Talk:True Cross

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Multiplied fragments[edit]

"From Constantinople, the True Cross was broken up, and the pieces miraculously multiplied": Sorry to ask this stupid question, but: is this irony by the contributor of the sentence, irony of contempories of the 'multiplication', or did people then actually believe that? Simon A. 11:19, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)

The problem seems to have been acknowledged by St Cyril, whose words seem to bespeak an awareness that demand for pieces of the True Cross exceeded supply, and that the pieces of the Cross had multiplied so much so that they filled the world. St Cyril may well have found the multiplication of the True Cross a genuine miracle; Erasmus, by contrast, treated it as a joke. Smerdis of Tlön 13:48, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)
See: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04529a.htm

"We will not give in detail the history of other relics of the Cross (see the works of Gretser and the articles of Kraus and Bäumer quoted in the bibliography). The work of Rohault de Fleury, "Mémoire sur les instruments de la Passion" (Paris, 1870), deserves more prolonged attention; its author has sought out with great care and learning all the relics of the True Cross, drawn up a catalogue of them, and, thanks to this labour, he has succeeded in showing that, in spite of what various Protestant or Rationalistic authors have pretended, the fragments of the Cross brought together again would not only not "be comparable in bulk to a battleship", but would not reach one-third that of a cross which has been supposed to have been three or four metres in height, with transverse branch of two metres (see above; under I), proportions not at all abnormal (op. cit., 97-179). Here is the the calculation of this savant: Supposing the Cross to have been of pine-wood, as is believed by the savants who have made a special study of the subject, and giving it a weight of about seventy-five kilograms, we find that the volume of this cross was 178,000,000 cubic millimetres. Now the total known volume of the True Cross, according to the finding of M. Rohault de Fleury, amounts to above 4,000 000 cubic millimetres, allowing the missing part to be as big as we will, the lost parts or the parts the existence of which has been overlooked, we still find ourselves far short of 178,000,000 cubic millimetres, which should make up the True Cross."

So the bit about relics being multiplied needs to be put down as alleged, pending better evidence.--Samuel J. Howard 02:51, Jun 29, 2004 (UTC)

I quite agree. If what St. Cyril said was that fragments of the Cross filled the world, that does not at all have to be interpreted as the "demand exceeding the supply." It's not that unusual for relics to be very small; it wouldn't be that hard to break a wooden cross into slivers. Wesley 03:18, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)
"Pending better evidence" indeed, for the alleging is done by Cyril. Perhaps Wesley, who has Cyril's text at hand, would simply enter Cyril's remark verbatim into the subsection "Dispersal of relics of the True Cross" in lieu of the original phrasing "From Constantinople, the True Cross was broken up, and the pieces miraculously multiplied" which so offended the Jesuits. If Cyril says the whole world has since been filled with pieces of the wood of the Cross, please enter it, and a brief explication of his remark, and that will fix that. Because there are no genuine doubts that pieces of the True Cross did multiply by the time of Cyril, who remarked upon it. Are there? Wetman 07:32, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Travelling?[edit]

may have been sold by travelling merchants in the Middle Ages.

Really? I thought that pilgrims brought them from the Holy Land. I suppose they bought them from established merchants. -- Error 00:42, 29 Jun 2004 (UTC)

As the Canterbury Tales demonstrate, the sale of bogus relics was common enough, and known to be common enough, that Chaucer could satirize it. In the prologue, we learn that the pardoner's stock included a pillowcase sworn to be Mary's veil, cloth from a sail used by Peter when he walked on the water, and a bottle filled with pigs' bones to be sold as relics. Medieval entrepreneurs would have had little trouble "finding" slivers of the "true cross." — OtherDave 20:54, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

The passive of non-attribution and specific sources[edit]

"Helena is known to have brought fragments back to Constantinople for veneration in approximately 327." Whenever you read the phrase "is known to" it's wise always to doubt what follows. More accurate details of the career of the True Cross are in the entry now, but it still needs direct quotes from 4th century sources. Wetman 18:06, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)

What does this sentence mean: "In Constantinople the three Holy Nails from the Cross were incorporated in the Emperor's statue (see daemon for the Romano-Christian spirit that inhabits a statue]] and in the emperor's helmet and the bridle of his horse" ? Which Emperor's statue? Constantine's? or all emperors'? And "incorporated" in what way? Deposited internally? Affixed externally? Symbolically? Actually? If they were "in" the statue how could they also be "in" the helmet and bridle...--Gene_poole 23:38, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)
We're only talking about one Emperor and his mother here. I've just started a stub for Nail (relic). This might go there. Or flush it. Wetman 02:07, 22 Jul 2004 (UTC)

