The crown of thorns of Jesus Christ
October 26, 1804 Paul d’Astros, a priest of the Notre-Dame Cathedral, went to the National Library, which was on the street de Richelieu. He was scheduled to meet with Aubin-Louis Millen, the keeper of the Cabinet of Medals of this library. The same, in turn, ten days before, hosted the Minister of Internal Affairs, Jean Portalis.
The minister did not go around the bush, but immediately handed over Napoleon’s order to return to the cathedral invaluable Christian relics, which during the revolution were confiscated “from the damned Bourbons” and put on public display in the library building. More precisely, it was about restoring what remained of these relics.
The essence of the happening was as follows: a few weeks before the coronation in the Cathedral of the Notre Dame, Napoleon decided to show the French Church his favor.
Canonical d’Astros, when he was at the National Library, received from Mr. Millen a list of relics that had been returned. As it turned out, these were priceless items from the collection of King Louis IX of the Holy, and all of them were related to the crucifixion and burial of Jesus Christ. A large cardboard box was attached to the list. In it, a stunned canon and discovered what he still sees as the most important of the relics of the Christian world piled into a heap.
So in the treasury of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, there was a crown of thorns – a crown from the branches of a plant with thorns, according to the Gospels, placed on the head of Jesus Christ by Roman soldiers, in order to aggravate his sufferings. The crown was always a symbol of strength, government and honor. Making it from bramble instead of the traditional laurel, used by the Romans to weave wreaths to great heroes, was a shameful act of mockery of the Son of God.
In addition, the Cathedral of the Notre Dame of Paris received the particles of the Life-Giving Cross, on which Jesus Christ was crucified, as well as one of the nails from this cross.
Since then, on the first Friday of each month (at three o’clock in the afternoon), as well as on Good Friday of the Catholic Lent (from 10 am to 5 pm), these relics endure for the worship of believers. On other days of the year, there is no access to these shrines.
In 1204, the Crusaders seized Constantinople and founded the Latin Empire (French Empire de Constantinople, Latin Imperium Romaniae), which existed until 1261.
During the reign of the Latin emperor Baldwin P, who sat on the throne from 1228 to 1261, numerous Christian shrines in Constantinople, among which was the Crown of Jesus Christ, were sold to the King of France Louis IX.
More truly, not absolutely so. The crown of thorns (the French call it Sainte Couronne – the Holy Crown) belonging to a group of relics taken at Calvary immediately after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, from the 4th to the middle of the eleventh century was available for worship in the Church of Sion. Then the crown, together with the spear of Longinus, a Roman soldier who pierced the hypochondrium of Jesus Christ, crucified on the cross, was transferred to Constantinople. The Latin emperor Baldwin II heavily owed Venice and offered her a crown as compensation.
The Crown was sent from Constantinople, first to Venice, and then to France. ”
Note that the French King Louis IX was the cousin of Emperor Baldwin And, that is why he paid the debt of a relative, having received for this an invaluable shrine.
Yannick Durant, chief curator of the Louvre art objects department, sets out the following version:
“In 1238 the young Baldwin II de Courtenay arrived in France for help. In return, he offered King Louis IX, the future Louis of the Holy, the Crown of Christ. Louis the Sovereign agreed and sent two Dominicans to Constantinople who, having arrived, learned that the crown had already been sold to the Venetian Nicola Quirino for a huge sum of 13,134 gold hyperperons. Two clerics accompanied the relic to Venice, waiting for the arrival of money from Louis the Saint. In February 1239, a sacred relic could already depart from Venice to France. ”
Ludovic IX, surnamed Saints for his faith and piety, was born in 1214. He was the son of King Louis VIII and Blanqui of Castile, daughter of the King of Castile Alfonso VIII.
The mother of Louis, a woman of great intelligence and outstanding willpower, had a tremendous influence on the development of her son. After the death of her husband, in 1226, she became regent and governed France with unusual dexterity, strengthening the authority of royal power and expanding her possessions. Beautiful and elegant, Louis was interested in all his youth in jousting. In 1234 he married Margarita, the daughter of Count Provansky.
