Santa Groce in Gerusalemme
Piazza Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, Rome, Italy
Santa Groce in Gerusalemme Rome Reviews
Santa Groce in Gerusalemme Dec 27, 2011
326 Saint Helena brings back wood from the cross of Jesus
Fact about Saint Helena: “Saint Helena was the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great. Constantine appointed his mother Augusta Imperatrix and gave her unlimited access to the imperial treasury. She used these funds to finance a trip to the holy land in 326-28 during which she built a couple of churches in the holy land. When she returned she brought several relics back with her. She stored these relics in her private chapel in her palace. The relics have remained in her private chapel till this day – but the chapel has been transformed into a church.”
The church used to be the palace of Saint Helena. After her death it was transformed into a basilica. This original basilica fell into neglect but was restored by Pope Lucius II in the 12th century. The church was further modified during the 16th century and got its current facade during the middle of the 18th century.
The inside of the church is lavishly decorated - but unlike many of the other churches in Rome the Santa Groce isn’t famous for the art works inside the church. Instead it is known for its extensive collection of important sacred relics. The relics is on display in the basement to get there you need to leave the main church and walk through some halls until you get to the rooms where the relics are on display.
The most important pieces are the ones Saint Helena brought back from Jerusalem where she had been on a pilgrimage. She brought some wood which is claimed to originate from the cross of Jesus, a couple of thorns from his rose crown and a nail from the cross. In addition to these relics there are others from a later period.
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