September 14, 2019

What Happened to the Two Crosses of the Thieves Crucified Next to Christ?

According to early Christian historians, the two crosses of the thieves crucified next to Christ were discovered at the same time Saint Helen discovered the True Cross. Some say the True Cross was distinguished from the other two crosses by the sign with the inscription that read "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews," also known in Latin as the "titulus," placed over the head of Jesus on the True Cross at the orders of Pontius Pilate. Others say this inscription was tossed away from the three crosses upon their discovery and that the True Cross was distinguished, or perhaps confirmed, by one or two miracles. According to one source, a dead man was placed on the True Cross, which restored him to life, while another source says that a woman of rank in Jerusalem with an incurable disease was cured when the True Cross touched her.

Despite these two crosses not being the True Cross of Christ, they were not discarded, but were seen as significant relics from the Gospel history of the Passion of Christ, since Christ was mocked by one thief while the other thief for his faith was granted by Christ entrance with Him into Paradise. These two crosses therefore were brought to Constantinople and Emperor Constantine the Great had them placed below the Porphyry Column in the Forum of Constantine, on which a statue of Emperor Constantine stood, and which was considered the center of the city. Over the centuries the column contained other relics, such as a portion of the True Cross, nails from the True Cross, baskets from the multiplication of bread, a vase of holy oil used to anoint the feet of Jesus, Noah’s axe handle, the rock from which water sprang at the command of Moses, and other things, making the column sacred in the eyes of the Roman population.