Video: Archaelogists find piece of True Cross in Turkey?

posted at 1:21 pm on August 5, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Hey, this could be the best thing to happen to religion since Barney Frank declared himself an atheist. On the other hand, it will probably be another food fight over the authenticity of relics, which are fairly irrelevant to faith in general. Archeologists will have a field day with the discovery of the relic in the remains of a seventh-century church in Turkey, though, and it’s a fascinating find regardless of its origin:

Archaeologists working at an ancient church in Turkey believe they have unearthed a piece of the cross used to crucify Jesus.

But it could take years of analysis before the world will know for sure.

“We have found a holy thing in a chest; it’s a piece of a cross,” said one of the archaeologists.

Workers believe that cross is the one Jesus died on Friday, April 3, 33 A.D.

Believe is the operative word here. It may well be that the original church in Turkey believed the relic to be part of the True Cross, even without the use of carbon dating. There may have been an oral and/or written tradition that supported the belief at the time, although that tradition may or may not be recoverable now. Clearly it was an object of veneration, which would make that belief at the time very clear; after all, what other chunk of wood would call for that kind of treatment by a Christian church of that period?

Carbon dating, though, can’t provide a definitively positive answer to that question, as a moment’s thought makes clear. It could set the date of the lumber’s production at or near the year of the Crucifixion, but it can’t tell the date of its use nor the victim executed on it — or even if it was used in an execution at all. At best, archeology can only provide correlative data that might tend to support or discredit the claim, but can’t offer much proof in either direction. Science is of limited application in cases like these, especially with a lack of information about the object and its provenance.

That doesn’t make the story any less fascinating. Perhaps it will remind people of the rich Christian traditions in Turkey and the surrounding regions, or inspire more interest in archeology. Hopefully, it will inspire some to embrace Christianity, which was the purpose of relics all along, but that embrace won’t rely on the results of carbon dating.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

Maybe that’s why everything’s so big.

Schadenfreude on August 5, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Archaelogists find piece of True Cross in Turkey?

MSM Headline: Proof Found of Justice for Gay Hate Speech Leader

faraway on August 5, 2013 at 1:29 PM

But it could take years of analysis before the world will know for sure.

Years for analysis for a Christian Artifact, but 30 seconds of analysis to determine Global Warming/human effected climate change.

portlandon on August 5, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Video plays for about 2 seconds and then switches to a commercial.

iceman1960 on August 5, 2013 at 1:30 PM

If it is authenticated, and DNA can be extracted from it, does that mean we could soon be eating Jesus Meat(tm) courtesy of Google? That would be one heck of a communion…

(No offense was meant by this comment.)

stvnscott on August 5, 2013 at 1:33 PM

Would anyone like to guess how many crosses made of wood were produced by the Romans to be used in crucifixion of prisoners?

To my knowledge, not one had a serial number.

applebutter on August 5, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Let’s see, bring it to Obama press conference. If the teleprompter goes out…

Oil Can on August 5, 2013 at 1:34 PM

I looked in vain all throughout my New Testament for Christ’s quote “Verily, I say unto thee, that whosoever doth not hold close to relics of my holy passage, he shall not enter the kingdom of heaven”.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on August 5, 2013 at 1:35 PM

True Cross found: Women, minorities, writers of Zero Hour hardest hit.

JSchuler on August 5, 2013 at 1:35 PM

I hope this turns out to be more credible than the “proof” I watched last night that megalodon is still alive.

VibrioCocci on August 5, 2013 at 1:37 PM

While holding it in your hand which superpower are you granted? Cause I want the one which makes Nazi eyes bug out in a big storm. Oh, and the melting flesh, definitely the melting flesh.

Fenris on August 5, 2013 at 1:37 PM

St. Helen was the originator of the True Cross relics, in around 326 A.D. She most likely was duped by locals, who knew she was seeking relics of the crucifixion.

The pieces of “The Cross” which she brought back were distributed to churches across Christendom, which included Turkey at that point in history. So it’s very likely that the relic the archaeologists discovered contains a piece of wood that’s 1,800 years old, which many people would count as “close enough.”

But as someone who has really looked into St. Helen’s life and the stories told about her, I can say with a fair amount of confidence that she was either incredibly gullible or was duped by clever hoaxers. If one were to trace the history of the site she excavated, the odds of her by chance only finding that one 300-year-old piece of wood and nothing else are slim to none.

These kind of “True Relics of the Jesus!11!!!1!” stories pop up every year or so, and then fade away, letting the “debunking” part go unnoticed later.

Zombie on August 5, 2013 at 1:40 PM

During this time period there were thousands of phony relics being bought and sold. It is said there enough pieces of the “true cross” floating around the Mediterranean world to build a dozen barns. Further, I know of no way this could ever be authenticated as part of Jesus’ cross, even if it were somehow the real thing.

tommyboy on August 5, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Love the headline:
Archaelogists find piece of True Cross in Turkey?

