The Stone of the Anointing can be found inside the main entrance to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem. It was placed there after the reconstruction of the church had been finished in 1810 (Murphy-O’Connor, 1998).
According to tradition, the slab of reddish Stone is located in commemoration on the spot where Saint Joseph of Arimathea had prepared the Body of Jesus Christ for burial (See the Holy Land, 2017). It belongs conjointly to the Armenian Orthodox, the Roman Catholics and the Greek Orthodox that are at the Sepulcher, all of whom were indicated as primary custodians of the church in the firman of the Ottoman Sultan, Osman III, in 1863 (ibid.; Morio, 2014). Above is a photograph of a relic from the Stone of the Anointing in a sealed hand-carved, gilt-bronze reliquary that comes from the Custodian Franciscans serving the Holy Land.
The Holy Sepulcher
The Holy Sepulcher is the tomb where Christ was buried for three days before His Resurrection. It is located 295 feet (90 meters) northwest of Golgotha. The tomb had been provided for the burial of Christ by Saint Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin who had quietly disagreed with their condemnation of the Savior.
The tomb, which has a bed of limestone (Romey, 2016; Pells, 2016) upon which the Body of Christ had been placed, is enclosed inside the Kouvouklion, a small chapel that is located in the Aedicule of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher. The bed had been covered for centuries by a marble slab with a cross on it, which had been reportedly engraved by the Crusaders. Above is a photograph of a small stone from the Holy Sepulcher in the same sealed bronze reliquary that comes from the Custodian Franciscans in Jerusalem.
The Burial Shroud is a linen cloth of 14 feet 5 inches long by 3 feet 7 inches wide (4.4 x 1.1 meters). Imprinted on it is the negative image of the Body of Jesus Christ (Adler, 2002), which had resulted after the Savior was wrapped in it for His entombment after the Crucifixion.
The Shroud is known to have been in the possession of the Byzantine emperors until the Sack of Constantinople, which occurred in April 1204 (Poulle, 2009). Boniface I and his chief counselor, Othon de la Roche, took the Shroud from the Church of Saint Mary of Blachernae together with other relics and kept them in Athens (Anon., n. d.; Legrand, 1982; Piana, 2014; Rinaldi, 1983; Villehardouin, 2007). But after that no mention of it has been reliably documented for another two centuries.
The knight, Geoffroy I de Charny, and his wife, Jeanne de Vergy, were noted as the new owners of the Shroud in the 14th century, where it was preserved from 1360 to 1389 at Monfort-en-Auxois. Their great-granddaughter, Marguerite de Charny, gave the Shroud to Louis I of the Casa di Savoiain 1453 (Chevalier, 1900; Dubarle, 1993), in exchange for the castle of Varambon and monetary assets. The Savoyards in turn presented it to the Holy See in 1983.
The Shroud is woven in a 3-to-1 herringbone twill pattern made of flax fibrils. The negative image imprinted on it has been described as that of
A front and back view of a naked man with his hands folded across his groin. The two views are aligned along the midplane of the body and point in opposite directions. The front and back views of the head nearly meet at the middle of the cloth (ibid.).
The burial cloth of Christ can be found enclosed in a bullet-proof glass case at the Cappella della Sacra Sindone in Turin, Italy. This chapel had been built in the 17th century by Carlo Emmanuele II to house the sacred relic.
Above is a photograph of a single thread from the Shroud in a sealed reliquary that comes from the Augustinians. A limited number of relics of the Shroud had been distributed to Catholic bishops around the world after a drop of molten silver from a fire had damaged a small part of it in 1532, while at the Sainte Chapelle in Chambéry, France (Cruz, 1984).
 The culmination of the Fourth Crusade, which is considered a major victory and turning point in medieval history.
 Marchese di Monferrato and King of Thessaloniki. Boniface was one of the knight-commanders of the Fourth Crusade.
 Baron of Ray-sur-Saõne and the first Frankish Lord of Athens.