For the story of the discovery of the True Cross given in the second paragraph, whose view is that? The third paragraph mentions the traditional Christian view, identifying it as such, so it would be good to identify the holders of the other view. This would be in accordance with non-POV guidelines.One-dimensional Tangent 04:38, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I second One-dimensional Tangent's query on the story of the discovery. The story given, which reads more as a piece of anti-Christian propaganda than anything else, is unsubstantiated by a reference to any history, ancient or modern; is labeled as apocryphal; and is contrasted with the traditional Christian view, which is itself well-supported by current archeology. The external link to the "skeptical Protestant view," evidently the source for this tale, has a strong anti-Catholic bias, which is fine but perhaps not the best source for an NPOV article. Perhaps we should change the second paragraph to reflect the "traditional Christian" view with its ancient sources and substantiating archeology and only include the current disputed material if someone can provide an earlier, perhaps less polemical, source. See Wetman's comment above about quotes from 4th century sources. JHCC 14:34, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Now are the sources sufficiently identified? I should find and give the actual quote about the torture of the Jews: presented without comment, it would make a good cross-reference to Persecution of the Jews don't you agree?. The "archaeology" that JHCC refers to as supportive in some way of the legend might be linked to or actually mentioned. Especially since the architectural history of the Basilica might otherwise seem to make archaeology fatuous, all trace of the original basilica having been scrupulously cleared away. Yes? Wetman 19:48, 21 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Actually, no. See [1] for an overview of the work of Oxford University archaeologists supporting the authenticity of the tomb.
Wetman cites Cyril of Jerusalem's Catecheses (iv, 10; x, 14; xiii, 4) as sources. Here are the actual passages, taken from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series II, Volume VII [2].
Catechesis iv, 10: "He was truly crucified for our sins. For if thou wouldest deny it, the place refutes thee visibly, this blessed Golgotha, in which we are now assembled for the sake of Him who was here crucified; and the whole world has since been filled with pieces of the wood of the Cross. But He was crucified not for sins of His own, but that we might be delivered from our sins. And though as Man He was at that time despised of men, and was buffeted, yet He was acknowledged by the Creation as God: for when the sun saw his Lord dis-honoured, he grew dim and trembled, not enduring the sight."
Catechesis x, 14: "For that He is Jesus the Jews allow, but not further that He is Christ. Therefore saith the Apostle, Who is the liar, but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? But Christ is a High Priest, whose priesthood passes not to another, neither having begun His Priesthood in time, nor having any successor in His High-Priesthood: as thou heardest on the Lord's day, when we were discoursing in the congregation on the phrase, After the Order of Melchizedek. He received not the High-Priesthood from bodily succession, nor was He anointed with oil prepared by man, but before all ages by the Father; and He so far excels the others as with an oath He is made Priest: For they are priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him that said, The Lord sware, and will not repent. The mere purpose of the Father was sufficient for surety: but the mode of assurance is twofold, namely that with the purpose there follows the oath also, that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong encouragement for our faith, who receive Christ Jesus as the Son of God."
Catechesis xiii, 4: "Jesus then really suffered for all men; for the Cross was no illusion, otherwise our redemption is an illusion also. His death was not a mere show, for then is our salvation also fabulous. If His death was but a show, they were true who said, We remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, After three days I rise again. His Passion then was real: for He was really crucified, and we are not ashamed thereat; He was crucified, and we deny it not, nay, I rather glory to speak of it. For though I should now deny it, here is Golgotha to confute me, near which we are now assembled; the wood of the Cross confutes me, which was afterwards distributed piecemeal from hence to all the world. I confess the Cross, because I know of the Resurrection; for if, after being crucified, He had remained as He was, I had not perchance confessed it, for I might have concealed both it and my Master; but now that the Resurrection has followed the Cross, I am not ashamed to declare it."
So I would say, no, the sources are not sufficiently identified. Also, Eusebius's Life of Constantine, which gives the story of the building of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Book III, chapters xxv-xl [3] does not give the story of the locating of the actual site.
Well, as I said in June, "More accurate details of the career of the True Cross are in the entry now, but it still needs direct quotes from 4th century sources." This remains true. Wetman 07:32, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Furthermore, the use of such characterizations as "sentimental", ' "invention" as Roman Catholics correctly say', and "improves on the invalid" lend an unfortunate cynical POV to the article. Additionally, the article attacks the traditional story as apocryphal and unsubstantiated by Eusebius (as well as the cynical characterization of Eusebius himself) even before that story has been related, which is perhaps putting the cart before the horse. I would suggest that we relate the traditional story, properly sourced, (with variants, if properly sourced) and then present (perhaps as a separate section) modern critical views of that story. JHCC 14:50, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Just remove the three offending words, JHCC, and that's fixed that too. I'm curious to see what verb you'll substitute for "improve" in relating how this story moved from a woman recovering from illness to a body raised from the dead? The "improved" version was written later in time. If the tale is not "improved." what, then, is it? "Given increased depth" perhaps? Or a mere "variation:" that often suffices.Wetman 07:32, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Thank you for interpolating documents here, JHCC. They show that I was mistaken to think that the detailed story of the Invention of the Cross was in Cyril's catacheses in the first place. So it appears that, as of today, no one knows where the early and circumstantial account exists of the finding of the cross by Helena and Macarius. The section "Finding the True Cross" currently attributes the details to the wrong author. Perhaps someone would fix it. So, then: the full details are likely to be in either a vita of Helena or a vita of Macrobius. Or just in the old Golden Legend. Am I the only one looking? Wetman 07:32, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)
You're welcome! I've updated the "Finding" section to give the three main early versions (Eusebius for the finding of the Sepulchre, Socrates for the finding of the Cross, and Sozomen for the raising of the dead person and the first reference to the presence of a Jew) as well as various little edits here and there, just for consistency. Thank you, Wetman, for the link to the Drijvers site (which was also recommended to me by the Professor of Early Church History at Union Seminary and the Professor of Byzantine Christianity at Columbia University (actually the same person)); it was a great source for references. I have not included some of the later versions (e.g., Rufinus is essentially a Latin translation of Eusebius), but it's good to have the info there. If anyone has a source for the "torture" legend, it would be good to have that, perhaps for a "Later Versions" section.
I hope that it's clear that, in my edit, I have kept to the form "X says Y" for the sake of NPOV. I will add a note to the effect that some modern historians consider these ancient versions apocryphal in either substance or detail.
I have also taken the liberty of removing the {{totallydisputed}} flag, as I believe that my edits address Samuel J. Howard's concerns. JHCC 15:03, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)
PS. The 'Etymology of "Invention"' edit was mine; I didn't realize I wasn't logged in. Sorry. JHCC 16:06, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Samuel J. Howard's upcoming rewrite[edit]

