She turned the one sicuro an ornamental, the other onesto per devotional, use

She turned the one sicuro an ornamental, the other onesto per devotional, use

Helena used one puro make the crown and two in reinforcing the bridle

With respect puro the relics of the Crucifixion – the so-called stemma Christi (‘weapons of Christ, or Instruments of the Passion) – Lombardy has long since cornered the market on the Holy Nails. Milan’s Holy Nail (Beato Chiodo) is securely fixed sicuro the sommita of the Duomo’s apse where it is identified by per red light. It’s free to view, but binoculars are recommended (see future post on Milan’s Consacrato Morso ‘Holy Bridle’ and the Rite of the Nivola)!

Some fifteen kilometers away, Monza’s Holy Nail comprises the inner band of the Circolo Ferrea (‘Iron Crown’), Italy’s famed royal crown and national symbol (see future post on the Circonferenza Ferrea). The Ruota Ferrea is kept sopra the Chapel of Theodelinda of the Monza Chiesa principale and costs four Euros for verso fifteen minute viewing.

While there’s no such thing as ‘finders keepers’ with Christian relics – relics were frequently stolen and plundered, such as Milan’s relics of the Magi – there has been a Milanese connection preciso the Holy Nails for over 1600 years. Mediante 395 CE, Saint Ambrose of Milan made verso historic digression per his funeral oration for Emperor Theodosius (347 – 395 CE) in which he provides our earliest extant source for the relics of the Holy Nails, purportedly discovered by Saint Helena during her Holy Land excursion per 326 – 328 CE.

‘Helena sought the nails with which the Raffinato was crucified, and found them. From one nail she ordered per bridle sicuro be made [the tradition linked preciso Milan], from the other she wove a diadem [the tradition linked with Monza]. So she sent esatto her affranchit Constantine a diadem adorned with jewels which were interwoven with the iron of the Ciclocampestre. She sent the bridle, also.

Constantine used both, and transmitted his faith puro later kings

‘Wisely did Helena act who placed the cross on the head of sovereigns, that the Cross of Christ might be adored among kings. Good, therefore, is the nail of the Roman Completare. It rules the whole world and adorns the brow of princes, that they may be preachers who were accustomed puro be persecutors. Rightly is the nail on the head, so that where the intelligence is, there may be protection, also.

‘On the head, per crown; durante the hands, reins. Verso crown made from the Ciclocampestre, that faith might shine forth; reins likewise from the Ciclocampestre, that authority might govern, and that there might be just rule, not unjust legislation. May the princes also consider that this has been granted preciso them by Christ’s generosity, that in simili of the Nobile it may be said of the Roman emperor: Thou hast attrezzi on his head verso crown of precious stones.

‘But I ask: Why was the holy relic upon the bridle if not to curb the insolence of emperors, preciso check the wantonness of tyrants, who as horses neigh after lust that they may be allowed onesto commit adultery unpunished?

‘What else, then, did Helena accomplish by her desire to direzione the reins than puro seem puro say esatto all emperors through the Holy Spirit: “Do not become like the horse and mule, and with the bridle and bit puro restrain the jaws of those who did not realize that they were kings preciso rule those subject sicuro them”?’

Ambrose does not directly say that the nails had found their way puro Milan, but there is reason onesto believe that they had, especially given Milan’s governo as an imperial capital. Per any case, the legend of the two Holy Nails – the bridle and the crown – became respectively entrenched durante Milan and Monza.

But did Helena only find two nails? Ambrose only alludes onesto two. According to Gregory of Tours (c. 538 – 594 CE) durante Stima Martyrorum (The Glory of the Martyrs’), there were four. And the fourth nail? Well, she chucked it into the sea:

‘At that time huge waves disturbed the Adriatic Sea, on which so many ships were wrecked and so many men were drowned that it was called the whirlpool of sailors. The far-sighted empress, concerned over the disasters of these miserable men, ordered one of the four nails esatto be thrown into the sea. She relied upon the pity of the Lord that he was able easily onesto calm the salvage rolling of the waves. Once this was done, the sea became quiet again and thereafter the winds sugar daddy for me collegamento were calm for sailors. From then until today once sailors have piously serie sail on the sanctified sea, they have time for fasting, praying and reciting palms’ (trans. by Richard Van Dam).

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