 Chambéry was the capital of the Savoy region at the time. After the fire, Emmanuele Filiberto, the current Duke of Savoy, ordered that the Shroud be translated to Turin where it has remained since 1578. The coffer in which it traveled can also be seen (Piana, 2014).
Relics of the true effigy of the Holy Face originate with the 19th century miracle that had occurred with the Veil of Veronica kept at the Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican City (Cruz, 2015). The Veil, which the pious woman had given to Jesus Christ at the top of the steep hill located between al-Wad Road and the Souq Khan al-Zeit (Sacred Destinations, 2019), so that He could wipe away the Blood and sweat pouring down His Face while carrying the Cross, had been taken to Rome by Saint Veronica herself during the reign of the Emperor Tiberius.
In 1849, during the revolution that had occurred at the time of Saint Pius IX, the Veil of Veronica was on display for veneration after Vespers on the 5th Sunday in Lent (Cruz, 2015). All of a sudden, it was transfigured in front of everyone present. The Face of Christ appeared as though it was lifelike. It was also surrounded with a halo of soft golden light, while the Veil itself glowed with the divine light in front of everyone present.
The miracle lasted for three hours and one the Canons of Saint Peter was ordered by the Pope to draw the Holy Face as it had appeared transfigured in order to preserve it for posterity (For All the Saints, 2009). Saint Pius IX also ordered that the Canon’s drawing of the Holy Face be engraved as an effigy onto linen cloths that would be touched to the original Veil of Veronica, a relic of the True Cross and the tip of the spear of Longinus, making them precious relics in themselves, not just devotional images (Archconfraternity of the Holy Face, 1887). These effigies were to bear the official wax seal of a Cardinal of the Catholic Church and imprinted with the textual description:
VERA EFFIGIES SACRI VULTUS DOMINI NOSTRI JESU CHRISTI
The true effigies of the Holy Face are known to have been distributed for a period of about 75 years. Above is a photograph of the effigy of the Holy Face that comes from Rome.
 One of the few images of the Holy Face not made by human hands (Cannuli, 2014).
 Originally named Seraphia (Doyle, 2000) and commonly known as the pious woman, she became identified as Veronica in the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus (Reid, 1913), because of the imprint of His Face that Christ had left on her Veil in gratitude for her merciful gesture.
 Tiberius was the Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD.
UPDATE: The Crown of Thorns that was held at Notre Dame, together with other precious relics, is presently being held at the Louvre after the conflagration that occurred on April 16, 2019 at the Cathedral.
The ring of canes that makes up the base of the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus Christ during the Passion can now be found at the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris (2010). Its diameter is 8.5 inches (21cm). The Crown was carried to France from Venice by two Dominican friars in August 1239 and eventually placed in the Sainte-Chapelle, after Saint Louis IX had redeemed it for 13,134 gold ducats from Baldwin II, the Emperor of Constantinople.
Baldwin had pawned the Crown of Thorns as security with a Venetian bank for the money he needed to borrow, to support his crumbling empire. The Crown had been housed in the Basilica of Hagia Zion in Jerusalem since 409, until it was translated to Constantinople during the Crusades. The Crown had been braided from the rushes of the Juncus balticus, while the thorns attached to it by the Roman soldiers were from the Ziziphus spina-christi.
Numerous thorns have been splintered off from the Crown throughout the centuries and distributed widely around the world. More notable are those held at Saint Michael’s Church, in Ghent, Belgium; the Cathedral of Saint Vitus in Prague, Czech Republic; the Cathedral of Trier, Germany; the Basilica della Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, Rome, Italy; the Cathedral of Oviedo, Spain; the British Museum, England; and Saint Anthony’s Chapel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America (Gazetteer of Relics and Miraculous Images, 2009). Above is a photograph of a relic from the Crown of Thorns in a sealed reliquary that comes from the Augustinians.
 The Sainte-Chapelle was built specifically by Saint Louis IX to house the Crown of Thorns and 28 other relics he had received from Baldwin II.