Requires a Punchline:
Virgin Mary appears in Tortilla

(I know, I know…. just not a fan of the religious relic craze unless it’s been sitting in a shrine for 2000 years with a well documented providence.)

2nd Ammendment Mother on August 5, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Would anyone like to guess how many crosses made of wood were produced by the Romans to be used in crucifixion of prisoners?

To my knowledge, not one had a serial number.

applebutter on August 5, 2013 at 1:34 PM

I would also imagine the Romans reused them multiple times.

Liam on August 5, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Workers believe that cross is the one Jesus died on Friday, April 3, 33 A.D.

based on?

PappyD61 on August 5, 2013 at 1:42 PM

What difference, at this point, does it make?

davidk on August 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

The ROP will immediately kill everyone on the dig site and smash every relic; can’t have Mighty Mo dealing with any competition.

Bishop on August 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Will workers find this in the rubble 2,000 years from now and wonder what it was?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKsJe11itb4

Will they believe it’s a 3d rifle?

PappyD61 on August 5, 2013 at 1:44 PM

…with a well documented providence.)

2nd Ammendment Mother on August 5, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Isn’t the Bible enough documentation for you? Oh, you meant provenance. Go ahead and blame the auto-correct. I would.

Fenris on August 5, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Doesn’t every church have a cross? Why is this labeled the ‘true cross’?

faraway on August 5, 2013 at 1:45 PM

Would anyone like to guess how many crosses made of wood were produced by the Romans to be used in crucifixion of prisoners?

To my knowledge, not one had a serial number.

applebutter

Bingo.

Thousands upon thousands of people were crucified over the centuries. Even if someone later ever found an intact cross from the Roman era (which no one ever has), the odds are it’d just be some random cross.

Furthermore, the wood was likely re-purposed afterward. I doubt any cross was just discarded in the dirt intact.

Zombie on August 5, 2013 at 1:45 PM

Great. Now CapHog be showing up any minute to foam at the mouth accusing you all of bigotry against Christians.

CurtZHP on August 5, 2013 at 1:46 PM

(insert) will (insert)

CurtZHP on August 5, 2013 at 1:46 PM

Doesn’t every church have a cross? Why is this labeled the ‘true cross’?

faraway

The phrase “True Cross” refers to the actual wooden crucifix that Jesus was nailed to in 33AD. The crosses you see in every church are representations of the True Cross. The archaeologist are claiming they found the actual one Jesus died on.

Zombie on August 5, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Anyone with an interest in the history of Christianity, Turkey is worth a visit for sure.
But be mindful of anyone claiming they found the ark of Noah, Mary’s tomb…and Jesus’ cross.

But it could take years of analysis before the world will know for sure.

Or even longer.

verbaluce on August 5, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Hopefully, it will inspire some to embrace Christianity, which was the purpose of relics all along, but that embrace won’t rely on the results of carbon dating.

If Jesus is really who He said He was and
If Jesus really did for us what He claimed to do
Then why would you need a relic to inspire some to embrace Christianity? Who He is and what He did should be sufficient.

chemman on August 5, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Hey, this could be the best thing to happen to religion since Barney Frank declared himself an atheist.

Huh?

Oh….I guess it’s all about sportin’ wood.

ElectricPhase on August 5, 2013 at 1:52 PM

I find this less than credible. The cross that Jesus was executed on was in Jerusalem. How could any piece show up in Turkey? The Romans were not the kind of people who let this sort of thing get out. Most executed were left on the cross until animals and birds devoured them. I’ve got a big bullshit sticker on this one, just like the shroud of Turin.

simkeith on August 5, 2013 at 1:52 PM

I gleefully await his return.

Grunt on August 5, 2013 at 1:54 PM

It’s very unlikely the cross existed as a relic as it was likely reused dozens of times. It is well known that people will sell suckers anything for money.

aniptofar on August 5, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Perhaps it will remind people of the rich Christian traditions in Turkey and the surrounding regions…

An excellent book about this subject is From the Holy Mountain, by William Dalrymple, “a journey among the Christians of the Middle East,” which retraces [in 1994] a journey taken by two monks in 587 AD from Greece through Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt. It describes the Christian tradition in the region in wonderful detail, and also chronicles the decline of that tradition and the stresses now being suffered by Christianity in recent times.

Upstreamer on August 5, 2013 at 1:56 PM

It’s very unlikely the cross existed as a relic as it was likely reused dozens of times. It is well known that people will sell suckers anything for money.

aniptofar

What? It wasn’t one man one cross?!

Wander on August 5, 2013 at 1:57 PM

If Jesus is really who He said He was and
If Jesus really did for us what He claimed to do
Then why would you need a relic to inspire some to embrace Christianity? Who He is and what He did should be sufficient.

chemman on August 5, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Yes.

