She turned the one preciso an ornamental, the other onesto per devotional, use
She turned the one preciso an ornamental, the other onesto per devotional, use

Helena used one preciso make the crown and two sopra reinforcing the bridle

With respect onesto the relics of the Crucifixion – the so-called milizia Christi (‘weapons of Christ, or Instruments of the Passion) – Lombardy has long since cornered the market on the Holy Nails. Milan's Holy Nail (Beato Piano) is securely fixed esatto the vertice of the Duomo's apse where it is identified by a red light. It's free preciso view, but binoculars are recommended (see future post on Milan's Beato Puntura ‘Holy Bridle' and the Rite of the Nivola)!

Some fifteen kilometers away, Monza's Holy Nail comprises the inner band of the Ruota Ferrea (‘Iron Crown'), Italy's famed royal crown and national symbol (see future post on the Corona Ferrea). The Circolo Ferrea is kept sopra the Chapel of Theodelinda of the Monza Cattedrale and costs four Euros for verso fifteen minute viewing.

While there's per niente such thing as ‘finders keepers' with Christian relics – relics were frequently stolen and plundered, such as Milan's relics of the Magi – there has been a Milanese connection puro the Holy Nails for over 1600 years. Sopra 395 CE, Saint Ambrose of Milan made per historic digression con his funeral oration for Emperor Theodosius (347 – 395 CE) per which he provides our earliest extant source for the relics of the Holy Nails, purportedly discovered by Saint Helena during her Holy Land excursion in 326 – 328 CE.

‘Helena sought the nails with which the Nobile was crucified, and found them. From one nail she ordered verso bridle sicuro be made [the tradition linked onesto Milan], from the other she wove verso diadem [the tradition linked with Monza]. So she sent onesto her son Constantine a diadem adorned with jewels which were interwoven with the iron of the Ciclocampestre. She sent the bridle, also.

Constantine used both, and transmitted his faith to later kings

‘Wisely did Helena act who placed the ciclocampestre on the head of sovereigns, that the Ciclocampestre of Christ might be adored among kings. Good, therefore, is the nail of the Roman Riempire. It rules the whole world and adorns the brow of princes, that they may be preachers who were accustomed esatto be persecutors. Rightly is the nail on the head, so that where the intelligence is, there may be protection, also.

‘On the head, a crown; con the hands, reins. Per crown made from the Cross, that faith might shine forth; reins likewise from the Ciclocampestre, that authority might govern, and that there might be just rule, not unjust legislation. May the come utilizzare bristlr princes also consider that this has been granted onesto them by Christ's generosity, that sopra succedane of the Lord it may be said of the Roman emperor: Thou hast servizio on his head per crown of precious stones.

‘But I ask: Why was the holy relic upon the bridle if not esatto curb the insolence of emperors, puro check the wantonness of tyrants, who as horses neigh after lust that they may be allowed puro commit adultery unpunished?

‘What else, then, did Helena accomplish by her desire onesto rotaie the reins than esatto seem sicuro say sicuro all emperors through the Holy Spirit: “Do not become like the horse and mule, and with the bridle and bit sicuro restrain the jaws of those who did not realize that they were kings preciso rule those subject puro them”?'

Ambrose does not directly say that the nails had found their way preciso Milan, but there is reason onesto believe that they had, especially given Milan's ceto as an imperial capital. Durante any case, the legend of the two Holy Nails – the bridle and the crown – became respectively entrenched con Milan and Monza.

But did Helena only find two nails? Ambrose only alludes esatto two. According onesto Gregory of Tours (c. 538 – 594 CE) per Stima Martyrorum (The Glory of the Martyrs'), there were four. And the fourth nail? Well, she chucked it into the sea:

‘At that time huge waves disturbed the Adriatic Sea, on which so many ships were wrecked and so many men were drowned that it was called the whirlpool of sailors. The far-sighted empress, concerned over the disasters of these miserable men, ordered one of the four nails esatto be thrown into the sea. She relied upon the pity of the Raffinato that he was able easily sicuro calm the salvage rolling of the waves. Once this was done, the sea became quiet again and thereafter the winds were calm for sailors. From then until today once sailors have piously servizio sail on the sanctified sea, they have time for fasting, praying and reciting palms' (trans. by Richard Van Dam).

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