 Baltic rush taken from the Jucaceae perennial flowering plant native to Northern Britain, the Baltic and Scandinavia.
 Christ’s thorn jujube, an evergreen plant native to Africa, the Middle East, Southern and Western Asia.
Before crowning Him with thorns after the Scourging at the Pillar, at the order of Herod Antipas, the Roman soldiers at the court forced Jesus Christ to wear a purple robe in mockery of His kingship of the Jews (Lk 23:6-12). The soldiers then stripped Christ of this robe after Pontius Pilate had presented Him to the mob (Jn 19:5) and made Him put back on His seamless garment to carry the Cross. Above is a photograph of a very rare relic of the Purple Robe in a sealed reliquary that comes from the Augustinians.
 Purple was at the time considered to be the color worn by kings.
 The seamless garment had been woven for Christ by the Virgin Mary.
The column of flagellation to which Christ had been tied during the Scourging at the Pillar was made of marble (McNeely, 2015). Part of the column remained at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher and resides in the Franciscan Chapel (Mason, 2017). Another part of it was given to Giovanni, Cardinal di Colonna the Younger, by the king of Jerusalem during the Fourth Crusade. Colonna took it back with him to Rome, Italy, and placed it in the Basilica di Santa Prassede, his cardinalate church (McNeely, 2015). This part of the Column is housed in a bronze reliquary and can be found at the San Zeno Chapel.
Fragments of the column of flagellation have been distributed around the world throughout the centuries in ways similar to the True Cross. Above is a photograph of a small piece of the column in a sealed reliquary that comes from Rome.
 The Crusades were a series of nine religious wars that started in 1095 by order of Pope Urban II (Mills, 1820). These wars were carried out to recover the Holy Land and other sacred sites for Christianity from under Muslim rule, which had been in place since the 7th century. It was common practice during the Crusades to translate relics from the Holy Land to Rome and other places in the West for their ‘preservation’ (Andrea & Rachlin, 1992; McNeely, 2015).
Many of the ropes of the flagellation of Jesus Christ that took place during the Scourging at the Pillar can be found at the Basilica di Santa Prassede in Rome, Italy, to where they were translated during the Fourth Crusade. Above is a photograph of a few strands from one of the ropes in a sealed reliquary that comes from Rome.
After the death of Jesus Christ, the very last thing the leaders of the Jews wanted at the time was any mention of Christ being able to rise from the dead (Mayo, 2018). They had heard enough of that in the preceding years and wanted no more of it. For them it was blasphemy. Thus, to prevent such a thing from happening, after Christ died, the Jews proceeded to dump the wood of the Cross into a ditch and covered it over with several boulders to prevent it from ever being found. But in 320, the aged Saint Helena visited Jerusalem in the hope of learning more about Christ’s life and the places where He had been (Socrates Scholasticus, 1984).
With the support of both her son and Saint Macarius of Jerusalem, Helena ordered that the 2nd century temple to Venus, which had been built upon what was suspected to be the tomb of Christ, be destroyed and replaced by what is today known as the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher (ibid.; Eusebius of Caesarea, 4th cent.). But as workers were carrying out the demolition and excavation works in compliance with Helena’s request, under the religio-jurisdictional supervision of Macarius, three crosses were found buried among the rubble on September 14: the Cross of Christ, with the titular inscription I. N. B. I. still attached to it; and the crosses of Saint Dismas, the good thief, and Gesmas, the bad thief (da Varagine, 1260).
Macarius ordered that the three crosses be placed alternatively upon a woman who was so ill that she was considered to be on her deathbed (Socrates Scholasticus, 1984). The woman is said to have recovered when touched by the third cross, which was the Cross of Christ with its inscription.
A large part of the True Cross of Christ was then placed in a silver casket and has remained at the Basilica of Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem (Marucchi, 1908; McClure, 1919). A second large part was later taken to Rome, Italy, and placed for veneration at the Basilica della Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, which was also built by Helena. A third large part was taken by the queen to the palace in Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey), where Constantine proceeded to declare the city impregnable to enemy attacks. Smaller parts of the Cross were broken up into fragments and widely distributed to the faithful throughout the world.