“But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:31 NASB

davidk on August 5, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Let me know when they find Zero’s birth certificate and college transcripts…

PatriotRider on August 5, 2013 at 1:58 PM

The ROP will immediately kill everyone on the dig site and smash every relic; can’t have Mighty Mo dealing with any competition.

Bishop on August 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Isa actually gets crucified in the Koran, he just doesn’t die there. Judas gets teleported onto the cross and transmorgified to look like Isa so that everyone just thinks that Isa actually died there.

So, fun little response to anyone who asks you if Jesus Christa and Isa al Masih (of the Koran) are the same, since there are a few obvious similarities in the narratives: was Isa the Son of God, and did he die on the cross? The answer to both of those is no.

As far as the chunk-o-wood goes: it was the third day before anyone had any idea that the story wasn’t over. And when they did hear that He’d risen, I doubt they were thinking “Hey, where’s that old cross at now–it has some resale value!”

TexasDan on August 5, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Let me know when they find Zero’s birth certificate and college transcripts…

PatriotRider on August 5, 2013 at 1:58 PM

Those could be harder to document than this.

chewmeister on August 5, 2013 at 2:04 PM

To my knowledge, not one had a serial number.

applebutter on August 5, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Well shows what YOU know, EACH authentic Roman Crucifixion Device had it’s own Crucifixion Identification Number (CIN). We can match the CIN’s from an extant list…*SHEESH* thought everyone knew that….

We have the Roman Department of Crucifixion Registration scrolls, we’ll just compare the number on the Piece of the True Cross and PRESTO we’ll know.

No really how does one “prove” this is THE True Cross?

JFKY on August 5, 2013 at 2:05 PM

but 30 seconds of analysis to determine Global Warming/human effected climate change.

portlandon on August 5, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Stop spreading such absurd information. Anyone that has seriously followed the global warming debate knows that it was a UN panel of low level bureaucrats and aids that came to the AGW consensus without any analysis. Although I do believe some of them may have watched a movie about it first.

Dr. Frank Enstine on August 5, 2013 at 2:05 PM

But it could take years of analysis before the world will know for sure.

I guess it take some time to determine the authenticity of the “Made in China” sticker.

Seriously, I think the Christian heritage of Turkey and surrounding areas really is overlooked when compared to other sites like Rome and the Holy Land. If this sparks an interest in seeing Ephesus, then all the better!

Happy Nomad on August 5, 2013 at 2:06 PM

On the other hand, it will probably be another food fight over the authenticity of relics,

I say that it’s a fragment of the one, true sleigh. Ho, Ho, Ho!

MJBrutus on August 5, 2013 at 2:08 PM

I would also imagine the Romans reused them multiple times.

Liam on August 5, 2013 at 1:42 PM

When in Rome, recycle!

Shy Guy on August 5, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Yay idols and relics and other neo-Pagan crap! Just another day at Papist AIR.

These relics are always fakes, and since you shouldn’t worship them anyway why would it matter if they were real?

McLovin on August 5, 2013 at 2:10 PM

This is as stupid as those evolutionary assumptions. They probably would place it in a place where people can wipe their hankies then claim healing.
It’s like “finding” the missing link a thousand times for something that isn’t there.
Jesus said, “search the scriptures” not find a stone I walked through. This is not faith, this is idolatry.

maynila on August 5, 2013 at 2:12 PM

If this sparks an interest in seeing Ephesus, then all the better!

Happy Nomad on August 5, 2013 at 2:06 PM

I’ve been to Ephesus 4 times. Could easily go another 4.
And if you’re near there worth a trek to Termessos.
Although not a Biblical history site, heaven-esque in it’s setting in the clouds.

verbaluce on August 5, 2013 at 2:12 PM

First carbon dating and then carbon marriage. It’s a slippery slope I tell ya.

Years for analysis for a Christian Artifact, but 30 seconds of analysis to determine Global Warming/human effected climate change.

portlandon on August 5, 2013 at 1:30 PM

About 2 seconds to determine George Zimmerman’s guilt.

Kafir on August 5, 2013 at 2:12 PM

I find this less than credible. The cross that Jesus was executed on was in Jerusalem. How could any piece show up in Turkey? The Romans were not the kind of people who let this sort of thing get out. Most executed were left on the cross until animals and birds devoured them. I’ve got a big bullshit sticker on this one, just like the shroud of Turin.

simkeith on August 5, 2013 at 1:52 PM

It’s possible, and quite probable, that the cross was cut up into pieces and sent to various churches as holy relics. It’s been done before…cut-up relics of various saints, like clothes and even skin samples, have been distributed all around the world numerous times. Does that prove this particular relic is part of the true cross of Christ’s crucifixion? Not at all…but not because it couldn’t have happened. To the contrary, it makes perfect sense that the cross would have been parted out.

