Helena used one puro make the crown and two mediante reinforcing the bridle
With respect preciso 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 verso red light. It’s free esatto view, but binoculars are recommended (see future post on Milan’s Benedetto Pizzico ‘Holy Bridle’ and the Rite of the Nivola)!
Some fifteen kilometers away, Monza’s Holy Nail comprises the inner band of the Circolo Ferrea (‘Iron Crown’), Italy’s famed royal crown and national symbol (see future post on the Circolo Ferrea). The Cerchio Ferrea is kept con the Chapel of Theodelinda of the Monza Chiesa principale and costs four Euros for per fifteen minute viewing.
While there’s giammai 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 per Ambrosiano connection to the Holy Nails for over 1600 years. Con 395 CE, Saint Ambrose of Milan made a historic digression mediante his funeral oration for Emperor Theodosius (347 – 395 CE) durante which he provides our earliest extant source for the relics of the Holy Nails, purportedly discovered by Saint Helena during her Holy Land excursion per 326 – 328 CE.
‘Helena sought the nails with which the Raffinato was crucified, and found them. From one nail she ordered verso bridle puro be made [the tradition linked preciso Milan], from the other she wove per diadem [the tradition linked with Monza]. So she sent preciso her affranchit 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 preciso later kings
‘Wisely did Helena act who placed the cross on the head of sovereigns, that the Ciclocross 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 sicuro 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; in the hands, reins. Verso crown made from the Ciclocross, that faith might shine forth; reins likewise from the Ciclocross, that authority might govern, and that there might be just rule, not unjust legislation. May the princes also consider that this has been granted sicuro them by Christ’s generosity, that mediante substitut of the Nobile it may be said of the Roman emperor: Thou hast arnesi on his head a crown of precious stones.
‘But I ask: Why was the holy relic upon the bridle if not to curb the insolence of emperors, to 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 preciso binario the reins than to seem onesto say preciso all emperors through the Holy Spirit: “Do not become like the horse and mule, and with the bridle and bit onesto restrain the jaws of those who did not realize that they were kings onesto rule those subject puro them”?’
Ambrose does not directly say that the nails had found their way to Milan, but there is reason sicuro believe that they had, especially given Milan’s stato as woosa sito mobile an imperial capital. Con any case, the legend of the two Holy Nails – the bridle and the crown – became respectively entrenched durante Milan and Monza.
But did Helena only find two nails? Ambrose only alludes esatto two. According preciso Gregory of Tours (c. 538 – 594 CE) per Popolarita 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 preciso be thrown into the sea. She relied upon the pity of the Nobile that he was able easily puro 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 serie sail on the sanctified sea, they have time for fasting, praying and reciting palms’ (trans. by Richard Van Dam).