When Louis was 21, he was declared an adult. The king’s entry into the government of the country changed little of the government’s policy: the royal power was already so strong that it was not difficult for Louis to maintain his authority in the eyes of once unruly vassals.
The crown of thorns, received from the Latin emperor Baldwin II, Louis IX solemnly met
· August 0, 1239 in the town of Villeneuve-Arsèveque, which is 40 kilometers from Paris. At the same time, Louis took off all the royal regalia and shoes, and then, barefoot, in a shirt, excited and with tears in his eyes, along with his brother Robert d’Artois and accompanied by a large solemn procession, carried a relic on his shoulders.
In 1297, Louis IX special bull of Pope Boniface VIII was proclaimed a saint. The name of St. Louis is now called many Catholic churches in France and abroad, including the Church of St. Louis of France in Moscow, located on Malaya Lyubyanka street.
In 1305, at the time of the proclamation by Pope Clement V (in the world of Bertrand de Guo), King Philip IV of Nice, who arrived at the ceremony, received permission to transfer to Saint-Chapelle the skull of Louis IX Saint, provided that the monks of Saint-Denis retain his teeth and the lower jaw. Apparently, the heart of the king was also transferred to Saint-Chapelle.
Now it looks wildly, but in the XIV century it was considered legitimate and even very worthy for the head of the king to be moved to that place (Sainte-Chapelle – Holy Chapel of the Royal Palace), which itself was revered caput regni (head of the kingdom).
Philippe the Beautiful ordered the famous Parisian goldsmith master Guillaume Julienne a magnificent relicaria, which, together with the skull of the righteous king, was taken to Saint-Chapelle. Notre Dame Cathedral also received its part of relics – the rib of Louis IX Saint.
Alber Garro writes about this:
“On March 17, 1306, on Tuesday after the Ascension, the head of Louis the Saint and part of the relics were transferred to Paris at the great gathering of the people. The King placed the relics next to the Mother of God, and sent Louis’s skull to Saint-Chapelle. This transfer began to be traditionally celebrated on Tuesdays after the Ascension: on that day the Augustinians served Mass at Saint-Chapelle, and beginning in 1309, by order of the King, sixty Dominicans and sixty Franciscans came there to celebrate the day of St. Louis. ”
After this, the distribution of the remains of Louis IX Saint continued. So, for example, Philip IV the Beautiful and his successors gave the phalanx of fingers to the King of Norway Hakon Magnusson for the church, which he erected in memory of the holy king on the island of Tysuen, near Bergen. Among the first recipients were also Dominican monks from Paris and Reims, the abbeys of Royomon and Pontoise. Queen Blanca of Sweden also received several bones for the monastery of Saint Brigitta in Vadsten …
After that, for many centuries, the strengths of this world have divided the remains of the holy king. Surprisingly, such treatment of the holy relics was not only an exception, but also a norm.
was about seventy) rather generously distributed, that’s not a single one. Several thorns, for example, are kept in the Vatican, many others spread all over the world as gifts to cathedrals and temples.
Particles of the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified fell into the collection of Louis IX the Saint at the end of September 1241. This relic was adorned with precious stones and gilding, but after the revolution, in April 1794, everything of value to the ruined collection of the National Library, where royal relics were moved for public display from the chapel of Saint-Chapelle, was stolen. The stones were gone, and precious salaries were melted down. Miraculously managed to save from looting only the wooden parts of the cross, and they are now stored in the cathedral of the Notre Dame. By the way, the rest of its parts are now in Toulouse, in Anjou, in the abbey of Saint-Gil-le-le-Déser in Hérault, as well as in Belgium, Italy, Germany and Spain.
