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article imageArchaeologists claim they found 'piece of Jesus' cross' in Turkey

By JohnThomas Didymus     Aug 3, 2013 in World
Archaeologists conducting excavations at the 7th-Century Balatlar Church on the shores of the Black Sea in Sinop, Turkey have announced discovery of a stone chest containing objects including a piece of the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.
The Hurriyet Daily News reports that the head of the team of archaeologists working in an EU-funded project, Professor Gülgün Köroğlu, said: "We have found a holy thing in a chest. It is a piece of a cross, and we think it was [part of the cross on which Jesus was crucified]. This stone chest is very important to us. It has a history and is the most important artifact we have unearthed so far."
She added: "During the excavations, we have seen many things that we didn't know about before. Sinop has gained a very good ancient site that we will show visitors."
The team said they had earlier discovered skeletons of more than 1,000 people, and the ruins of an ancient Roman bath since work began at the site in 2009.
Köroğlu showed some of the artifacts uncovered to reporters, including a part of the stone chest with a small cross emblem carved into it. She said the chest has been sent to a laboratory for tests, according to The Huffington Post.
Holy relics believed to be bits of the True Cross on which Jesus was crucified have surfaced in the Christian world over the centuries, but scholars have taken the claims seriously only to the extent of their significance as artifacts of historical and academic interest, and the extent to which they could serve the tourism industry.
The True Cross on which Jesus was crucified has been the subject of near-morbid obsession in Church history. Several churches in Christendom have claimed a piece of the old wooden stake on which Jesus was impaled.
The obsessed preoccupation with the object has its origins in the fourth century when the mother of Emperor Constantine made the first major holy relic find in Church history with the discovery of the sepulcher in which Jesus was buried and the three crosses on which Jesus and the two robbers were executed.
The discovery of three wooden crosses presented the boundless superstitious credulity of the royal mother and son with the problem of which was the True Cross of Christ; a riddle they dispatched elegantly by testing their holy unction separately on a sick person. The authentic cross gave evidence of its distinction by healing the sick person.
Helena's "True Cross" of Christ soon became the single most sought after holy object in all Christendom, sparking a pilgrimage stampede to the Jerusalem sanctuary where it was housed. By the Middle Ages, any one with cash to spare could obtain a piece of the holy wood during a pilgrimage to the nearest repository of a bit of the original True Cross. And in the midst of the frenzied rush for a chip of the holy wooden block no one stopped to ask how a single torture stake was able to supply the whole of Christendom countless bits of itself until "the whole earth [was] full was full of relics of the True Cross of Christ" as Cyril of Jerusalem remarked in one of his Catecheses.
Apparently, enterprising custodians of the holy relic scattered across Christendom, to protect the flow of sales revenue, managed to convince pilgrims that the holy relic had self-regenerating powers and thus could continue supplying the whole world with bits of itself for eternity.
John Calvin would later remark on the miracle of dissemination of the True Cross across Christendom:
There is no abbey so poor as not to have a specimen. In some places there are large fragments, as at the Holy Chapel in Paris, at Poitiers, and at Rome, where a good-sized crucifix is said to have been made of it. In brief, if all the pieces that could be found were collected together, they would make a big ship-load. Yet the Gospel testifies that a single man was able to carry it.
Calvin's skepticism led to one of the most ingenious applications of mathematics to the course of the Cross of Christ in history:
Charles Rohault de Fleury, in his Mémoire sur les instruments de la Passion , in 1870, reported a study in which he compiled a list of all known relics of the "True Cross" and demonstrated with mathematical calculations that the existing fragments combined would not exceed one-third of Jesus' original cross made of pinewood, estimated at three or four meters in length, with a weight of about seventy-five kilograms and an original volume of 0.178 cubic meters.
More about True Cross of Christ, a piece of Jesus' Cross, Balatlar Church, Glgn Krolu
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