I am delighted as always to share a post from our Writer in Residence Paul Andruss from his own site.. As usual Paul takes a seemingly cast in stone event and takes it apart to reveal what is more like to be the truth… Today the story of the centurian that pierced the side of Christ’s side at the time of the crucifixation.. There are many stories attached to the event and to the man… let’s find out more.
The Spear of Destiny by Paul Andruss
Hapsburg Lance (By Weltliche Schatzkammer Wien: source- Wikipedia)
John’s Gospel records during the crucifixion, a Roman centurion pierced Christ’s side with his spear causing blood and water to spill out of the wound. The centurion is unnamed, but tradition claims he was called Longinus. Early Christians believed he was the same centurion who saw the empty tomb after the resurrection and cried out, “Truly this man is the son of God!”
Some centuries later, Longinus had become a saint and his legend had grown. A book of saints from the 1200s, called ‘The Golden Legend’, says Longinus was blind. His sight was restored when his eyes were splashed by the blood from the wound he made in Christ’s side.
Like the story of the man, the legend of the spear had also grown. It was now called the Holy Lance or the Spear of Destiny, because some claimed it had the power to make its bearer invincible, at the price of his death and failure should he ever lose it.
A spear was first recorded by Antoninus of Piacenza in his account of a pilgrimage to the holy places of Jerusalem in around 570. In the basilica of Mount Zion he saw ‘the crown of thorns with which Our Lord was crowned and the lance with which he was struck in the side’.
The relic remained in Jerusalem until the city was sacked in 615 AD by Persian King Chosroes II. Before this, the tip of the lance was broken off and smuggled to Constantinople where it was kept with the crown of thorns in Justinian’s famous church, the Hagia Sophia.
There is some debate as to when the Crown of Thorns arrived in Constantinople. It was seen in Jerusalem in 870 by a monk called Bernard and thought to have found its way to Byzantium in 1060. At some point the rest of the Spear of Destiny also found its way to Constantinople, maybe sometime in the 800s.
Legend has it Charlemagne, 8th century King of the Franks and the first Holy Roman Emperor, crowned by the Pope, had the spear. He was supposed to have carried it into 47 battles against the Moorish invaders from Spain and died as soon as he lost the relic. Historical records dispute the legend. Unless there was a second spear doing the rounds- which is highly likely given the brisk trade in holy relics. More authentic stories say the Spear of Destiny remained in Constantinople.
Read the rest of this compelling post: http://www.paul-andruss.com/the-spear-of-destiny/
To read all of Paul’s posts for Smorgasbord and also from his archive head over to this link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/writer-in-residence-writer-paul-andruss/