The Holy Lance history

Holy Lance: Spear That Pierced Jesus Explained

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Along with the Ark of the Covenant and the Grail, the Holy Lance is one of the sacred relics of the Christian world.

As Jesus hung on the cross, the Romans prepared to break his legs in order to hasten his death. Just before they did this, they realised that Jesus was already dead, and the soldiers refused to break Jesus’ legs.

This fulfils an important Biblical prophecy that states that the Messiah would die with no broken bones and be resurrected. In order to check that Jesus was dead for sure, a soldier pierced his side.

Rumour has it that this soldier was called Longinus, however that part is not recorded in any bible verse.

You can see reference to the spear in John 19 verse 34 which reads:

“One of the soldiers pierced His side with a lance, and immediately there came out blood and water.”

What Is the Holy Lance?

The Holy Lance of Longinus statue
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This sacred harpoon is the instrument that performed the crucifixion piercing of Jesus.

Believed to have been constructed in iron, it was sound 50 centimetres long. There would have been a wooden staff at the top of the lance.

Various claims as to the whereabouts of the lance abound, but none can claim to have the wooden top. Either way, the lance is the perpetrator of Jesus’ pierced heart.

The Holy Lance Spear of Destiny & Its Magical Powers?

The Holy Lance is also known as the Spear of Destiny and is rumoured to have magical holy powers.

The first recorded incident of its powers came directly from the crucifixion. Longinus – the Roman soldier tasked with supervising the event – was purportedly suffering from an extreme eye infection at the time.

Some believe this is why he had been assigned the gruesome task – because at that point he could barely see. Either way, when Longinus pierced Jesus’ side, blood and water projected from the body and hit him in the eyes, immediately restoring his eyesight!

From that point on, the real Spear of Destiny Powers have been recorded. The Holy Lance Powers noted include a misfortune that falls on those who are careless with it – Charlemagne and Barbarossa both died when they dropped it, and who can forget Adolf Hitler taking his own life 90 minutes after the American Army took possession of the relic?

Reasons Why Jesus’ Side Was Pierced with the Lance of Longinus?

Crucifixion was a grisly business, and depending on the condition of the victim, could last as long as several days!

The accused could survive for a while by raising themselves up on their legs to breathe, briefly resting, and then repeating. Whilst it was a very tiring way to try to survive, it could enable someone to go a few days at most.

Sometimes, for example near the Sabbath, the soldiers would want the crucifixions to be over quickly. Breaking the legs was common, so that the victim could no longer raise themselves up to breathe, and thus death was hastened.

In Jesus' case, he was already dead by the time the holy lance of Longinus was used as the spear that pierced Jesus to prove he was dead.

How Old Is the Spear of Longinus & Who Found the Holy Lance?

The Spear of Destiny
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There are several museums in Rome that claim to hold the original Holy Lance.

Of course, none can be substantiated, but the one that is held in Vienna is considered to be closest to the real thing. However, historians analysed it and believe it likely dates back to the 7th century AD.

They did come to the conclusion that the nail that holds together part of the cross is consistent with a 1st century Roman nail, so there may be truth in the matter that this spear dates from the time of Jesus!

What Was The Holy Lance Made Of?

Likely to be made of iron with a wooden sheath at the top, the lance is said to have been just over 50 centimetre long.

Holy Lance Catholic Relics Rome, Vagharshapat, Antioch

So just where is the Holy Lance?

Let’s check out the places that claim to hold the real thing.

Rome

St Peter's Square at night
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Under St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City is a relic that many claim to be the real Holy Lance.

This claim is not formally supported by the Vatican State. The piece under the Basilica is a longer part of the lance.

The missing point of the lance is located in Paris, and Pope Benedict XIV compared a drawing of the part in Paris with the longer item in the basilica, concluding they were indeed of the same lance.

Vienna

The Holy Lance of Vienna is found in the Hofburg Palace.

It is said to have been in the possession of the kings of the leaders of the Holy Roman Empire, before being sold to the Habsburgs after the empire fell. During WW2, Hitler became fascinated with the relic’s magic powers, and ordered its safekeeping in a bunker.

The lance – which has been dated to the 7th century AD only and contains a 1st Century AD nail that may come from the crucifixion – was recovered after the war and returned to the Austrian state.

Armenia, Poland and Antioch

A less publicised lance is held in Armenia and another in Antioch, as well as in Krakow, Poland.

Since there are at least 5 so called Holy Lances in existence, it is pretty hard to guess which one – if any – is the real deal!

How Did Vienna Get The Holy Lance?

If the lance in Vienna is indeed the real thing, just how exactly did it get to Europe?

Well, it is thought that it was discovered during the crusades. Legend has it that in 1098 the crusading army had hit a bit of a rut.

As they were holed up in Antioch, a guy named Peter Bartholomew claimed that St Andrew had come to him in a vision, stating that the holy lance was buried in the cathedral in Antioch.

Diggers found the remnants of an iron lance under the floor. It was brought to Constantinople, and eventually ended up in St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City.

What Happened To The Spear Of Destiny?

Spear that pierced Jesus
spear_pierced_jesus

It is unclear what really happened to the actual lance after the Crucifixion.

Since the one in Vienna is deemed to be the closest fit, and it has been pretty much confirmed to date from centuries after the crucifixion, we just don’t really know.

More About The Peter Bartholomew Vision

Lance of Longinus explained
lance_longinus_explained

Peter Bartholomew was a scraggy looking man who claimed to have had a vision of St Andrew telling him where the lance was buried.

When the crusading army went to investigate they were disappointed to not find anything initially. Just as they were about to give up, Bartholomew jumped into the freshly dug pit and found the spear.

Whether he had secretly hidden it there prior to the search, or it was a true miracle, we will never know…

Few Words About Adolf Hitler And The Secrets Of The Holy Lance

If the Holy Lance fascinates you, then you can read a lot more about it in the bestseller Adolf Hitler and the Secrets of the Holy Lance.

You can get a copy here. The story documents Hitler’s obsession with the lance as well as some interesting tales surrounding its journey.

What do Atheists Think of the Holy Lance?

Longinus statue in St Peters Basilica in Rome
longinus_statue_rome

Since there is lots of conjecture surrounding which lance is the real one – if any – and on how it is found – it is easy for sceptics to dismiss the Holy Lance as nothing but mere legend.

Where Is The Holy Lance Located & Can You Visit?

You can visit the Austrian Holy Lance in Vienna at the Hofburg Palace. The lance is on display in the Worldly Treasure Room. Get tickets for the museum here.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Is the Holy Lance real?

The Holy Lance is mentioned in Biblical Scripture and captured in testimonies of the time. In addition, numerous claims exist as to the location of the true relic. The truth is however that we just don’t know!

Who Was The Roman Soldier That Speared Jesus?

Rumour has it that this soldier was called Longinus.

Who walked through the fire with the Holy Lance?

Peter Bartholomew – in a bid to prove he genuinely found the lance – walked through fire. Unfortunately, he died of his injuries.

Where did the Holy Lance pierce Jesus?

The Holy Lance was used to pierce Jesus in the side.

Who stabbed Jesus with Holy Spear?

The soldier Longinus was tasked with checking if Jesus was still alive.

Do we know where the Holy Lance is today?

Not really. The one in Vienna is claimed to be the most authentic.

Conclusion

The Holy Lance remains shrouded in mystery to this day. You’ll have to judge for yourself what you believe!

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