Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Constantine, Santa Croce and the True Cross

In the Liber Pontificalis we read an account of Constantine constructing the basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome and gifting to that basilica some of the relics of the True Cross. It seemed to me that this might be nice to highlight given today's feast. Here is that account:

At the same time Constantine Augustus constructed a basilica in the Sessorian palace, where also he placed and enclosed in gold and jewels some of the wood of the holy cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and he dedicated the church under the name by which it is called even to this day, Hierusalem. [Santa Croce in Gerusalemme] In that church he offered these gifts :

4 candlesticks of silver burning before the holy wood, like to the number of the 4 gospels, weighing each 80 lbs. ;
50 silver chandeliers, weighing each 15 lbs. ;
a goblet of gold, weighing 10 lbs. ;
5 golden chahces for service, weighing each one lb. ;
3 silver goblets, weighing each 8 lbs. ;
10 silver chalices for service, weighing each 2 lbs. ;
a golden paten, weighing 10 lbs. ;
a silver paten overlaid with gold and set with jewels, weighing 50 lbs. ;
a silver altar, weighing 250 lbs. ;
3 silver pitchers, weighing each 20 lbs. ;
and all the land about the palace he gave as an offering to the church near the palace itself;

One of the relics to be found in Santa Croce is that of the titulus crucis.

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