The Shroud of Turin is something else…having the actual image of Christ somehow “burned” into it, for lack of a better word. Something of that magnitude and delicate material would have been preserved as a whole. The Catholic Church doesn’t make any claim the Shroud is absolutely authentic either, and won’t claim this newly discovered cross relic is either.

Not to mention, partitioning the cross of Christ would have brought in a good deal of extra $$$ for some unscrupulous Roman sentry or two. They cast lots and divided Christ’s clothes amongst themselves. It just makes perfect sense that the cross Christ was hung from made it’s way around as many smaller pieces.

JetBoy on August 5, 2013 at 2:13 PM

These relics are always fakes, and since you shouldn’t worship them anyway why would it matter if they were real?

McLovin on August 5, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Relics are venerated, not worshiped. If you don’t understand the difference between the two words perhaps this isn’t the thread for you.

Happy Nomad on August 5, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Would anyone like to guess how many crosses made of wood were produced by the Romans to be used in crucifixion of prisoners?

To my knowledge, not one had a serial number.

applebutter on August 5, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Lots and I would be willing to believe that they were reused as it was a pretty standard form of punishment at the time. Can anyone determine the type of wood it is? It sure looks like a piece of rock to me. Wood would not have fossilized because the climate in that area is not good for such things and there has not been enough time.

Dr. Frank Enstine on August 5, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Let me know when they find Zero’s birth certificate and college transcripts…

PatriotRider on August 5, 2013 at 1:58 PM

A team would need to start looking in a different nation. -_-

Bishop on August 5, 2013 at 2:15 PM

Relics are venerated, not worshiped. If you don’t understand the difference between the two words perhaps this isn’t the thread for you.

Happy Nomad on August 5, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Oh I understand the differences in syntax and the rationalizations. I also understand the “difference” between canonization and the old Roman process of deification.

I am, however, unmoved by their practical differences.

McLovin on August 5, 2013 at 2:18 PM

I seem to have floated back to Catholicism…again-but I’m ‘meh’ on this.

annoyinglittletwerp on August 5, 2013 at 2:19 PM

What difference, at this point, does it make?

davidk on August 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

.
That’s just great … there’s alway someone who come along and ruins the “disengenuous, over-blown sensationalism” for everybody else.

: )

listens2glenn on August 5, 2013 at 2:20 PM

I really don’t get the religious fervor surrounding relics such as this. I get religious fervor, I get archaeological/historical interest, but the attribution of spiritual value to items of (1) highly doubtful authenticity and (2) little actual spiritual significance according to the tenets of the faith itself are bizarre.

Archeologists will have a field day with the discovery of the relic in the remains of a seventh-century church in Turkey, though, and it’s a fascinating find regardless of its origin:

So thirteen hundred years ago, some Christians were convinced enough that this piece of wood was a true relic of the crucifixion which occurred 600 years earlier than that to enshrine it?

Interesting piece of history, yes.

Archaeologists working at an ancient church in Turkey believe they have unearthed a piece of the cross used to crucify Jesus.

Ridiculous.

it will inspire some to embrace Christianity

I would expect the opposite.

peski on August 5, 2013 at 2:21 PM

It’s possible, and quite probable, that the cross was cut up into pieces and sent to various churches as holy relics.

JetBoy on August 5, 2013 at 2:13 PM

What churches? It’s not like Christianity was well established with a church structure at the time of the crucifixion. I would find it hard to believe that somebody stole the cross and cut it up to hand out to churches that wouldn’t be established for many years.

The problem with relics like this and the shroud is that the religion was just starting and was just one of the many at the time. It wasn’t until years later that it really took hold so why would people have kept things. Sure somebody may have but why would it be passed down through the generations?

Dr. Frank Enstine on August 5, 2013 at 2:24 PM

If it was so venerated, how did it end up forgotten and left in a crumbled church?

Warner Todd Huston on August 5, 2013 at 2:24 PM

On the other hand, it will probably be another food fight over the authenticity of relics,

Ed Morrisey

.
I say that it’s a fragment of the one, true sleigh. Ho, Ho, Ho!

MJBrutus on August 5, 2013 at 2:08 PM

.
That’s an atheist wisecrack even Christians can laugh at ! … : )

listens2glenn on August 5, 2013 at 2:27 PM

If you could assemble all the pieces of the “True Cross” which have been “discovered” over the centuries, you could build something really big. Like an ark.

Hucklebuck on August 5, 2013 at 2:29 PM

I am, however, unmoved by their practical differences.

McLovin on August 5, 2013 at 2:18 PM

And???? Leaving religion aside, this is a pretty interesting find.

