True Cross

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Erm.. Helena, don't you think it's a bit too small to have had a grown man nailed to it?
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Devil's in the details

The True Cross was discovered by St. Helena, reputedly a former British barmaid and mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, in around 325 CE.[1]

Sophisticated archaeology[edit]

Empress Helena, Constantine's mother, conducted an excavation in Jerusalem using what were the latest and most sophisticated archaeological techniques at that time, which entailed abducting local rabbis and torturing them until they divulged the cross's location. Unfortunately, they did not know, but said that one Judas Cyprianus knew. St. Helena and her team then imprisoned him without food or water until he revealed the location — or until his relatives had time to plant them. This succeeded where today's so-called "scientific" methods could not and three crosses were found. The True Cross on which Jesus was crucified was identified by getting an old granny who was very ill to lie on each one; only the True Cross made her feel better.[2]

The first surviving account of this event was written around a century later by Socrates of Constantinople in his Church History (which is undated but covers the period up to 439 CE, so we can guess when he finished it).[3]


The Cross was broken up and a third taken to Rome (where it remains at the Church of Santa Croce), a third taken to Constantinople, and a third remained in Jerusalem until it disappeared after the city fell to the Saracens (Muslims). Saladin allegedly tied it beneath his horse's tail.[4][5]

The Constantinopolitan fragments were looted when the city was sacked during the 4th Crusade; the parts were shared among the kings and bishops involved.

Parts of the True Cross[edit]

It has been calculated that if all the parts of the True Cross were put together they would actually make up LESS than one whole cross,[6] refuting Calvin's claim that it would make a whole ship-load of crosses.[7]

A supposed sliver of the True Cross is housed in the Colleen Moore Fairytale Castle in the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.[8]

Optimistic believers are invited to place bids on eBay where parts of the True Cross are regularly offered for sale — often for less than $20. But be warned: you have to read carefully, for people often offer related objects for sale, such as pieces of wood which have been touched by the true cross or objects from the site where the true cross was found, with misleading titles. For example "This Relic has a piece of Wood inside the Theca that has touched two (2) First Class Relics of the True Cross; one is from Rome (St Croix Monastery) with Documentation the other is from the St Sophia Monastery in Bulgaria where part of the True Cross found by St Helena is Venerated." ($125)

According to the guidebook, The Church of the Holy Cross, in Seaview, Isle of Wight, has a piece, but when asked about it, the local Catholic History Society polled it's congregation, and even included it in the newsletter for all Isle of Wight Christians, and nobody could remember where they last put it.[citation needed]

In 2020, the Russian Orthodox Church reportedly acquired a piece of the True Cross and placed it onboard the Russian Black Sea Fleet flagship Moskva.Wikipedia[9] In April 2022, Moskva suffered a series of explosions reportedly caused by a Ukrainian missile strike, sending the ship and the reputed relic to the bottom of the Black Sea.[10]

See also[edit]