AS part of Lent celebrations, several churches in Motril have received the ‘Lignum Crucis’ (True Cross) believed to be part of the cross on which Jesus was crucified.
It arrived in the town last month and many people from Motril and elsewhere have visited local churches to get a look. Back in 313 AD, Roman Emperor Constantine legalised Christianity he had a vision of a shining cross in the night sky while leading his soldiers into battle near the Danube.
It read, ‘With this Cross you will Win’. He ordered his soldiers to build a similar cross to lead the troops and obtained a huge victory.
Upon learning it was the Christian symbol, he converted and had several churches built. He then sent his mother, later known as Saint Helena, to Jerusalem, to find the Cross. At 77, she considered this trip penitence for the harm caused by the Roman Empire.
When she found the locals less than helpful, Saint Helena, who considered herself to be the ‘Mother of Christianity’ because her son had allow freedom of worship, began to torture them to find the exact location of the Holy Cross.
A man named Judas Cyriacus, whom she left without food for several days, revealed that the Cross was buried beneath a temple to Venus.
Three crosses were found, as well as a sponge, a spear, a helmet, the nails with which Christ was crucified and the piece of wood reading INRI which Pontius Pilate ordered to be placed above the cross.
Saint Helena believed that the Cross where Jesus was crucified would have miraculous powers and took all three to a terminally ill woman, who was healed instantly upon coming in contact with one of them.
She then ordered that this cross be divided into three parts, one which was given to Bishop Macarius of Jerusalem, the second sent to her son in Rome, and the third placed in what would become the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem.
Later, further divisions were made, and it is now said that there are so many pieces of the ‘True Cross’ throughout the world, that putting them all together would make not one, but up to three crosses.
However, experts refute this, saying that some of the pieces are so minuscule that a magnifying glass is needed to see them.
The largest piece of the ‘True Cross’ is in Spain, at the Franciscan Santo Toribio de Liebana Monastery near Potes, in Cantabria, given to them in 1512 by Pope Julius II.
By Jennifer Leighfield