As for the nails with which Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross, they were taken to Rome. This was done by the Empress Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, who was engaged in excavations in the Holy Land and discovered the remains of several wooden crosses, declaring that one of them is the one on which Jesus Christ was crucified. According to legend, a terrible storm began on the way, and the empress, in order to calm him, threw one nail into the Adriatic Sea. The remaining three nails the emperor Constantine then used during military operations – two in a helmet and one in the bridle of his horse. Now there are many nails claiming to be considered nails from the Holy Crucifixion. Most of them are copies or fakes of real nails.
Currently, one nail, as we have said, is stored in Paris, the second nail is in the cathedral city of Carpentras in the southeast of France. Two more are stored in Italy. These nails have long been the subjects of the controversy of historians: they should have been left only three, not four …
The Paris nail is now stored below the cross of the reliquary, under glass, and the particles of the Life-Giving Cross are in its upper part, behind the gold plate with the Greek inscription certifying the original belonging of the relic to the Byzantine emperor Manuel Comnenus.
Spear Longinus, which was pierced by Jesus, was long kept in Jerusalem. Then, fearing Saracens, the relic was hidden in Antioch, where it was found. Initially, the relic was taken to Jerusalem, then – to Constantinople, where she was in the temple of Hagia Sophia. After the fall of Constantinople, Emperor Baldwin II gave the spear point to Louis IX the Saint, and he transferred it to Paris, to the chapel of Saint-Chapelle, where it was kept next to the crown of Jesus Christ and other sacred relics. Another part of the spear remained in Constantinople until 1492. After the Turks captured the city, Sultan Bayazet sent a shaft in a rich reliquary to Pope Innocent VIII.
Concerning the Holy Sponge, which was moistened by the lips of Jesus on the cross, we can say the following. This relic was included in the collection of Louis IX Saint with the spearhead of Longin’s spear. After the “revolutionary” looting of 1794, both these relics disappeared. According to Jacques-Auguste-Simon Collins de Planci, who researched this question in the 19th century, a part of the sponge with traces of the blood of Jesus is kept in Rome, in the church of St. John Lateran. In addition, for the presence of the Holy Sponge indicate the church of Saint-Jacques in Compiègne, the abbey of Fleury and several other temples.
As for the fragment of Longin’s spear, it is now kept in St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome. It is believed that this relic came there in the XVIII century from Paris.
It was called as a grain warehouse, and then it was adapted to a judicial archive. Since 1790, the question of its demolition has been raised more than once, but, fortunately, this barbaric event was never implemented.
Archimandrite Augustine (Nikitin) says: “The storm of the French revolution of 1789 did not pass without a trace for this church. Affected facade decorations, some stained glass windows were lost … The sacred relics that the king collected all his life disappeared and placed in the Holy Chapel. Among them were a fragment of the Cross of Christ, a fragment of stone from the Holy Sepulcher, a flap from the burial veil of Christ, his purple scarf, brought from Egypt, and much more.
Now the little that has survived after the revolutionary rout is kept in different places: in the cathedral of the Notre Dame, there are remains of relics, and part of the church utensils are in the National Library, in the Cabinet of Medals. Relics are also enclosed in a hollow sphere, under a cross that crowns the spire of the Holy Chapel. A large jewelry cannon, where once stored relics, melted in 1789. After the revolution in France, when the chapel was closed, the Crown of the Savior was transferred to the National Library. ”
Thus, only in 1804, thanks to a concordant between Napoleon Bonaparte and the Pope, the surviving relics, which were sent to Paris by the efforts of the pious king Louis IX, were returned to Cardinal Jean-Baptiste de Bellois, who in 1802 became a Parisian archbishop.
In 1806, the Crown of Thorns and other shrines, sealed in special glass capsules, were placed in the treasury of the Notre Dame Cathedral, newly consecrated in 1804 specifically for the coronation of Napoleon by Pope Pius VII. There they are kept until now.
A special reliquary for the crown of thorns was donated by the Emperor Napoleon III in 1862.
