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Representation of holy nails of the Crucifixion and crown of thorns.	Source: vetre / Adobe Stock

More Hope For “The True Holy Nail”?

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Archaeologists in the Czech Republic have discovered a secret chamber beneath a 12th century monastery floor. In it, they discovered an ancient box with a gold plate, inscribed with “Jesus is King.” When the box was opened, a six-inch nail was found and the researchers say it maybe came “from Christ's cross.”

Discovering The Holy Nail

The team of researchers was working in Milevsko, a town in Písek District in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. This region has been inhabited since Paleolithic times, right through the Bronze and Iron Ages, and into the Hallstatt Culture period. Slavs settled in the 8th century Migration Period and in 1187 AD a Premonstratensian monastery was built that became the richest monastery in the Bohemia, until a Hussites attack in 1420 AD greatly destroyed the ancient Romanesque treasure.

According to a report in the Daily Mail the “Priceless Christian relics” were discovered in a “hidden treasury room,” beneath the Milevsko monastery. It is thought that the chamber was used to conceal rare artifacts from Hussite soldiers when they raided in the early 15th century.

The wooden box was sealed with a 21-karat gold cross and punched with the letters 'IR,' which translates to 'Jesus is King.' But this is only one reason the researchers suspect one of the nails might have been used in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

The Preliminary Dating Is Actually Quite Alluring

All this speculation is coming from team of archaeologists, academic researchers, which is what makes all this so intriguing. While the team told the Czech News Agency (ČTK) that at this stage it cannot be confirmed if the nail came from the “True Cross,” or not, they describe the discovery as “even greater than the reliquary of St. Maurus.” This is a golden box which held fragments from bodies of Saint Maurus, Saint John the Baptist and Saint Timothy. 

Medieval Reliquary of St. Maurus, Czech Republic. (Public Domain)

Medieval Reliquary of St. Maurus, Czech Republic. (Public Domain)

The authenticity of this particular “Holy Nail” will be verified next year, however, the box has already been analyzed and radiocarbon dated. It was constructed with larch wood from Israel dating back to 1290 and 1394 AD, and also oak from a tree which had grown sometime between from 260 to 416 AD and so it has been concluded that the box was assembled around this earlier time.

Speaking on “why” the treasure vault has remained undetected for 600 years, Jiří Šindelář, who was part of the discovery team, told ČTK, “because the Hussites destroyed the archive, there was no information that such a thing was here”.

Let’s Get An Official Church Opinion

It’s probably best you don’t hold your breath over the holiday period waiting for the announcement of “The Holy Nail,” because this is far from the first time such a claim has been made. A similar stir surrounded the presentation of “The True Holy Nail” at the Basilica of Santa Croce in Rome, and when the middle part of “The True Holy Nail” was first exhibited in Bamberg Cathedral, in Germany. Similar excitement rose when monks from the monastery of San Nicolò l'Arena in Catania and from the cathedral of Colle di Val d'Elsa, near Siena, all claimed to have possessed “The True Holy Nail.” See where this is going?

You know, logic suggests that if 10 people all claim to have “The one” of anything, then the conclusion is a certainty that “none of them” have it. But there is always hope for some of them, as a few nails might have been used in a crucifixion. However, let’s turn to the Catholic Church for their view on the propensity of “The True Holy Nails” floating around.

The Catholic Encyclopedia clearly state that “The authenticity of these relics is doubtful” and they specifically say “of the thirty or more holy nails which are still venerated, or which have been venerated until recent times, in such treasuries as that of Santa Croce in Rome, or those of Venice, Aachen, the Escurial, Nuremberg, Prague, etc” their authenticity “cannot be verified.”

Hence, don’t you go holding your breath and miss the Christmas dinner in anticipation of reading a headline claiming “The True Holy Nail,” has finally been discovered, because the chances are fairly, to pretty high, that this is just “Another Holy Nail.” And most probably, like all the others, the monastery where the holy relics were discovered will have to up their admission fee.

Top image: Representation of holy nails of the Crucifixion and crown of thorns.    Source: vetre / Adobe Stock

By Ashley Cowie



Nagurski's picture

Makes it hard to walk on the water don’t it?

So there should be, if they haven’t rusted to nothing, 4 “sacred’ nails (going by the included video); the ones actually used in impaling Jesus to the cross. You could add 6 more if you want include the nails that were used on the thieves who were crucified with Christ according the Biblical account.  30? The Chatholic Church should really look into this & clear it up.  Then again it’s got more pressing problems on it’s hands.

ashley cowie's picture


Ashley is a Scottish historian, author, and documentary filmmaker presenting original perspectives on historical problems in accessible and exciting ways.

He was raised in Wick, a small fishing village in the county of Caithness on the north east coast of... Read More

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