Matthew 27:32-56 records the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. After Jesus was resurrected, he ascended to heaven. Many people have different beliefs about the whereabouts of the Cross on which he was crucified. Some say it does not exist, while others believe it still exists. So, where is Jesus’ Cross now?
Christians’ traditions record that Jesus’ Cross has been divided among different churches worldwide. After Jesus’ Cross was first found in 326 AD, it disappeared and reappeared severally. Today there are only fragments of the Cross, which are said to have been spread worldwide for Christians to witness and pray with them.
Can historians and religious scholars accurately retrace the true Cross of Christ? Where was the true Cross first found? Who first found Jesus’ Cross? First disappearance of the Cross. Second disappearance of the Cross. The third disappearance of the Cross. The fourth disappearance of the Cross The dispersal of the true Cross Are there any remains of Jesus’ Cross? Where are the remains of Jesus’ Cross located? Keep reading to find the answers to these questions and more.
Can historians and religious scholars accurately retrace the true Cross of Christ?
It is hard for historians and religious scholars to retrace the true Cross of Christ accurately. After Saint Helen discovered the Cross, it disappeared and reappeared three times. This has caused the Cross to be broken to pieces.
These pieces have been spread to different continents. They are preserved in various churches where Christians visit to worship and pray on them. Some parts have been lost in the years since when it was found. Therefore, one can only retrace some of the pieces of the Cross.
Where was the true Cross first found?
Saint Helena is said to have found the true Cross in Jerusalem. Roman Emperor Constantine the Great ordered the construction of a church after his mother found the true Cross and the tomb of Jesus in an old Temple. The church was named the Holy Sepulchre. The church was built in the 4th century and is said to be where Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected.
The Holy Sepulchre is shared among different denominations and is said to be a Christian pilgrimage. The main denominations sharing the church are the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Armenian Apostolic, and to a minor unit, the Syriac Orthodox, Coptic church of Alexandria, and Ethiopian Orthodox churches.
Who first found Jesus’ Cross?
The person that discovered the true Cross of Jesus Christ is called Saint Helene (Flavia Julia Helena Augusta). She is the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. St. Helena is said to have discovered the true Cross in her pilgrimage in 326 to the Holy land.
Helena was from a humble beginning working as a barmaid when she met her lover soldier of Balkan origin named Flavius Constantius. She gave birth to his first son, who became the Roman Emperor. Helena became the first lady of the Empire when her son’s wife committed suicide.
According to Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, her son influenced Helena to convert to Christianity. She was named the noblest lady of the Empire. Even after being the Empire’s queen, she made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. During her journey, she visited the churches her son had ordered to be built and even prayed for him. Also, amid her journey, she helped the poor, restored the exiles, and even released the prisoners.
Judas directed Helena, Macarius, Bishop of Jerusalem, and Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, to the site where the Cross was. After digging the site, they found three crosses and did not know which the true Cross of Jesus was. There were three crosses because Jesus was crucified with two thieves. The crosses were laid in the middle of the city, and Bishop Macarius brought a sick woman with an incurable disease to the Cross. The woman touched the three crosses and was healed upon touching the third Cross. The Cross was then believed to be the true Cross of Jesus Christ.
First disappearance of the Cross
After the resurrection of Jesus, it is believed that many people wanted to prevent the spread of Christianity. The people trying to avoid the spread of Christianity made sure to cover all the evidence about the death and resurrection of Jesus. Among the things hidden was the Cross used in the crucifixion of Jesus in Golgotha. They hid the Cross in a trench along with the two crosses the thieves were crucified on and covered with stones to discourage Christians from finding any relics.
After around 326 years, Saint Helena, the Empress of the Roman Empire, together with Macarius, Bishop of Jerusalem, and Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, arrived at the site where the Cross of Jesus was believed to be and retrieved it. They found three crosses as predicted but needed to know the True Cross.
The crosses were laid down in a line to find out which the true Cross was, and Macarius made a sick woman touch all the crosses. Upon touching the third Cross, the woman got healed, and the Empress believed she had found the true Cross. A church was then built where the Cross was discovered and named the Holy Sepulchre. The relics were preserved at this church which Christians would visit to see until 614.
Second disappearance of the Cross
The second disappearance of the Cross of Jesus happened in 614 during negotiations between Persians and the Eastern Roman Empire. The Cross was used as the trade-off of the negotiations. The Eastern Romans lost to the Persians, and the Persians took the Cross. The Cross was not heard of for almost 15 years.
Sixteen years later, in 630, Byzantine Emperor Heraclius won a war over the Persians and retrieved the relics of the Cross. He only returned a part of the relic, and the other parts remained with him at a Calvary in Constantinople. The church then decided that this event would be celebrated as The Triumph of the Cross every 14th September.
Third disappearance of the Cross
After a few years, Jerusalem started to get invaded by Arabs, and it succumbed to Muslim rule. However, Christians that guided and worshipped the True Cross were not affected and even increased in number. They lived in Constantinople, where parts of the Cross were.
During the 10th Century, Christians who worshiped the true Cross were persecuted. They decided to hide parts of the Cross to prevent its destruction by the invaders. The Cross then disappeared for the third time for about 99 years.
In 1099, the Cross was found and put back in the Holy Sepulchre’s Basilica. The Christians there made it the symbol of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.
Fourth disappearance of the Cross
The fourth disappearance of the True Cross happened in 1187. The Cross disappeared during a battlefield of Hattin. The crusaders of Jerusalem had taken the Cross to the battlefield so that it could bring them victory against Sultan Saladin.
To their disappointment, they lost the battle and fell into the hands of the Sultan. The Cross disappeared without a trace this time since the Sultan and Jerusalem did not take it. Fable record that when Pope Urban III heard about the disappearance of the Cross, he died on the spot.
The dispersal of the true Cross
In 1204, the Fourth crusade attempted to recover Jerusalem but captured Constantinople. It is recorded that the fragments preserved at Constantinople were found during the conquest, and they were lovely since they had been decorated with gold.
Later during the French Revolution in 1794, fragments of the Cross were donated to different churches to guard them. Robert de Clari, a France adventurer, wrote, “within this chapel were found many precious relics; for there were found two pieces of the True Cross, as thick as a man’s leg and a fathom in length. Today it is believed that there are a few fragments in the treasury of the sacristy of Notre Dame Cathedral.
Are there any remains of Jesus’ Cross?
The Cross’s remains are said to have been donated to different churches. In February 2020, the Sergiy Khalyuta archpriest of the Sevastopol District said that a donor purchased a piece of the True Cross, which was to be transferred to Russia later.
In 2022, the piece was placed in the Russian cruiser, which had a chapel called Moskva. However, the ship sank in the sea during the Russian-Ukraine war. It is said that the piece was not retrieved and went down with the ship.
This proves that there are pieces of Jesus’ Cross. The parts are said to be in different churches across the world.
Where are the remains of Jesus’ Cross located?
The remains of Jesus’ Cross are said to have been donated to different churches worldwide. This is to protect them and make them available to various Christians worldwide. The most significant part of the True Cross is in Spain at the Roman Catholic Church, Santo Toribio de Liebana. Christians visit this church since it has been put as a pilgrimage site to worship and pray with the piece of the True Cross.
Also, there are a few fragments of Jesus’ Cross in the treasury of the sacristy of Notre Dame Cathedral. In Asia, pieces of the Cross are only found in the Philippines at Monasterio de Tarlac in San Jose.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.