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Santa Croce in Gerusalemme

Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (18)

Santa Croce in Gerusalemme is the church possessing most relics in Rome, since it was built precisely for this purpose.

It was the mother of Emperor Constantine, Helena, who founded this church on the lands of her old palace. The place is crowned by a row of statues that includes one of Saint Helena holding the Cross. It is said that it was she who brought back the relics of the Crucifixion from Jerusalem, currently placed in the Chapel of the Relics, down the steps of the church. 

This fact meant that, despite being initially located outside the city limits, the church of the Santa Croce became a place of pilgrimage for all those who wanted to see the fragments of Christ’s cross. 

You will also find here part of the inscription by Pontius Pilate, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”, two thorns from the crown, a nail from the Cross and the finger of Saint Thomas. 

On the lower floor is also the Chapel of Santa Helena, built over earth that she herself brought back from the Holy Land. Also stop to look at the interesting mosaics in this chapel, beautifully decorated with scenes filled with flowers and birds. 

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