The Holy Spear

The Holy Spear is also known as the Holy Lance. This is the spear believed to have been used to stab Jesus during His crucifixion. The Holy spear has a great significance to all Christians. Many people believe that the holy spear is the relic that is today housed in St. Peters basilica although it is very hard to prove this.

According to the Gospel of John 19:31-37 as Jesus hung on the Cross, a Roman Centurion came with a sword and pierced him on His side. Jesus was crucified along with three other men. After their crucifixion the Jewish leaders did not want them to remain hanging on the crosses the following day because it was a special day (Sabbath day). Therefore Pilate ordered their legs to be broken and their bodies be taken down. The soldiers came and broke the legs of men who had been crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, He had already died and therefore they did not break His legs. It was then that one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear and blood and water flowed out. The spear used is what is referred to as the Holy Spear. The failure to break Jesus’ legs was as a fulfillment of the Scriptures which say that, “Not one of his bones will be broken and they will look on him whom they pierced.”

Image of Jesus on the Cross in the Holy Sepulchre Church in Jerusalem Image of Jesus on the Cross in the Holy Sepulchre Church in Jerusalem

There have been three relics believed to be the Holy Spears or their parts namely:

The Holy Spear in Rome: it is located below the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. The first person to refer this as the Holy Spear was pilgrim Antoninus of Piacenza in 570 AD. While describing the holy places of Jerusalem, he said that in the Basilica of Mount Zion, there was the crown of thorns which Our Lord was crowned and the spear which was used to strike Him in the side.

The Holy Spear in Vienna: it is displayed in the Imperial Treasury at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna., Austria. This spear started being used in the coronation ceremonies. It had some golden and silver bands with the inscription “Nail of Our Lord.” This particular spear is known as the lance of St. Maurice.

The Holy Spear in Echmiadzin: it is conserved in Vagharshapat, Armenia. It is believed that the spear was brought in the country by the Apostle Thaddeus. However, based on its history, there is great doubt as to it being the real Holy Spear that was used to strike the side of Jesus.

It was believed that whoever possesses the Holy Spear and understands the powers it serves, holds is his hand the destiny of the world for good or evil. The Holy Spear was and is still a religious relic that most of the Roman Catholics believe struck the side of Christ. Its design was the same as that of modern spears.