Happy Nomad on August 5, 2013 at 2:32 PM

This is as stupid as those evolutionary assumptions. They probably would place it in a place where people can wipe their hankies then claim healing.
It’s like “finding” the missing link a thousand times for something that isn’t there.
maynila

PLEASE stop conflating obvious fakery (like this news story) with your opinions about evolution. All you do is discredit our side by appearing to be anti-science.

Even if you are a creationist, just leave your opinions about that out of the picture. The evidence for the validity of most relics is nil; the evidence for evolution is so overwhelming as to be indisputable.

Zombie on August 5, 2013 at 2:35 PM

It’s possible, and quite probable, that the cross was cut up into pieces and sent to various churches as holy relics. It’s been done before…cut-up relics of various saints, like clothes and even skin samples, have been distributed all around the world numerous times.
JetBoy on August 5, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Trouble with this theory is that no “churches” existed at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion nor was there any reason for anyone to think this cross would ever be anything to anyone than a bloody piece of wood. There’s nothing to tell us any of the Apostles or disciples took it at the time. I guess it’s possible this specific piece of wood was still around and identifyable months or years later when someone figured out it would be valuable as a relic but not very probable.

tommyboy on August 5, 2013 at 2:39 PM

What churches? It’s not like Christianity was well established with a church structure at the time of the crucifixion. I would find it hard to believe that somebody stole the cross and cut it up to hand out to churches that wouldn’t be established for many years.

The problem with relics like this and the shroud is that the religion was just starting and was just one of the many at the time. It wasn’t until years later that it really took hold so why would people have kept things. Sure somebody may have but why would it be passed down through the generations?

Dr. Frank Enstine on August 5, 2013 at 2:24 PM

I should have been clearer…after Christ’s crucifixion, the cross may well have been parted out in pieces and sold due to His famous (or infamous, depending on your opinion of Jesus and His claims). He wasn’t exactly just a common criminal…He was the supposed Son of God and Messiah. So it makes perfect sense for someone to capitalize on that and sell off Christ-related souvenirs to folks.

It would be much later, when construction of Christian churches sprang out of the Crusades and expansion of the Roman Empire, that some of these cross fragments would have been found and sent out to those churches.

As for why would anyone have kept these things and passed them down through generations, you should have seen the things my grandmother saved going back a few generations in the family. It’s not unusual.

Relics are venerated, not worshiped. If you don’t understand the difference between the two words perhaps this isn’t the thread for you.

Happy Nomad on August 5, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Words out of my mouth. Veneration vs worship is something some non-Catholics seemingly find it difficult to distinguish from each other. It’s the same with the Blessed Virgin Mary…Us Catholics don’t worship her either…we venerate her.

JetBoy on August 5, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Trouble with this theory is that no “churches” existed at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion nor was there any reason for anyone to think this cross would ever be anything to anyone than a bloody piece of wood. There’s nothing to tell us any of the Apostles or disciples took it at the time. I guess it’s possible this specific piece of wood was still around and identifyable months or years later when someone figured out it would be valuable as a relic but not very probable.

tommyboy on August 5, 2013 at 2:39 PM

As I just replied to Dr. Frank, the cross pieces, if that’s where the cross ended up shortly after Christ’s death, would likely be parted out and sold just as Christ’s clothes were by the Roman soldiers as they prepared the “King of the Jews” for his crucifixion. Cross relics would be an expected follow-up.

And after the resurrection, many who had a relic of the cross would have certainly found their “keepsake” of wood all of a sudden become priceless.

JetBoy on August 5, 2013 at 2:49 PM

I gleefully await his return.

Grunt on August 5, 2013 at 1:54 PM

don’t hold your breath

Sojobo on August 5, 2013 at 2:50 PM

Veneration vs worship is something some non-Catholics seemingly find it difficult to distinguish from each other. It’s the same with the Blessed Virgin Mary…Us Catholics don’t worship her either…we venerate her.

JetBoy on August 5, 2013 at 2:44 PM

I really don’t mean to be snide, but this begs the question:

Are you one of those who venerates a tortilla (or a stain on a wall, or…) bearing the image of a woman that some claim to be Mary?

The absurdity of it is readily apparent, and illustrates the problem with ALL supposed relics.

peski on August 5, 2013 at 2:53 PM

To the people not understanding where these relics came from:

After Emperor Constantine assumed power over the entirety of the Roman Empire, his mother, Helen (who had herself also earlier converted to Christianity) went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 326 AD to restore the Christian sites there, with the imperial treasury at her disposal.

She refurbished/rebuilt/excavated many sites associated with the Gospel in and around Jerusalem and Judea. During one of these excavations, the workers “discovered” three large wooden crosses, which were presented to Helen as the crosses of Jesus, Dismas and Gestas (the two thieves crucified alongside him).