This reliquary, made by Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, is made in the form of a medieval royal crown, resting on a massive pedestal with cast images of three royal persons who have successively possessed the crown of Thorns: the Empress Helena, the emperor of the Latin empire Baldwin II and Louis IX the Saint holding in the hands of the shrine delivered to Paris.
This is the story of the holy relics of the Passion of Christ: the crown of thorns, the lance of Longinus, the parts of the Life-giving Cross, and many others. After the capture and pillage of Constantinople, the Knights-Crusaders, all these priceless relics in one way or another found themselves in Europe, particularly in France. This, in fact, the plunder of the shrines was almost not documented. The only thing that is known relatively accurately is the fate of the Crown of Thorns. Much more difficult is the matter with the particles of the Life-Giving Cross, on which Jesus Christ was crucified, with nails from this cross, with the Holy Sponge, and also with the funerary painting of the Savior, which is now called the Turin Shroud.
By the way, the mentioned Shroud of Turin is a cloth 1.10 meters wide and 4.36 meters long, in which, according to legend, Joseph of Arimathea wrapped the body of Jesus Christ after his death. In it, Jesus was buried in an empty tomb, which was carved into a rock that was on the land of Joseph of Arimathea, near the garden near Calvary.
Before the pillage of the crusaders of Constantinople, that is until 1204, the shroud was kept in this city in the temple of Hagia Sophia. After the fall of Constantinople, it was “found” in France in 1353: Count Geoffroy de Charney announced that the shroud was with him (before that, it was secretly kept by the Knights Templar, but the order was dissolved in 1312). At first the shroud was exhibited in the city of Leary in the domain of the Count de Charney.
Soon people began to litter in Leary. A piece of cloth soaked in blood and then of Jesus Christ – could a relic be more precious to Christians? Bishops Henri de Poitiers and Pierre D’Arcy, such zeal of the parishioners finally outraged; they lamented the fact that the believers ceased to honor the relics of the city of Troyes and all at once went to Liri … Being an authoritative man, Pierre D’Arcy decided to put an end to the pilgrimage, but the de Charney family appealed for support to Pope Clement VII, and he permitted the pilgrimage …
In 1452 the Shroud was bought by the Duke of Louis I of Savoy. He kept it in Chambery, where she was injured in the fire of 1532. After the transfer of the capital to Turin in 1578, the shroud was stored in a special ark in the city cathedral of St. John the Baptist.
The Turin Shroud is opened for pilgrims to be viewed once in a quarter of a century. The last time it happened in the summer of 2000. Then it was seen by more than a million people. Accordingly, the next time the shroud is supposed to be put up in 2025. In the days of the Turin Olympics in 2006, a virtual image of the Shroud was displayed in the underground part of the Turin Cathedral using computer graphics, and an exposition dedicated to its history was arranged.
The crown of thorns of Jesus Christ and other relics of King Louis IX
The history of the Shroud, which is now the property of the Vatican (until 1983 it was the property of the Savoy dynasty), is full of wonders and mysteries. In particular, in 1898, when it was on display, amateur photographer Secondo Pia took pictures and suddenly found out on the negatives a human face. According to the historian Alain Decaux, “photos of Master Pia, when they were published, made a sensation.” Immediately believers came to the conclusion that the face and body of Jesus Christ were imprinted on the shroud, and therefore the Turin Shroud was valued as one of the most important relics of Christianity. At the same time, the Catholic Church does not officially recognize the shroud as genuine.
Alain Decaux writes about this:
“Since the Middle Ages, when the shroud was in France, the scientists were divided into two opposing camps. Some recognized it as genuine, and stains on it – in truth, not very clear – they claimed that they were traces of blood or sweat, printed well enough because the body of Jesus before the burial was smeared with aromatic ointments.
Others categorically denied this, arguing that the stains were the work of a fake artist who lived in the 13th century, who confessed to a bishop in everything. The pope even issued a special charter, in which the shroud was called an ordinary forgery.