Man, I don't know when this article got so crazy. I'm gonna work on a new NPOV sourced rewrite. Pending that, I'm putting a {{totallydisputed}} flag on it. New article also needs to distinguish between various POV "legends" and myths of and historical accounts.--Samuel J. Howard 03:04, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

Perhaps Samuel J. Howard would list the "crazy" statements here, and we can work on those. What specifically is not a balanced statement of what was said, claimed or done? Let's not turn this into a Shroud of Turin please. Let it be noted that this Samuel J. Howard who has slapped disputed notices concerning both the neutrality and factual accuracy of this article, has himself contributed only a single edit to this article, back on 22 July, and has not made a single contribution to this Discussion page. Wetman 06:40, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Righto, always utilize the patently false in your arguments. It makes you so much more persuasive. Take a look again at the talk page and you'll see my signature. Much of the problem is that the article is now darn near incomprehensible.--Samuel J. Howard 20:07, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)
I did indeed overlook a single one-line contribution to this Discussion made by Samuel J. Howard back on June 29. To that extent I was indeed patently false as the disingenuous Samuel J. Howard says. His eager and premature hope then was expressed, "So the bit about relics being multiplied needs to be put down as alleged, pending better evidence." Oops. Not so fast, eh. Wetman 07:32, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I agree with Wetman that it would be helpful if the person adding the {{tottallydisputed}} flag would specify the areas of dispute. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the edit history of the Shroud of Turin article, so I'm not sure what you want to avoid in that respect, Wetman. Regarding a Persecution of Jews article, I believe that's covered at Antisemitism and related articles, including one on Christian antisemitism.
I also agree with JHCC's comments regarding the cynical POV in which much of the material is presented. An encyclopedia article should present the facts without excessive editorializing, which is what I see in the article now, as of this writing. Wesley
Also, it makes no sense to start the section on the "Finding of the Cross" by going on about how Eusebius says nothing about it. That part should go at the end of the section, if it needs to be included at all. Wesley 16:51, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I frankly don't see a lot of editorializing; rather, the article is poorly constructed and generally poorly written. Someone needs to do a thorough rewrite.

Dream of the Rood[edit]

Helena is not mentioned in Dream of the Rood. In the text of the poem, the dreamer is the poet, dreaming that the cross (rood) is speaking to him, telling him its story. The focus is on the crucifixion, not the finding, which is treated rather summarily:

One dug us into a deep pit. However, there the Lord's servants,
friends, found me by seeking;
they adorned me with gold and with silver.

I'm going to change this to a literary reference to the veneration of the cross, but it has no historical value as an alternate version of the finding of the cross. JHCC 18:54, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Dream of the Rood is based on the understanding of this tale in Anglo-Saxon England, and it records that the Rood had been dug into a deep pit. This has historical value recording the story that was circulating— which is all that any of this amounts to. Stories expand, change, travel, and are even "improved". Wetman 07
32, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Jan Willem Drijvers, U. of Groningen, "Helena Augusta"[edit]

The reader of Wikipedia may be looking for a more balanced view that we are willing to offer. Prof. Drijvers' assessment is on the web at the well-respected [http://www.roman-emperors.org/helena.htm De Imperatoribus Romanum website, http://www.roman-emperors.org/helena.htm}. His last paragraph, in its entirety:

"Her greatest fame Helena acquired by an act for which she was probably not responsible, i.e. the finding of the True Cross. Her presence in Jerusalem and the description Eusebius presented of her stay in the Holy Land led ultimately to connecting Helena with the discovery of the Cross. Remains of the Cross were already venerated in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem at the end of the 340s as is clear from sermons of Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem (Cat. 4.10, 10.19, 13.4 PG 33, 467ff, 685-687, 777). After 7 May 351, Cyril wrote the Emperor Constantius II that the Cross was discovered during the reign of Constantine I; the bishop gives no indication who discovered the rel ic (Ep. ad Const., 3 PG 33, 1168B). The Emperor Julian believed in the discovery of the relic; he rebukes Christians for worshipping the object (Contra Gal. 194C). The legend of Helena's discovery of the Cross originated in Jerusal em in the second half of the fourth century and rapidly spread over the whole empire. Three versions of the legend came into existence in Late Antiquity: the Helena legend, the Protonike legend and the Judas Kyriakos legend. The Helena legend, which was known in Greek and Latin, is found in: Rufinus (Hist. Eccl., 10.7-8), Socrates (Hist. Eccl. 1.17 PG 67, 117ff), Sozomen (Hist., Eccl. 2.1-2) Theodoretus (Hist. Eccl.. 1.18), Ambrose (De obitu Theod., 40-49), Paulinus of Nola (Epist., 31.4-5), and Sulpicius Severus (Chron. 2.22-34). The Protonike legend was only known in Syriac (and later on in Armenian) and was part of the Edessene Doctrina Addai but also circulated independently in the Syriac-speaking regions. In this version of the legend Helena's role is taken over by the fictitious first-century empress Protonike. The Judas Kyriakos legend originated in Greek, but became also known in Latin and Syriac and later on in many vernacular languages. This version relates how Helena discovered the Cross with the help of the Jew Judas, who later converted and received the name Kyriakos. It became the most popular version of the three, probably because of its anti-Judaism."

