The True Cross
There are many churches claiming to have fragments of the True Cross. It is believed that the cross was lost until Constantine’s mother Empress Helena traveled to the Holy Land in search of religious relics in 326-328. She traveled to the place where Jesus was said to have been crucified to discover that a temple had been built over it. Helena ordered that the temple be destroyed and the dirt beneath the temple removed.
Beneath the temple three crosses were found, the crosses were believed to be those that crucified Jesus and two thieves, St. Dismas, and Gestas. In order to discover which cross was the True Cross, a lady of rank that had long been suffering from disease was called to touch the crosses. The instant the woman touched one of the crosses, her disease disappeared and she was healed. Thus, Helena believed that she had found the True Cross and the Holy nails.
The Holy Nails were sent to Constantinople where they were added to Emperor Constantine’s helmet and the bridle of his horse. Part of the cross was also sent to Constantinople, while the rest was covered in silver and then given to the bishop of the city whom was asked to care for it carefully. The cross was cared for and taken out periodically for ceremonies until the fall of Jerusalem in 614.
The pieces of the cross in Jerusalem and in Constantinople were largely broken apart as both regions were conquered. Claims of splinters of the cross were found all over the world and men would wear small splinters in golden reliquaries around their necks. There are few who believe that most of these fragments are real, or that the story of Helena finding the cross is true. There is no definitive proof that the True Cross was ever really found, or that it survived at all.