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

Helena used one onesto make the crown and two durante reinforcing the bridle

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

Some fifteen kilometers away, Monza’s Holy Nail comprises the inner band of the Cerchio Ferrea (‘Iron Crown’), Italy’s famed royal crown and national symbol (see future post on the Circolo Ferrea). The Circolo Ferrea is kept sopra the Chapel of Theodelinda of the Monza Duomo 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 a Milanese connection puro the Holy Nails for over 1600 years. Sopra 395 CE, Saint Ambrose of Milan made per historic digression sopra his funeral oration for Emperor Theodosius (347 – 395 CE) sopra which he provides our earliest extant source for the relics of the Holy Nails, purportedly discovered by Saint Helena during her Holy Land excursion sopra 326 – 328 CE.

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

Constantine used both, and transmitted his faith to later kings

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

‘On the head, per crown; con the hands, reins. A crown made from the Cross, that faith might shine forth; reins likewise from the Cross, that authority might govern, and that there might be just rule, not unjust legislation. May the princes also consider that this has been granted onesto them by Christ’s generosity, that mediante imitation of login omgchat the Lord it may be said of the Roman emperor: Thou hast arnesi on his head per crown of precious stones.

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

‘What else, then, did Helena accomplish by her desire to direzione the reins than preciso seem esatto say esatto 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 puro rule those subject esatto them”?’

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

But did Helena only find two nails? Ambrose only alludes preciso two. According preciso Gregory of Tours (c. 538 – 594 CE) sopra 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 Lord that he was able easily to 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).