Christian history abounds with relics showcased in grand cathedrals worldwide, from saints’ bones to garments. Among them, those linked to Christ hold the highest reverence. The most coveted, rivaled only by the Holy Grail, is the Holy Lance of Longinus.
The story of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is one of the most significant events in human history. Central to this narrative is the enigmatic weapon that is said to have pierced his side—the spear that killed Jesus.
The tale of this sacred relic has captivated historians, archaeologists, and believers for centuries. Let us journey to uncover the mysteries surrounding the spear that was pivotal in the crucifixion.
- 1 What Was The Weapon That Killed Jesus?
- 2 8 Facts About The Spear That Killed Jesus
- 2.1 1. The Bible Reveals The Spear That Killed Jesus
- 2.2 2. Symbol Of The Supernatural
- 2.3 3. Connection To Roman Emperors
- 2.4 4. Joseph Of Arimathea Brought The Spear To Britain
- 2.5 5. The Spear Includes A Nail From The Cross
- 2.6 6. The Fanaticism Of Hitler
- 2.7 7. Historical Dispute
- 2.8 8. Longinus Used The Spear
- 3 What Happened To The Spear That Killed Jesus?
- 4 Where Is The Spear Today?
- 5 Conclusion
What Was The Weapon That Killed Jesus?
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.— John 19:33–34
The “Holy Lance” or “Spear of Destiny” is believed to be the lance that pierced Jesus’ side on the cross, as the Gospel of John recounted. Roman soldiers guarding the crucifixion refrained from breaking Jesus’ legs, following Jewish custom.
To confirm his death, a soldier, often identified as Longinus in the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, pierced Jesus’ side, resulting in blood and water flowing out.
This event fulfilled a prophecy and confirmed his passing. The Gospel of Nicodemus, written much later than the canonical gospels, raises questions about the accuracy of the name Longinus.
This notion highlights the complexities of historical and fictitious accounts surrounding Jesus’ crucifixion. The Holy Lance’s significance lies in its association with these events and the beliefs developed around it over time.
8 Facts About The Spear That Killed Jesus
1. The Bible Reveals The Spear That Killed Jesus
The soldier was the blind Roman centurion Longinus. In one account, his stab at Jesus led blood and water to heal his eyes, restoring his sight. Struck by this miracle, Longinus embraced Christianity, later crucified for his faith in 45 AD. The spear, now known as the Holy Lance, became a potent talisman, passed down through time and sought by ambitious rulers.
2. Symbol Of The Supernatural
The Spear of Destiny is believed to confer invincibility upon its owners, an enchanted weapon granting command over unchallenged conquest. Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor, wielded it on 47 triumphant military campaigns, yet met his demise when he supposedly dropped the lance.
Similarly, early German King Henry the Fowler held the lance, followed by Saxon rulers. The renowned warrior king, Frederick Barbarossa, drowned shortly after dropping it in Turkey during the Third Crusade. The legend weaves tales of power and tragedy, intertwining the lance’s history with the fates of those who sought its mystical might.
3. Connection To Roman Emperors
The spear that killed Jesus is said to have passed through the hands of Roman emperors, each eager to harness its rumored mystical power.
Beginning with Tiberius, who acquired it after the crucifixion, the spear’s alleged journey continued with Constantine the Great, Charlemagne, and more. Constantine attributed victory to it; Charlemagne considered it symbolic of authority; and Frederick Barbarossa sought its unifying influence.
Throughout history, it has remained a symbol of coronations. Napoleon Bonaparte later coveted it for conquest. The spear’s significance endures as it blurs history and myth.
Today, it symbolizes the convergence of faith, power, and the quest for extraordinary artifacts, leaving an indelible mark on humanity’s collective imagination.
4. Joseph Of Arimathea Brought The Spear To Britain
The legend of Joseph of Arimathea brings a fascinating twist to history. He, who laid Jesus to rest, is said to have journeyed to ancient Britain with a spear in hand. This legendary account intertwines faith and adventure as Joseph spreads Christianity far from his homeland. One variant even depicts him arriving in Cornwall with an infant Jesus.
While skeptics may question its historical accuracy, the legend underscores the universal desire for spiritual connections that transcend borders. Whether fact or fiction, the enduring power of this narrative lies in its reflection of humanity’s innate yearning to immortalize divine sacrifice and preserve the essence of faith through captivating tales.
5. The Spear Includes A Nail From The Cross
The spear that pierced Jesus’ side holds a unique addition: the “Nail of Our Lord,” believed to be one of the crucifixion nails. This notion binds the relic to Christianity’s core. The golden cuff, inscribed “The Lance and the Nail of the Lord,” magnifies its sacredness.
Despite skepticism, this narrative bridges the tangible and the spiritual, letting believers connect to the sacrifice. Regardless of accuracy, it underscores our urge to link with the divine and find meaning in history.
