Lance, the Holy (2)

Lance, The Holy (2), was given by king Rudolph of Burgundy to king Henry I of Germany, as a present, through the influence of Luitprand, bishop of Cremona. It came to be considered as one of the chief insignia of the empire, and a powerful talisman. 'The earlier tradition represents the lance as having been chiefly made of the nails with which Christ was crucified; later accounts assume that it was the identical lance with which the Roman soldier pierced the Savior's side. Under the emperor Charles IV this lance was brought to Prague, and in 1354 pope Innocent VI, at the emperor's request, instituted a special festival, De lancea, which was celebrated in Germany and Bohemia on the first octave after Easter. Another holy lance was discovered by the empress Helena, and kept first in the portico of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and afterwards at Antioch, where it was found in 1093 by a French priest, Peter Bartholomew; its appearance cheered the discouraged Crusaders, who gained a brilliant victory over the Saracens. It was subsequently brought to Constantinople, then to Venice, and afterwards came into the possession of St. Louis, king of France. It was, however, afterwards taken back again to Constantinople, and it is said that the iron of it was brought to Rome as a present to pope Innocent VIII, and is preserved at the Vatican. The genuineness of both lances has, however, been doubted even in the Roman Catholic Church, and their authenticity was never officially proclaimed. — Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 8:197. (J.N.P.)

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