I shll take this entry off my watchlist now. User:Wetman 08:20, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Thanks to everyone who worked on this, it's looking very nice now.--Samuel J. Howard 02:01, Sep 24, 2004 (UTC)

I apologize for being a bit overly strident. I came to this one, which was having serious NPOV issues right off of similar battles on Catholicism and probably didn't reset the "troll meter" properly.--02:03, Sep 24, 2004 (UTC)

Sources needed?[edit]

In the last paragraph of the chapter "Dispersal of relics of the True Cross" it says "Other scientific study of the extant relics". First of all, that should be singular or plural, not the current confused mix, but more important a reference to the source for this statement is needed. User:boxed 15:05, 5 Jul 2006 (CET)

Fake[edit]

It mentions that many fragments of the true cross are probably fakes, but it fails to mention that the alleged true cross itself may well be fake - a kind of important omission which should be corrected (and sourced). Titanium Dragon 10:01, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

I agree. This article is catergorised under Christian Legend and Folklore, but the introduction certainly does not make this clear. I came here via a link from a query on the reference desk which was used to indicate that this page was a factual record rather than a faith based tradition. Mighty Antar 00:49, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Forgeries?[edit]

The article says "It is possible that many of the extant pieces of the True Cross are forgeries, created by travelling merchants in the Middle Ages, during which period a thriving trade in manufactured relics existed." I don't understand the logic of this sentence. If they are forgeries, they aren't pieces of the True Cross, right? So how can many of the extant pieces of the True Cross be forgeries? Should it be: "many of the alleged extant pieces..."? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.150.167.238 (talk) 14:46, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Fixed. Amandajm (talk) 06:08, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Fake?[edit]

I really can't understand the second comment here, which supports the first. The introduction was completely rewritten on Jan 20 2007, (four days before the comment) and since that date it has said clearly that the article relates the records, traditions and legends pertaining to the true cross.

It also makes it clear that the fragments of the cross and the various records/traditions are accepted by some Christians and not accepted by others.

The article does not claim to be a "factual record" of an object the present existence of which is shrouded in time and in the mysteries and miracles of Faith.

What this article does is attempt to present a "factual record" of the Faith, the several early records, the legends and the continuing traditions pertaining to that object, the True Cross.

As for whether or not the "original" True Cross was a fake-

The article presents the old records. The old records don't say "Maybe what St Helena found was a fake". So the article doesn't need to say "What St Helena found may have been a fake." What the article does say is that not everybody accepts the records as true.

If there was a written record that suggested St Helena had been tricked, then that info could and probably would be presented here along with the rest of the info.

--Amandajm 09:55, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

True Cross war[edit]

This article barely mention the conflict between Bizantine and Persian Empire for the True Cross posession, and I didn't find an article of that war. I think is important someone create it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 82.226.217.121 (talk) 14:18, 29 January 2007 (UTC).

We have an article about the various Roman-Persian Wars, but it's odd that they would be fighting over possession of the cross. When was that? Adam Bishop 16:26, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

How is it even remotely possible to know it actually comes from Jesus' cross after 2000 years[edit]

The true True Cross probably disintegrated centuries ago —Preceding unsigned comment added by 207.253.169.203 (talk) 21:30, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Easy enough: without carbon dating as a possible avenue for verification, no falsifier would have bothered selecting wood that comes from the right year, and with the much later appearance of said "relics", it is doubtful that any of the fragments date to anywhere even within +/- a few centuries of 2k years ago. (unsigned comment)
Ten pieces of the "True Cross" are documented as having known whereabouts from the early 300s AD. Four of these pieces have been microscopically examined, and are of the same olive tree. There is absolutely no doubt, in these cases, that the tree from which they came was logged sometime prior to 300 AD, ie within 270 years of the Crucufixion. Nowadays, with dendrochronology, it might be possible to date the wood more accurately. All that could be proven is that they really are old enough to have been used for that purpose.
While some of the better attested fragments appear to be ancient olive wood and therefore compatible with these four, it is highly likely that the vast majority of fragments were produced for the "pilgrim trade" (eqivalent of today's "tourist trade") in the late Middle Ages. Amandajm (talk) 00:20, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

I presume that this discussion means few or no putative fragments have been carbon dated? There is significant variation in the accuracy of this method, I believe related to cosmic-ray variations, in turn due to variations in solar activity, but I think the accuracy in various historical periods is pretty well known, and 2000 years ago the uncertainty is generally considerably better than 200 years. The case of the Shroud of Turin was dated in 1988, so at least the basic calibration of carbon dating from the time should be available. I assume there must be great reluctance on the part of the keepers to submit their fragments for dating (no doubt partly due to a natural, maybe semi-conscious, reluctance to have them discredited) but if any significant subset of the fragments turns out to be of pre-Constantine age, that would be very interesting, and if any are of closely correct age, that would seem almost miraculous in itself given the reality of the perils of passage down 2000 years of history. Thus if there is any scholarly work in this area, it would be very valuable to find and report it in the article. Thanks. Wwheaton (talk) 19:51, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

The introduction:- Cross or True Cross?[edit]

The term "the True Cross" is never used in the Gospels, or Epistles to describe the cross on which Jesus died. Neither is the term used in liturgy, hymns or anything else of that nature. It is sufficient to say that Jesus died on "the cross", the term meaning the mode of execution, not the object. (like "died on the scaffold", or died in "the electric chair".) The Bible gives no significance to the physical object itself.

