Wednesday, January 13, 2016

DAY 8 following the Holy Stairs: The Church of the Holy Cross of Jesus

ABOVE:  True relics of the Holy Cross on which Jesus was crucified.

The Story of Helen and the Cross Constantine and Helen went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  The whereabouts of the cross upon which Jesus was crucified were unknown.  When Helen summoned all the Jewish wisemen of the area and asked them to show her the place where Jesus had been crucified, the wisest of them, Judas, took Helen to the hill of Golgatha.  When they reached the top of the hill, the earth began to quake and very sweet and pleasant smell filled the area.  Helen had Judas make an excavation.
About twenty yards down, Judas found three crosses, and these he brought to Helen.  Helen was perplexed, as the three crosses were indistinguishable.  Helen decided to put the three crosses in the center of the city to see if the Lord would give her some sign as to which was the one of His crucifixion.  At about the ninth hour, a funeral cortege for a young man who had died the prior day came by the spot.  Judas stopped the party, coming up with the idea of placing each of the crosses over the body of the man, thinking that Jesus' cross would have the power to resurrect him.  And so the first, then the second of the crosses were placed over the dead man, to no effect.  But when the third cross was placed over him, he immediately arose, and Helen and Judas knew they had identified the true cross of Jesus.
Judas also recovered the nails used to crucify Jesus which miraculously came to the surface of the ground, gleaming like gold.  Helen took pieces of the cross and the nails back to Rome.  One or two of the nails were made into a holy bridle for Constantine, and the rest of the cross and one of the nails were encased in silver, to be venerated at Golgotha itself.
-Written by Gregory J. Pulles, Sacred Places:  Rediscovering the Churches of Rome; An Epic Journey through Sixty Churches in Eleven Walks - The Complete Guide. p. 143

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ABOVE:  The wooden tablet on which Pilate inscribed the charge against Jesus; in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.

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