The spear and its mysterious nail symbolize faith’s enduring might, shaping beliefs. They embody the timeless strength of stories that shape our faith.
6. The Fanaticism Of Hitler
Before WWI, Adolf Hitler frequented Vienna’s Hofburg Museum, encountering the Holy Lance from the Habsburg collection. This experience seemingly influenced his destiny. Philosopher Walter Johannes Stein claimed Hitler saw the lance as linked to his future power through black magic.
In 1938, Hitler addressed Austrians post-annexation, while the Holy Lance and regalia moved to Nuremberg under SS guard.
In 1945, the spear was seized by Americans shortly before Hitler’s suicide. Once entwined with Hitler’s ambitions, this relic highlights the interplay of belief, power, and historical course. It mirrors how objects intersect with individuals’ aspirations, shaping significant historical events.
7. Historical Dispute
Historians and scholars have debated the authenticity of the spear and the accuracy of its historical journey through various hands.
In 2003, Austrian authorities allowed British metallurgist Robert Feather to examine the 50-cm lance scientifically. Despite its legendary status, no traces of blood or DNA were found. Using X-ray and fluorescence tests, researchers explored the lance’s material composition.
The results indicated that the spear’s features aligned with craftsmanship from the 7th century AD, long after Christ’s crucifixion.
Interestingly, Dr. Feather discovered a link to antiquity: the “Nail of Our Lord,” an iron element on the spear, matched a 1st-century AD nail. Science sheds light on the artifact’s historical journey through the interplay between fact and legend.
8. Longinus Used The Spear
The Roman soldier traditionally believed to have used the spear was named Longinus. According to some speculations, after piercing Jesus’s side, he converted to Christianity and was venerated as a saint in some Christian denominations.
Longinus’s transformation and his part in acknowledging Jesus as the Son of God hold deep symbolism in Christian theology. He’s like this incredible proof that anyone, even a Roman soldier who was right there during the crucifixion, can totally find faith and see that Jesus is divine.
What Happened To The Spear That Killed Jesus?
The spear that ended Jesus’ life is shrouded in mystery. After the crucifixion, its history has faded over time. Legends say it passed through rulers of the Holy Roman Empire, holding mystical power as a symbol of victory. Saint Joseph of Arimathea brought it to Britain, and Charlemagne and Napoleon sought its might.
Claimants vie for the Holy Lance, yet tests cast doubt, with no blood or DNA found. Its fate remains elusive, blurring history and myth, reflecting humanity’s fascination with the divine.
While its physical location may be lost, its legacy persists, fueling discussions on faith and history. The Holy Lance saga underscores relics’ timeless allure.
Where Is The Spear Today?
The current location of the real holy lance remains a subject of speculation and mystery. Several claimants have presented various spears as the genuine Holy Lance but have yet to be universally accepted as the authentic relic.
1. St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome
The primary contender for the Holy Lance rests under St. Peter’s Basilica. Its lineage dates back to 570 AD, recorded by a pilgrim describing it alongside the crown of thorns. Obscurity clouds its history after the Persian conquest of Jerusalem in 615 AD, splitting it into point and blade.
The point journeyed through Constantinople and France before disappearing in the French Revolution. The larger blade might have followed a similar path, taken by Ottoman Turks in 1492 and later offered to Pope Innocent VIII.
2. Imperial Treasury, Hofburg Palace, Vienna
Within Austria’s Hofburg Palace resides another contender, whose origins are clouded in uncertainty. Its history is entwined with various titles—Spear of Constantine the Great, Saint Maurice’s Weapon, and more.
By the 10th century, it belonged to Holy Roman Emperors. Its credentials grew over time, and it claimed to be adorned with a nail from Jesus’ cross and the Holy Lance. However, modern X-ray analysis places its creation in the 8th century, casting doubt on its authenticity.
3. Vagharshapat, Armenia
The city of Vagharshapat shelters yet another spear, its origins shrouded in mystery. Although legend attributes its arrival to Apostle Thaddeus, historical records only mention it in the 13th century. Despite claims of apostolic origins, there is a need for earlier evidence to strengthen its case.
4. Antioch, Middle East
The last contender’s tale springs from a vision during the First Crusade. In 1098, a monk named Peter Bartholomew unearthed a spearhead in Antioch, supposedly guided by an image from St. Andrew. However, this spear’s provenance faces a significant void in history, making its claim the most fragile.
The holy spear that killed Jesus is more than a mere artifact. It symbolizes the enduring power of faith, belief, and the quest for the mysterious.
As we delve into the depths of human history, we uncover a narrative not merely centered around a tangible relic but one that encapsulates humanity’s yearning for a spiritual connection and an unwavering quest for the enigmatic.
While the authentic destiny of the true holy lance may linger veiled in obscurity, its enduring heritage perpetually kindles a sense of astonishment and reverence. It serves as a poignant testament to the profound influence of faith in shaping the trajectory of human civilization.