The term "True Cross" only has a function in describing the object (traditionally)found and proven by St Helena. The "True Cross" found and proved in the 4th century, the stories about it, and the fragments that either are, or are said to be, part of what St Helena found, are the subject of this article.

They and the Biblical cross may be one and the same thing. They may not. Most Protestants do not give credit to the story of the "True Cross" or venerate its fragments. They do accept that Jesus died on "a cross".

--Amandajm 14:58, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, Amandajm. This is somewhat confusing, I must say. If nobody says "Jesus died on the True Cross", then what is the point of venerating its supposed remnants? Surely someone believes the remnants (or at least some of them) are from the actual historical cross on which Jesus died. Isn't that the crux (no pun intended) of the argument? I still wonder if the opening sentence is a little too wordy and incomprehensible. It refers not only to the physical remnants (of what some believe was the cross on which Jesus died), but also to literary records about them and about the discovery of the cross. This is like saying historical literary records of Troy are the same thing as Troy itself. It also seems to unnecessarily qualify the crucifixion itself ("... according to the Gospel writers ..."). Everyone knows that the only real evidence for the crucifixion, and for the very existence of Jesus, is the Gospels, so why labour the point? And if they don't know, it's well covered elsewhere. Can we cut it down to something like:
  • "The True Cross is the name for a cross that, in Christian tradition, is believed to be the very cross upon which Jesus was crucified. Although it is no longer intact, there exist many physical objects that are venerated as being actual remnants of the True Cross."
The discussion about the literary records that support these beliefs could go into the guts of the article, but I don't see how they pertain to the definition of the object itself. JackofOz 01:03, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
It actually amazes me that relics of this type don't inspire a great deal more interest and speculative fiction. After all, even more so than the Holy Grail, the "True Cross" offers the intriguing potential that one day a handful of cellular nuclei might be recovered and a cloning project attempted. 70.15.116.59 (talk) 02:05, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Lead image[edit]

The lead image is unneccessarily vague, being a closeup of Jesus and showing nothing of the actual cross. Perhaps it's a great work with historical or artistic significance, but it's not at all illustrative of the subject of this article. --Boradis 22:18, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

Yes and no. The reason for the fame of the True Cross and all the tradition that surrounds it is the death of Jesus. The particular pic was chosen because it is a graphic depiction of that particular aspect of the cross. The other pics all relate to the the Golden Legend, the discovery and later. --Amandajm 09:48, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

New lead pic[edit]

It is more narrative. I hope it meets with everyone's approval! --Amandajm 10:55, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Reverted edits[edit]

I reverted simplifications by an unnamed editor that had the effect of changing a very precisely worded section. The editor obviously did not understand that there are 2 separate tradition described here. The first is the tradition of the "Early Christian Chuurch". The second is the "Medieval tradition" or rather, "traditions" which differ between the Catholic and Orthodox churches. This information had been combined in a sort of blanket statement.

With regards to the acceptance of the story of the True Cross in the Anglican Communion- St Helen is honoured in the Anglican Communion as an early saint and as one who served in faith by charitable actions. There are a number of churches and hospitals in the Anglican Communion which are dedicated to St Helen. She is said to have been British, and the daughter of King Coel of Colchester. While her symbol of the cross and nails are maintained, the story of her discovery of the "True Cross" is regarded as legend and does not have general acceptance in the Anglican Communion.

Amandajm (talk) 10:00, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Constantine and Christianity[edit]

Constantine was not Christian. He was politically helped by christians, and when he could, he recognised their rights to profess their religion, but there is no evidence that he was a christian itself. Becoming a saint for the Easthern Orthodox Church doesn't change the fact that he didn't professed the religion. He was never seen praying to God and there is no evidence of his baptism (something necessary to be a Christian). Jmgl2005 (talk) 12:28, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Prove it Med (talk) 13:53, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
There is a well-referenced article which discusses this subject at Constantine I and Christianity. Perhaps Jmgl2005 can argue it out at the discussion page at that location. Amandajm (talk) 09:56, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Photo Gallery discrepancy?[edit]

Having just returned from Paris, I came across this article. The photo gallery section contains three photos from Notre Dame described as reliquaries of the true cross and a nail of the crucifixion. However, they are photos of two different reliquaries. I can verify that the first reliquary (in the first two pictures) is at Notre Dame. (I don't recall seeing the second, however, I could easily have missed it.)

Can anyone sort out the confusion?

58.38.80.44 (talk) 05:35, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

Sorry, I neglected to log in before posting. The above comment is by mine.
CNJECulver (talk) 05:37, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
I've left a comment for the contributor; awaiting a reply. (And I've really got to stop talking to myself :-) )
CNJECulver (talk) 06:05, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
OK! I'll talk to you, then! Both of the files are uploaded as being at Notre Dame. I've been to Notre Dame a couple of times and didn't see either of them, so I am no help at all! Amandajm (talk) 11:28, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

The actual passage from The Golden Legend[edit]

The story in The Golden Legend makes it clear that the tree from which the cross was made was the tree of knowledge, NOT the tree of life, as it explicitly says "the cross by which we be saved came of the tree by which we were DAMNED". Here is the actual passage to read for yourselves.