Helen then did indeed bring back the cross identified as the one on which Jesus was crucified and did indeed cut it up and distribute to churches around Christendom, to be venerated and to attract converts. The thinking was that pagans were used to worshipping and venerating idols, so one could ease them into Christianity by giving them something tactile to venerate, which would get them into church where they would learn the more metaphysical/spiritual side of the religion.

While the history and the origins of these True Cross relics is fairly well known, the problem is that the workers who “discovered” the “True Cross” all knew (as did everyone in Jerusalem during her visit) that she was specifically searching for such relics, and with our modern skeptical eyes we now see how it is almost certain that the Crosses were produced for her as sort of official hoaxes to please the Emperor’s Mother. She (as the locals hoped) fell for it like a ton of bricks, and then with her imprimatur the “True Cross” became accepted as real throughout the world, as bits were sent and traded from church to church over the centuries.

So: Don’t doubt the story because “there were no churches at the time of the crucifixion” or because “why would anyone need a relic to become a Christian?”, but rather for the real reason to doubt it, which is that the supposed True Cross was itself just a prop in a potemkin relic hunt.

Zombie on August 5, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Archaelogists find piece of True Cross in Turkey?

What did they find in the pumpkin pie?

The Rogue Tomato on August 5, 2013 at 2:55 PM

As with most purported relics, if it helps one to believe in God that’s okay. Yet I don’t see this as anything more than a probable 7th century artifact that Byzantine Christians believed was a sacred relic. There’s no way to prove its a piece of the True Cross, but it does have historical interest. That’s enough for me.

JohnAGJ on August 5, 2013 at 2:59 PM

the cross pieces, if that’s where the cross ended up shortly after Christ’s death, would likely be parted out and sold just as Christ’s clothes were by the Roman soldiers as they prepared the “King of the Jews” for his crucifixion.
JetBoy on August 5, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Seemless tunics were valuable and had utility – bloody pieces of wood weren’t.There would have been no reason for anyone to have saved and chopped up Jesus’ cross immediately after his crucifixion.

tommyboy on August 5, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Stop spreading such absurd information. Anyone that has seriously followed the global warming debate knows that it was a UN panel of low level bureaucrats and aids that came to the AGW consensus without any analysis. Although I do believe some of them may have watched a movie about it first.

Dr. Frank Enstine on August 5, 2013 at 2:05 PM

…which is why they encourage the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to China. Who else is going to make big ships for the global flood? [grin]

dominigan on August 5, 2013 at 3:03 PM

the cross pieces, if that’s where the cross ended up shortly after Christ’s death, would likely be parted out and sold just as Christ’s clothes were by the Roman soldiers as they prepared the “King of the Jews” for his crucifixion.
JetBoy

Sorry to break the news to you, but there were no True Cross relics in existence until around 328 AD when Helen “found” the intact True Cross in the Holy Land. It was not cut up and parted out shortly after the Crucifixion.

In fact for the first century or two of Christianity, the Cross was not even a symbol of the religion — the fish was instead. The first known example of a Christian cross dates from a century and a half after Jesus’s time. There would have been absolutely no reason for anyone to save bits of the cross in 33AD, since no one at that moment would have had the slightest idea that the cross would later become symbolic.

Zombie on August 5, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Relic of True Messiah located, Obama hardest hit…

Wyznowski on August 5, 2013 at 3:10 PM

If it is what they ‘believe’ it is (and one wonders what leads them to ‘believe’ that as opposed to something else), then you have to wonder why people left it in an abandoned church so many years/centuries ago – did the last people who went to church there not ‘know’ what it was somehow? Something like that doesn’t just get left behind (something like two guys, hundreds of miles later, turning to each other and saying “I thought *you* had the relic!!!1!”).

Midas on August 5, 2013 at 3:14 PM

The Shroud is a fraud too, when compared to the biblical accounts of Jesus’ preparation for entombment.

Akzed on August 5, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Hopefully, it will inspire some to embrace Christianity, which was the purpose of relics all along, but that embrace won’t rely on the results of carbon dating.

I would prefer people be moved to Christianity by faith first.

This relic is rubbish and can never be verified as having any relevance beyond that imbued by contemporary Christians. Why would that appeal to someone searching for truth?

Also, the word “believe” should be ignored when science is involved.

Great. Now CapHog be showing up any minute to foam at the mouth accusing you all of bigotry against Christians.

CurtZHP on August 5, 2013 at 1:46 PM

Nice deflection there loser. You’re butthurt because I’ve made you feel like the bigot you are. You feel conspicuous. You’re having an episode much like that of a child trying to hide behind their own hands.

You use terms like “muzzies” to slur Muslims. You denigrate current POTUS racially. You denigrate African-Americans, Latinos and homosexuals regularly. Now you’re trying to suggest that I called you out on that for no reason whatsoever.

