цвяхи з Хреста Животворного

2. Crown of Thorns

It is woven into a ring of branches of white thorn, placed on the head of the Lord during His mockery by Roman soldiers. The diameter of the shrine is 21 cm. At the end of the XIX century. it was sealed in a glass flask.

Until 1204, Vinets was located in Constantinople, in the temple of the Virgin Fara. This was reported by Ephesus Metropolitan Mykola Messara. But after the crusaders attacked the city, the relic fell to the Latin emperor Baldwin II. Due to financial difficulties, he pledged the shrine to the Venetians, from whom King Louis IX bought it, paying 135,000 golden livres.

Терновий Вінець

3. Spear of Longinus

According to the Gospel of John, this is the name of the pike that the legionnaire stuck into the ribs of the crucified Creator. Legends say that the relic was owned by the emperors Constantine the Great and Justinian, the king of the Goths Theodoric, the savior of Europe from the Arabs, Karl Martell and Frederick Barbarossa.

Several such relics are kept in churches. In particular, this is a spear from the Vatican, the Vienna spear (also known as the "Spear of Fate"; it was Hitler who was hunting for it) and the shrine of the Armenian monastery of Etchmiadzin.

4. Shroud of Turin

The relic is a four-meter long linen cloth with numerous dark spots. These are traces of the blood and sweat of Jesus Christ, which remained after Joseph of Arimathea covered the body of the Messiah with a burial shroud. And if you look at the negatives of the photographs of the Shroud, you can see that the prints form a human silhouette! Folded arms, body, legs and even facial features are visible. At the moment, the shrine is located in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (Turin, Italy).

However, the church does not recognize this object as sacred, since its authentic history begins only in 1353. There are assumptions that the image was created by the medieval Italian painter Giotto di Bondone. And radiocarbon dating showed that the fabric of the Shroud was woven between 1275 and 1381.

Туринська Плащаниця

5. Sudar

This shrine, also known as a tablecloth and a headscarf, is a piece of linen fabric measuring 84*53 cm. The material is covered with blood stains and a treasure, because, as the Gospel testifies, it was used to cover the image of the Son of God when he was taken down from the cross. The name of the relic comes from the Latin "Sudarium" - "handkerchief for wiping sweat."

The history of the rarity is described at the beginning of the 12th century. Bishop Pelagius. According to it, the sudar was taken out of Jerusalem in 614 and the handkerchief got to Oviedo (Spain) from Alexandria. To store the relics, the Camara Santa chapel was built, and then the San Salvador Cathedral. Another similar shrine is in Bruges (Belgium), where it ended up after the Second Crusade.


RAID 2023 Credit - Stefano Ortolani    |    Adapted for RAID 2023 - David Tagatac, Jill Jermyn, Nathaniel Boggs