"The holy cross was found two hundred years after the resurrection of our Lord. It is read in the gospel of Nicodemus that, when Adam waxed sick, Seth his son went to the gate of Paradise terrestrial for to get the oil of mercy for to anoint withal his father's body. Then appeared to him S. Michael the angel, and said to him: Travail not thou in vain for this oil, for thou mayst not have it till five thousand and five hundred years be past, how be it that from Adam unto the passion of our Lord were but five thousand one hundred and thirtythree years. In another place it is read that the angel brought him a branch, and commanded him to plant it the Mount of Lebanon. Yet find we in another place that he gave to him of the tree that Adam ate of, and said to him that when that bare fruit he should be guerished and all whole. When Seth came again he found his father dead and planted this tree upon his grave, and it endured there unto the time of Solomon. And because he saw that it was fair, he did do hew it down and set it in his house named Saltus. And when the Queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon, she worshipped this tree, because she said the Saviour of all the world should be hanged thereon, by whom the realm of the Jews shall be defaced and cease. Solomon for this cause made it to be taken up and dolven deep in the ground. Now it happed after, that they of Jerusalem did do make a great pit for a piscine, whereas the ministers of the temple should wash their beasts that they should sacrifice, and there found this tree, and this piscine had such virtue that the angels descended and moved the water, and the first sick man that descended into the water, after the moving, was made whole of whatsoever sickness he was sick of. And when the time approached of the passion of our Lord, this tree arose out of the water, and floated above the water, and of this piece of timber made the Jews the cross of our Lord. Then, after this history, the cross by which we be saved came of the tree by which we were damned, and the water of that piscine had not his virtue only of the angel but of the tree."


Tree of Life/Tree of Knowledge[edit]

The un-named editor who keeps making this change makes the mistake of presuming that it is generally accepted that there were two trees in the graden of Eden, the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life, rather than on single tree referred to alternately by both names.

The Genesis account is a bit of a mish-mash. It has been assembled from two versions of the Downfall Legend, and some ancient writer has tried to meld them, not entirely successfully. The same occurs in other parts of the Old Testament, notably Noh's Ark, where the simple account of two animals of each kind has been mixed with a later version stressing clean and unclean, and expanding the number to seven for the clean beasts... a more Pharisaical version.

Voragine does not indicate anywhere in this account that there were two trees, and that Seth asked for oil of one but was given seed of another. The only indication is that he asked for oil but was given a seed, or, as Voragine states, in a different version of the legend he was given a branch.

Your edits have stated in a very definite manner something of which there is no such certainty. However, I will delete reference to the "Tree of Life" in that instance.

I must point out that while you claim the information is "not referenced", the paragraph commeneces by stating that the account comes from Voragine and "The Golden Legend".

Amandajm (talk) 13:47, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

NOTE: It is not acceptable conduct on Wikipedia to refer to another editor as "a liar" simply because you disagree with their edit. Please do not do this again. Not to me. Not to anyone. Amandajm (talk) 14:13, 2 May 2010 (UTC)



Amandjam keeps making the mistake of presuming, without citing any sources, that it there is one single tree referred to by alternate names. He is making a claim for which he has presented no evidence so far, and it is the one who makes the claim which bears the burden of proof. I made the claim it was the Tree of Knowledge, and I provided the evidence- the Bible itself which declares that it was. And simply placing your assertion as a footnote is not 'citing a source'. And simply waving your hand in a generalized manner of "the account comes from Voragine and "The Golden Legend". Cite WHERE. That is just as bad as claiming "the Bible says so". Cite WHERE so it can be verified. This is not a difficult task. And the Chapter you tried to cite, the very chapter I cited, does NOT say anything about this alleged "one tree by two names" tradition that you keep asserting, and thus fails you and is no citation at all. Your stance goes against the evidence thus far presented, and provides no evidence of it's own. It will not be presumed true nor given any merit until evidence is presented, and I will continue to revert the passage back to the version that DOES provide evidence for as long as you continue to make assertions withOUT evidence. Vograine DOES indicate that there were two trees by the very fact that he is making reference to the Genesis story, and Genesis DOES explicity state there were TWO trees. And trying to support an uncited assertion with yet ANOTHER uncited assertion(...mish-mash) is even worse, now you have simply compounded your problem and doubled your burden of proof. You now have added another assertion for which you must cite a source for verification if it is to have any merit. And yet, you did not cite a thing. Bottom line, cite sources, like I did, and like Wikipedia requires, or your bald assertions will continue to be edited out, as they should be. Cite a source, and you will no longer have a problem.

I state it in a definitive manner, because the book of Genesis IS definitive about there being two trees, and Genesis IS an obvious basis for this legend, afterall, why assume that the Seth referred to in this legend is the same Seth as in Genesis? Why not the Seth of the Egyptian pantheon? Because of Occam's razor, that's why.

And even if this were a cloudy area(which it isn't, since Genesis makes it definitive), cloudy areas in the available evidence for a point of view does NOT merit asserting an opposing view that is COMPETELY without evidence. As I said, what is being required of you is not asking too much or being unfair, it is a simple thing, just present evidence, just cite a source. That's it. NOT citing yourself as a footnote.

And I absolutely agree, it is indeed not acceptable conduct on Wikipedia to refer to another editor as "a liar" simply because you disagree with their edit. And I have never done this. Not to you. Not to anyone. I referred to you as a liar not because I disagree with your edit, but because you LIED. Your statement "It is clear that Tree of Life is meant here, by the context." was a lie, therefore you are a liar. Now whether you lied out of ignorance or intent is of no concern to me. Your statement was still false, and even you have conceded as much here- "...something of which there is no such certainty. However, I will delete reference to the "Tree of Life" in that instance".