If you so strongly eschew the label of “bigot” you should make that more apparent in your commentary. As it stands, by your own words, you are and always have been a bigot.

What’s funny is that you people can’t take it. Everytime I issue rhetorical smackdowns you cry for me to be banned. You can’t hang. It’s that simple.

If my opinion is so irrelevant why do fantasize about me with such regularity? Also, if I’m wrong, why would you grant me so much airtime? You are caught and you know it. You worry about being Googled and known for your bigotry.

Capitalist Hog on August 5, 2013 at 3:15 PM

In fact for the first century or two of Christianity, the Cross was not even a symbol of the religion — the fish was instead. The first known example of a Christian cross dates from a century and a half after Jesus’s time. There would have been absolutely no reason for anyone to save bits of the cross in 33AD, since no one at that moment would have had the slightest idea that the cross would later become symbolic.

Zombie on August 5, 2013 at 3:07 PM

We have a winner for our door prize.

Capitalist Hog on August 5, 2013 at 3:16 PM

Veneration vs worship is something some non-Catholics seemingly find it difficult to distinguish from each other. It’s the same with the Blessed Virgin Mary…Us Catholics don’t worship her either…we venerate her.

JetBoy on August 5, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Yeah? What did she look like? How tall was the Virgin Mother? What color were her eyes? Her hair in summer time? etc. etc.

You venerate her. But what do you know about her? More facts are known about the cast of Glee than the Virgin Mother. What about her do you venerate?

Capitalist Hog on August 5, 2013 at 3:21 PM

It’s possible, and quite probable, that the cross was cut up into pieces and sent to various churches as holy relics.

JetBoy on August 5, 2013 at 2:13 PM

No, what’s likely/probable is that after Jesus was taken down from it, the cross he was on was also taken down, hauled back to town, and tossed on the pile with the other cross pieces, awaiting the next set of crucifixions coming up the next day, weekend, whatever.

No one likely thought at the time to preserve it, set it aside, cut it up, etc. The thought was – as usual, more than likely – “we’re going to need that tomorrow/next week, you bastard grunts take it down and haul it back to town to Lucious the supply master’s storehouse so we can use it again, and be quick about it unless you want to find yourselves on one.”

But in the end… it really doesn’t matter. The whole ‘relic’ business troubles me – smacks far too much of idolatry for my tastes.

Midas on August 5, 2013 at 3:26 PM

Would anyone like to guess how many crosses made of wood were produced by the Romans to be used in crucifixion of prisoners?

To my knowledge, not one had a serial number.

applebutter on August 5, 2013 at 1:34 PM

I’ll guess how many…

I’d say at least MMMCMDCDXXIV.

But I might be off by a few M or so.

DOOF on August 5, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Even if you are a creationist, just leave your opinions about that out of the picture. The evidence for the validity of most relics is nil; the evidence for evolution is so overwhelming as to be indisputable.

Zombie on August 5, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Oh really? Indisputable? Fossil records made through geologic processes we still don’t, and may never understand completely? Carbon dating which may not be reliable past a few thousand years? Numerous scientific “experiments” revealed as fraudulent but still quoted with almost Biblical authority by scientists looking for their next grant?

You evolution folks crack me up. You claim an earth older than four billion years, take no more than a hundred years of questionable data, and call that “indisputable” evidence of the entirety of speciation in the planet’s history. Yet so many of you take eyewitness accounts of supernatural events from two thousand years ago and call that fraudulent.

Evolution is an attempt to describe history, not a scientific process. Except when documenting historical events you need eyewitness accounts and documentation, which means evolution is unprovable at best. If you doubt that, prove to me scientifically that George Washington was our first President (I’ll save you the trouble. You can’t).

To know anything, you either need to know everything, or receive revelation from someone who does.

TheMightyMonarch on August 5, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Capitalist Hog on August 5, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Excellent smackdown. Kudos!

Sojobo on August 5, 2013 at 3:38 PM

the evidence for evolution is so overwhelming as to be indisputable.
Zombie on August 5, 2013 at 2:35 PM

REally? Give me your strongest most persuasive piece of evidence? And if there’s so much evidence then why did Harvard evolution guru Stephen Gould feel it necessary to come up with the evolutionary theory of punctuated equilibrium in order to get around the fact there is almost no empirical evidence to support Darwinism?

tommyboy on August 5, 2013 at 3:44 PM

Midas on August 5, 2013 at 3:14 PM

Regardless of its source, it is said to date from a 7th Century church, which is around when the musloids started “converting” neighboring peoples.

Akzed on August 5, 2013 at 3:45 PM

You’re butthurt because I’ve made you feel like the bigot you are. Capitalist Hog on August 5, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Yeah but he hasn’t got the first hand experience of actual, non-metaphorical butt hurt like you do, does he sweetie?