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 350) declared that
The holy wood of the Cross bears witness, seen among us to this day, and from this place now almost filling the whole world, by means of those who in faith take portions of it.
Significant parts of the Cross can, among others, also be found at the Monastery of Koutloumousiou on Mount Athos, Greece; the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, France; the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption in Pisa, Italy; the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana, Spain; and at the Monasterio de Tarlac in San Jose, Philippines.
Presented above are photographs of two small relics of the True Cross in a sealed brass reliquary, together with their detail. They are placed one upon the other to form of a cross. These fragments of the Cross of Christ come from that part of the True Cross that can be found in Istanbul. Their provenance was certified in 2004 by Paul Karatas, then Archbishop of the Chaldean Eparchy of Diarbekir, Turkey.
 Macarius was the bishop of Jerusalem from 312 to 335.
 The goddess of love, beauty, sex, fertility, prostitution, and victory (Garcia, 2013). Venus was the mother of Hermaphroditos who epitomized androgyny.
 In 335, this day was proclaimed thenceforth in the Church as the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (or Triumph of the Holy Cross), with the first feast being held on the dedication of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher (Holy Sepulcher, n. d.).
Iησοῦς ὁ Ναζωραῖος ὁ Bασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων [Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Judeans] as had been ordered to be written by Pontius Pilate despite the objections raised by the Jewish leaders: “Oγέγραφα γέγραφα” [What I have written, I have written] (Brown, 1988; cf. Ps 56, 57).
 Blessed Jacobus da Varagine was the archbishop of Genova from 1288 until his death 10 years later. According to da Varagine, the Cross of Christ was made from the different types of wood of three trees, the seeds of which had been planted by Seth in the mouth of Adam’s corpse during his father’s burial. These trees of cedar, cypress and pine (Roman, 2005; cf. Is 60:13) were said to have sprouted in one spot from the seeds of the Tree of Mercy in the Garden of Eden. The wood from the three trees had been used to build Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem.
At this time of Passiontide, posts over the coming days will address nine holy relics of the Passion and Death of our Lord, Jesus Christ, together with their history and provenance. These posts are intended specifically for your edification. Relics addressed will be the following:
In response to the previous post on Islam, a question was raised to the effect of “Can a just war exist?” Here is a summary answer to this question from the lens of Christianity.
I desire mercy, not sacrifice (Hos 6:6; Mt 9:13).
‘Just war’ according to the Scholastics
Formal ‘just war’ doctrine in Western Christianity is thought to have commenced with Saint Augustine. This was based on the following passage written by the Apostle Paul in his Letter to the Romans:
For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer (13:4).
Augustine, in his Contra Faustum Manichaeum, argued that Christians did not need to feel ashamed of protecting peace and punishing wickedness when mandated to do so by a government. However, he asserted that this argument was personal and philosophical: “What is here required is not a bodily action, but an inward disposition.” In the meantime, in his work The City of God, Augustine elaborated:
They who have waged war in obedience to the divine command, or in conformity with His laws, have represented in their persons the public justice or the wisdom of government, and in this capacity have put to death wicked men; such persons have by no means violated the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ . . . the wise man will wage Just Wars. As if he would not all the rather lament the necessity of just wars, if he remembers that he is a man; for if they were not just he would not wage them, and would therefore be delivered from all wars.
Saint Thomas Aquinas
In the Summa Theologica written 900 years later, Saint Thomas Aquinas revised Augustine’s stance by formulating three criteria that were all required to be met in order for a war to be considered ‘just.’ These criteria were that:
The war had to be declared and waged by a legitimate authority (e.g., the state);
The cause for war had to be both just and good (e.g., to restore something that had been lost), rather than carried out for self-gain or power; and
The right intent for the war needed to underlie the decision to go to war.