The Legendary Lance of Longinus
In the year 33, during the Passion of Christ, Jesus of Nazareth received Five Precious Wounds. At the Crucifixion, the Anointed One had one Nail driven through each wrist and one Nail through both feet. Then the Fourth Wound was made by the Crown of Thorns. After the Crucifixion, the Romans had planned to break Jesus’ legs, in a barbaric practice known as “crurifragium”. This was a routine method of hastening someone’s death during their incredibly gruesome public executions. However, just before the men began to do so, one of them realized that Jesus was already dead, so there was no need to break his legs. Still, just to make sure, the centurion stabbed Jesus in the side with his lance, thereby causing the Fifth Wound, as told in the Gospel of John from the Bible. As a soldier in the Roman army, he belonged to a division based at the Roman fortress in occupied Jerusalem. There he should have cleaned and returned the lance to the armory with all of the others because the weapons belonged to the Emperor, so it was a major crime not to put it back. However, many occultists and theologians assert that the centurion “Longinus” had a severely infected eye but that it was cured by the Blood of Christ spilling down on him from the Cross. With that being said, the blessed Roman soldier must have decided to keep the Holy Lance hidden away as the mythology of the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus suggests. The thing is, if this is true, then where did he put the venerated pilum, or better yet, who did he give it to? After all, the Catholic Apostles didn’t begin to collect relics until after the Ressurection, and the Gnostic Apostles didn’t revere objects, so the recently-converted Christian centurion must have given the Holy Lance to someone other than Pope Peter who took the Shroud of Turin as a relic from the Resurrection, while other early Christians put the Holy Lance and the other relics from the Crucifixion in the Tomb, sometime later.
In the year 66, the Jews seized the armory and all of its contents, but the Holy Lance was stashed away in the Tomb. So, three centuries after the Passion of Christ, in 326, Empress Helena of the Roman Empire received a vision that compelled her to make an expedition to the Temple of Venus which had been built over Jesus’ Tomb. Once there, she ordered the demolition of the building. Subsequent excavations revealed the Tomb, the Cross, the Crown of Thorns, two of the Nails — because one remained in Jesus’ ankle, and the Holy Lance. As the story goes, there were three crosses, so Empress Helena had a fresh corpse brought in and placed on each cross. In so doing, the third crucifix resurrected the man and revealed itself as the true Cross. Then, Helena’s son, Constantine the Great, had one of the Nails converted into an enchanted crown and the other Nail was converted into an enchanted spear tip, with slivers of the Nails being given out to various members of the clergy. So, now there was the Holy Lance and another spear with divine powers known as the “Lance of St. Maurice”, which I call the Lance of Constantinople. It was used to draw out the boundary of the famous capital city. Then, for three more centuries, the Church kept the Lance of Constantinople and the Holy Lance out of the hands of Alaric the Bold and Atilla the Hun, as well as the Pagans. However, Jerusalem and its relics were captured by the Persian forces of King Khosrau II, in the year 614. After that, the tiny tip of the Holy Lance was broken off and given to Nicetas, who took the pilum point to the Church of Hagia Sophia. Eventually, the blade of the Holy Lance was enshrined with the Crown of Thorns in Sainte Chapelle in Paris. Finally, during the French Revolution, the relics were all moved to the Bibliotheque Nationale. Then, when the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius recaptured Jerusalem in 670 he restored everything but the tip of the Holy Lance. So, the wooden shaft and metal neck of the relic remained in Jerusalem but the very end of the javelin was taken to Saint Sophia Cathedral, where it ended up in the Chapel of Pharaohs. Around that same time, the Spear of Destiny was made.
In the 7th century, the Spear of Destiny was crafted from an ordinary spear, two daggers, and a nail. None of this was from the time of Christ, so a sliver of one of the real Nails had to be hammered into the regular nail. This made the Spear of Destiny a cloned relic of the Holy Lance, by way of contagious magic. As such, in the 10th century, numerous Holy Roman Emperors came into possession of the Spear of Destiny. Furthermore, in order for him to get the 11th century started off right, Otto II gave Boleslaw I of Poland a replica of the Spear of Destiny, which was not enchanted in any way. Not long after that, Henry IV had a silver band with the inscription “Nail of Our Lord” added to the Spear of Destiny, thinking that the nail embedded in the speartip was actually one of the Nails that had been used on the Cross. Then, to further confuse the world and complicate the matter, in the year 1098 a French Christian soldier named Peter Bartholomew claimed to have had a vision telling him that the legendary Lance of Longinus was buried in the Church of St. Peter in Antioch. After digging in the cathedral, Bartholomew allegedly discovered it. Despite the doubts of many, including the papal legate Adhemar of Le Puy, the discovery of the Antioch lance inspired the starving Crusaders to secure the city, which had been under siege. Then, in yet another instance of the appearance of the legendary “Lance of Longinus”, there was an artifact that was once held in the monastery of Geghard, which is claimed to be a relic. According to the Holy Relics of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the spear which pierced Jesus was brought to Armenia by the Apostle Thaddeus. However, the Echmiadzin lance, which was conserved in the religious capital of Armenia, is not a 1st-century Roman pilum. So, the Echmiadzin lance can’t be the Holy Lance, like the crazy Crusader claimed. Simply put, the object of obsession is just a medieval artifact, not an ancient relic.
Regardless, in 1273, the Spear of Destiny was used in a coronation ceremony, for the first time in history. Then, around 1350, Charles IV had a golden sleeve put over the silver one and inscribed with the words “Lancea et clavus Domini” (Lance and nail of the Lord). A century later, in 1424, Sigismund had the Spear of Destiny and other sacred relics shipped from Prague to Nuremberg. Several decades later, the Holy Lance fell into the hands of the Turks, so in 1492, the Sultan Bayezid II sent it to Pope Innocent VIII. At that time great doubts as to its authenticity were in Rome, because of the presence of other rival lances in Paris and Armenia. So, in the mid-18th century, Pope Benedict XIV obtained an exact drawing of the tip of the Holy Lance in Paris, and having compared it with the larger portion of the relic in St. Peter’s he became satisfied that the two had originally been part of the same weapon. As such, the shaft of the Holy Lance has been hidden in Rome ever since then, safe and sound in its resting place at Saint Peter’s Basilica below the statue of St. Longinus. Along with this, the Archdiocese of Paris now conserves the iron blade of the relic. As for some of the other historic objects of obsession, in 1805, the Russians captured the monastery containing the Echmiadzin lance, which was then moved to Tchitchanov Geghard, Tbilisi, Georgia. However, it was later returned to Armenia at Echmiadzin, where it has remained visible in the museum Manoogian, enshrined in a 17th-century reliquary. Meanwhile, when the French Revolutionary army approached Nuremberg in the late 18th century, the city councilors decided to move the Spear of Destiny to Vienna. This was around the same time that the Roman cardinal Prospero Lambertini declared the Antioch lance to be fake. Nonetheless, when the Holy Roman Empire disbanded in the early 19th century, the Spear of Destiny was sold to the Habsburgs. When their empire fell in the 20th century, the Austrian Germans raised an outcry for a reunion with Germany. Then during the Anschluss, when Austria was annexed to Germany, the Nazis brought the Spear of Destiny to Nuremberg in 1938. Hitler took the “relic” for himself and gave Himmler the replica. However, after the fall of the Third Reich, the Spear of Destiny was returned, and it currently resides in the Imperial Treasury at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria. With that being said, it would seem that the various different spearheads, magical or otherwise, are all safe and sound for now, but who knows for how long…