You calling someone a bigot always makes me laugh.

Akzed on August 5, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Yeah but he hasn’t got the first hand experience of actual, non-metaphorical butt hurt like you do, does he sweetie?

8th grade called. They want their joke back.

Capitalist Hog on August 5, 2013 at 3:52 PM

Look the bigot isn’t being moderated. Too bad. Looks like you have found a new lover though. Enjoy the burn.

Bmore on August 5, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Take this cross chunk, the shroud of Turin and a Nazi into a room, wrap the cross chunk in the shroud and if the Nazi melts…

thejackal on August 5, 2013 at 3:57 PM

Meh. I got nothing.

Cleombrotus on August 5, 2013 at 3:57 PM

Let me know when someone finds the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

Oldnuke on August 5, 2013 at 4:01 PM

“Relics are venerated, not worshiped. If you don’t understand the difference between the two words perhaps this isn’t the thread for you.”

I seem to recall that Martin Luther and John Calvin, along with others, had a pretty serious argument about this with Pope Leo X, aka Giovanni di Lorenzo de’ Medici.

The Medici’s always knew the power of a strong marketing campaign, and they hated to see one go to waste over quibbles about little things like authenticity.

Tom Servo on August 5, 2013 at 4:13 PM

Creationists will be the death of the conservative movement. Too bad they don’t understand that yet.

Zombie on August 5, 2013 at 4:14 PM

“But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:31 NASB
davidk on August 5, 2013 at 1:57 PM

The Jewish view is pretty much the exact opposite: If people don’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they may be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.

aunursa on August 5, 2013 at 4:15 PM

But as someone who has really looked into St. Helen’s life and the stories told about her, I can say with a fair amount of confidence that she was either incredibly gullible or was duped by clever hoaxers. If one were to trace the history of the site she excavated, the odds of her by chance only finding that one 300-year-old piece of wood and nothing else are slim to none.

These kind of “True Relics of the Jesus!11!!!1!” stories pop up every year or so, and then fade away, letting the “debunking” part go unnoticed later.

Zombie on August 5, 2013 at 1:40 PM

In other words a Christian

Sojobo on August 5, 2013 at 5:05 PM

In other words a Christian

Sojobo on August 5, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Another anti-Christian bigot.
Yea! ///

annoyinglittletwerp on August 5, 2013 at 5:13 PM

I really don’t mean to be snide, but this begs the question:

Are you one of those who venerates a tortilla (or a stain on a wall, or…) bearing the image of a woman that some claim to be Mary?

The absurdity of it is readily apparent, and illustrates the problem with ALL supposed relics.

peski on August 5, 2013 at 2:53 PM

*facepalm*

As a Catholic, I venerate Mary, Mother of God. I also do believe in the events a Fatima and Lourdes, for instance, were real. As for supposed images in food products, coffee stains, flour tortillas and the like…no, not so much.

Yeah? What did she look like? How tall was the Virgin Mother? What color were her eyes? Her hair in summer time? etc. etc.

You venerate her. But what do you know about her? More facts are known about the cast of Glee than the Virgin Mother. What about her do you venerate?

Capitalist Hog on August 5, 2013 at 3:21 PM

I follow the Gospel of Luke, where it says:

And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,

To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.

And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.

Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus.

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.
And of his kingdom there shall be no end.

And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?

And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee.
And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Also in Luke:

And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren:

Because no word shall be impossible with God.

And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda.

And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth.

And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.

And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.

And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord.

And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

JetBoy on August 5, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Another anti-Christian bigot.
Yea! ///

annoyinglittletwerp on August 5, 2013 at 5:13 PM

Sorry, I didn’t realize you were a Christian this week.

Sojobo on August 5, 2013 at 6:05 PM

Sojobo on August 5, 2013 at 6:05 PM

Catholic don’t bleive that Jews go to Hell-because God made a promise to the Jews…and God doesn’t break his promises. My parents aren’t in Hell. That’s good.
Really-so what though.
Even if I was whatever-you’d STILL be an anti-Christian bigot.

annoyinglittletwerp on August 5, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Believe-not blieve.

annoyinglittletwerp on August 5, 2013 at 6:16 PM

Sorry, I didn’t realize you were a Christian this week.

Sojobo on August 5, 2013 at 6:05 PM

Since when does one have to be Christian to point out anti-Christian bigotry?

JetBoy on August 5, 2013 at 6:18 PM

Catholic don’t bleive that Jews go to Hell-because God made a promise to the Jews…and God doesn’t break his promises. My parents aren’t in Hell. That’s good.
Really-so what though.
Even if I was whatever-you’d STILL be an anti-Christian bigot.

annoyinglittletwerp on August 5, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Do you really suppose God has some special preference for Jews?

Sojobo on August 5, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Comment pages: 1 2