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Jesus in culture

The Column of the Flagellation, Basilica di Santa Prassede, Rome.

There are many relics attributed to Jesus that people believe or believed to be authentic relics of the Gospel accounts.

The Shroud of Turin is perhaps the best-known relic; its authenticity was questioned due to radiocarbon dating, performed in 1988, the accuracy of which has itself been subsequently questioned. The earlier-measured sample was generally agreed to have been thrown off by contamination on the shroud, though retests are also debated, and it remains a controversial item.

Another famous relic is the Holy Chalice which Jesus used at the Last Supper. Stories of this relic are often intertwined with medieval legends around the Holy Grail.

Other items described as relics include:

  • The Scala Sancta, the stairs from Pontius Pilate's praetorium, ascended by Jesus during his trial proceedings.
  • Pieces of the True Cross, including the half of the INRI inscription tablet, preserved at the ancient basilica Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome. Very small pieces or particles of the True Cross are preserved in hundreds of other churches in Europe and inside crucifixes. According to Gerasimos Smyrnakis[1] Rohault de Flery calculated that the total volume of the True Cross was 178,000,000 cubic millimeters but by his time only 3,942,000 cubic millimeters survived. Smyrniotakis noted the largest part (870,760 cubic millimeters) was in Mount Athos, 537,587 in Rome, 516,090 in Brussels, 445,582 in Venice, 436,450 in Ghent and 237,731 in Paris.
  • The Calvary of crucifixion, a small rock called Golgotha, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Inside the church is a pile of rock about 7 m long by 3 m wide by 4.8 m high, believed to be what is now visible of Calvary.
  • The Sudarium of Oviedo purported to be the cloth that was wrapped around the head of Jesus after he died.
  • The Iron Crown of Lombardy and Bridle of Constantine, said to be made from nails used during the crucifixion
  • The Holy Lance (or Spear of Destiny), the spear of Longinus used to pierce Jesus' side when he was on the cross, to ensure that he had died.
  • The Crown of Thorns which was placed upon the head of Jesus at his crucifixion by the soldiers
  • Veronica's Veil, used to wipe the sweat from Jesus' brow as he carried the cross
  • The Seamless robe of Jesus, which is kept at the cathedral of Trier
  • Letters said to be written by Jesus himself to Abgar, the King of Edessa declining an invitation to visit his palace.
  • The "Icon Not Made by Hands" that Jesus allegedly sent to King Abgar V of Edessa to cure him of leprosy.
  • The Holy Sponge, in Santa Croce in Gerusalemme
  • The Holy Prepuce, or Holy Foreskin
  • The Gifts of the Magi in the St. Paul Monastery in Mount Athos
  • Tears Jesus wept over Jerusalem (location of weeping marked by a chapel)
  • Blood shed by Jesus on the cross
  • The Column Jesus was tied to during the Flagellation of Christ
  • The swaddling clothes baby Jesus wore in Dubrovnik's Cathedral, Croatia

There are no alleged relics of his bones, because of Jesus' resurrection and ascension into heaven.

In 2002, the James Ossuary was found. This ossuary which bears the inscription Ya`aqov bar Yosef akhui Yeshua` ("James son of Joseph brother of Jesus") came to light under questionable provenance and was thought by some to be historical evidence for Jesus's brother James.[2] [3] On June 18, 2003, the Israeli Antiquities Authority published a report concluding that the inscription on the ossuary is a modern forgery based on their analysis of the patina. It appears that the inscription was added recently and made to look old by addition of a chalk solution. The dealer, Oded Golan, was arrested at his Tel Aviv home July 21, on suspicion of forging ancient artifacts. He was released on July 25; as of August 8 charges had not yet been filed against him. Allegedly, authorities found forgery equipment and partially completed forgeries in Oded Golan's home.

In the work Asarim, by Marisa Vallejo, a bloodstained cloth called the Sudarium (John 20:7) is described as a turban or napkin (Gk. σουδάριον) wound around Jesus' head at the time of his burial. It is claimed that this is the cloth that was set aside in the tomb after the Resurrection. This relic can be seen in the Cathedral of Oviedo in Spain. There is some evidence that at some stage in time, this cloth and the Turin Shroud covered the same dead body.


  1. Το Αγιον Ορος (The Holy Mountain), Athens 1903 reprinted 1998 p.378-379
  2. Dan Vergano (2003-11-26). "James ossuary opens a Pandora's box of suspected fakes". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  3. Guy Gugliotta (Washington Post) (2002-10-22). "A box for bones may be earliest evidence of Jesus". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 

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