By stating "the tree that Adam ate of", Vograine DOES indicate there where two trees, for one thing, if Adam had already eaten of the Tree of Life, he wouldn't very well be dying now would he? And Vograine goes on to write in the Assumption of Mary that "For God said: Lest peradventure the first form of man, that is to wit Adam, put forth his hand, and take of the tree of life, and live perdurably", thus within Vograine's own work, there is admission that Adam did NOT eat from the Tree of Life, thus by default, "the tree that Adam ate of" has to be ANOTHER tree besides the Tree of Life since Vograine writes that Adam never ate of it because God forbade him lest it make him immortal.

So it's not even that I outright DISAGREE with you, it is simply that claims have the burden of proof. And you have provided none. Which is a shame, because your assertion interests me, I would like to read about it, if it exists, but you have provided nothing to read. No citation at all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.18.171.224 (talk) 18:10, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Wow, calm down. Amandajm is not a liar. If she made a mistake, that is not the same as a lie. I'm sure you don't want us to think you are a crackpot or an asshole, do you? Now it's entirely possible that in Genesis these are the same tree (since Genesis is not a single narrative and is not actually definitive on the matter), and the passage you quoted from the Golden Legend is hardly clear on the matter either (it is not any more specific in the original Latin either). So what do we have...the Cross was made from a Tree which may have been the Tree of Life or the Tree of Knowledge which may be the same Tree anyway, and since it is all mythological there can't really be a definitive answer. (This reminds me of the constant disputes at the Persephone article about how many pomegranate seeds she ate...) Adam Bishop (talk) 19:28, 3 May 2010 (UTC)


Wow, employ logic. "lie... 3. an inaccurate or false statement." -http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lie

^That's what we call citing a source. Amandajm is a liar. And now, so are you. As I pointed out already, lying from intent or ignorance(or being mistaken) is still a lie. And unlike the both of you, I have cited the source to support that statement, instead of making a bald assertion as you have.

And your assertions continue.

No, it is not entirely possible that the Genesis account is referring to the same tree. Eve explicitly states in 3:3 that if they even so much as touch the fruit of the tree of knowledge that they would die, yhwh explicitly states in 3:22 that the tree of life would make man live forever. By logic of your assertion(for which you have cited no source) that this is the same tree, the fruit of the tree would kill them if they touch it, yet the tree would make them live forever. ??? 3:6 explicitly says that Eve & Adam both touched and ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge, and yhwh concedes that they did in 3:22, confirming the serpent's words that if they ate of it, it would give them knowledge of good and evil like the gods, which yhwh affirms man did indeed gain this knowledge and became as one of the gods. In contrast to this fact that they ate the fruit of the tree knowledge, yhwh makes it obvious that they had NOT eaten from the tree of life by his words in 3:22 and sets up a barrier to keep them from ever eating from it in 3:23. So within verse 3:22, yhwh both confirms they DID eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge, yet he also affirms they did NOT eat of the TREE of life. Yet you claim it is possible that this is only one tree and thus they ate of tree yet did not yet eat of the tree. ??? Either they did or they didn't. And as I said, if they had eaten of the tree of life, they wouldn't very well have died now would they? They would have lived forever then, wouldn't they? And in 3:22, yhwh confirms they had not yet eaten of the TREE of life, he explicitly says "lest he... take also of the TREE(עֵץ `ets, as per BLB Lexicon) of life", not merely the FRUIT(פְּרִי pĕriy), but the TREE(עֵץ `ets), and I point this out because I am suspicious that another il-founded ad hoc assertion to the effect of "yeah, it's two different FRUITS, but ONE tree" may rear it's ugly illogical head. Following the logic of your assertion results in internal contradictions, they totally go against the law of succinctness, and the logic of the story itself, and the overwhelming majority consesus through out history, from the Septuagint[4], to the Talmud, to the early church fathers[5], and so on. If such an interpretation of Genesis 2 & 3 exists that contends there is only one tree being referred to in this story, then just cite a source, it's that simple. Until you present evidence that this is the case, it remains only your conjecture. And the passages I cited from the Golden Legend do make it clear that there are two trees being referred, as the passage from the Assumption of Mary, which is also supported by Genesis 3:22, affirms that Adam did NOT eat from the tree of life. So if we are to humor the notion that there's one tree, this creates a contradiction when Vograine wrote "the tree that Adam ate of". Either he ate of it or he didn't. Occam's razor- there's two trees. And I'm not ruling out the possibility that there is a fringe view somewhere that asserts, against the grain, that there's only one tree, I am simply asking for a source, and pointing out that this fringe view is not possible in either the Genesis account or Vograine's writings. It's just creates a huge contradiction and is unsupported. With such complete lack of citations, it is beginning to look more and more like these are just ad hoc attempts on the part of you & Amandajm fueled by obstinacy, rather than actual traditions. But that's of no matter, since as I have already clearly demonstrated, the one tree tradition is not a coherent possibility for the Genesis account or Vograine's work.

So what do we have... as per Vograine, the cross is made from a tree that was made from the very same tree "that Adam ate of" [Vol.3 Inv. of the Holy Cross], and also per Vograine, Adam never ate of the tree of life, since "...God said: Lest peradventure the first form of man, that is to wit Adam, put forth his hand, and take of the tree of life, and live perdurably"[Vol. 4 Assum. of Mary], and also because Adam died and was not immortal[Vol.3 Inv. of the Holy Cross]. Very definitive. I am beginning to wonder what your definition of definitive is and if you are simply being so obstinate because you are just scanning for an explicit phrase such as "TWO separate trees" in Vograine's text or in Genesis.

So what do we not have? Any citations from either you or Amandajm to support your assertions. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.18.171.224 (talk) 23:51, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

You can expect anyone to take you seriously (or read your rants) if you start off by calling them a liar. Until this changes your edits to the article will be automatically reverted. Adam Bishop (talk) 00:29, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
You can't expect anyone to take you seriously when you ignore facts, assert things while refusing to cite any evidence, and then transparently trying to appease your own conscience and justify your obstinacy by claiming not to read that which utterly refutes your conjectures with plain & simple facts.
Until you present evidence, and begin to argue seriously with logic like an adult instead of being sensitive & defensive like a child, the old obsolete version will continue to be reverted to the superior version supported with sources. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.18.171.224 (talk) 00:42, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
  • You have cut and pasted the relevant section from "The Golden Legend" onto this page.
  • Within this passage Voragine does not differentiate between the "Tree of Life" and the "Tree of Knowledge"
  • I removed the earlier reference to the "Tree of Life" in line with the cited text, and have quoted the exact terminology that Voragine uses: "oil of mercy" and "seed of the tree that Adam ate thereof".
  • You have insistently reintroduced the terminology "Tree of Life" and "Tree of Knowledge", thus embelishing the story told by Voragine.
  • Having reread the original passage (from the Golden Legend) I referrenced my recent change to the online document, but this seems to have escaped you.
  • Whether or not there was one tree or two trees is not an issue in the Voragine text. We have to go with that.
  • I have deleted the subtext in the interests of peace.
Amandajm (talk) 10:08, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

^Actually, as it turns out, you're both right... and wrong.[edit]

Guys, I've been observing this back & forth, and decided to do some investigating myself, and it turns out, in the Golden Legend, there are TWO different legends about the tree which made the cross. One is from the passage already cited by you fellows earlier, "Of the invention of the Holy Cross, and first of this word invention." in Volume 3, which both of you are obviously already familiar with.

However, there was another one earlier in his work, in Volume 1, called "The Life of Adam". http://www.ccel.org/ccel/voragine/goldleg1.i_2.html

And in this version, it turns out that Amandajm was indeed correct when she contended that the tree which was turned into the cross was in fact from the seeds from the "tree of mercy", which seems to indicate the tree of life, not the tree of knowledge.

However, this version also confirms the objection by the anonymous user, IP 98.18.171.224, that the tree of life and the tree of knowledge are in fact TWO distinctly separate trees, as Voragine does state quite clearly "In the midst whereof be set TWO trees, that is the tree of life, and that other the tree of knowing good and evil"(emphasis mine).

So you are both right, and both wrong, because there are two different legends in The Golden Legend, and I have edited the relevant section in the article to reflect this. So can we all put this issue to rest now and just agree to disagree, please? Thank you. Sir Ragamuffin (talk) 13:49, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

I don't like being called a liar, but I don't object to being told I'm wrong.
I can't access the part about of the reference that deals with the three trees. Do you mind dropping some of it onto this page.
Also, when you add a reference that is online, leave a space, then name the source and put a square bracket around the whole lot. The result will show the reference by the name you have attached, followed by an arrow, instead of the whole html. Have a look at some other references to see how it's done.
Thirdly Voragine, in what is quoted above, makes it clear that there were several versions of the story floating around at his time. That needs to be made clear. Amandajm (talk) 16:55, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Oh, okay, sorry, thanks for the tip. I'll se if I can fix it.
Here's the passage you asked for from The Life of Adam, it's on CCEL- "And in the end of his life when he should die, it is said, but of none authority, that he sent Seth his son into Paradise for to fetch the oil of mercy, where he received certain grains of the fruit of the tree of mercy by an angel. And when he came again he found his father Adam yet alive and told him what he had done. And then Adam laughed first and then died. And then he laid the grains or kernels under his father’s tongue and buried him in the vale of Hebron; and out of his mouth grew three trees of the three grains, of which trees the cross that our Lord suffered his passion on was made, by virtue of which he gat very mercy, and was brought out of darkness into very light of heaven. To the which he bring us that liveth and reigneth God, world without end."
Sir Ragamuffin (talk) 17:07, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
I fixed the reference problem already. Amandajm (talk) 17:27, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the reference. It is interesting that this indicates that all the seeds came from the Tree of Mercy. One would expect that the seeds came from the three different trees, and that, to follow through, each of the three parts of the cross, the upright, the cross piece and the piece that supported his feet would each be of a different tree, with particular symbolism attached to them. Amandajm (talk) 17:33, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Maybe there were actually 3 trees: The Tree of Mercy, The Tree of Life and The Tree of Knowledge? Or perhaps people have spent an awful lot of time and effort arguing over a story? Markb (talk) 09:27, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

2.24% << 1/3[edit]

The article says that Charles Rohault de Fleury found that the fragments of the Cross brought together again would not reach one-third that of a of a cross.... The details of his calculations then suggest that less than two and a quarter percent of such a cross are accounted for. Clearly this is less than one third, but so much so that I suspect some mistake - or else I have misunderstood. Can somebody clarify this? Thanks --catslash (talk) 15:29, 21 March 2015 (UTC)