Did A Fragment Of The ‘True Cross’ Of Christ Just Sink With Russia’s Destroyed Warship?

Was the recently sunk Russian flagship, The Moskva , carrying a fragment of the ‘true cross’ of Christ?

did a fragment of the 'true cross' of christ just sink with russia’s destroyed warship?

The Moskva was Russia’s Black Sea fleet flagship. The warcraft sank last Thursday after an onboard explosion. In 2020, Russian state media reported that the ship was due to take a holy relic onboard.

Now, the question is being asked whether she sank with or without the piece of wood believed to have been a fragment from the cross of the crucified Christ.

A Lot Of Wood For One Cross

It has to be said from the top of this article that if all the fragments of the true cross were gathered together from museums, cathedrals and churches one would have enough wood to build a replica of Noah’s ark.

That said, great religious and cultural significance has been projected into the tiny piece of wood that is believed to have sunk on Thursday onboard the doomed Russian warship.

The Moskva was a Russian missile cruiser. She was heralded as the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet. Nevertheless, Russian state media reported that it sank on Thursday following an explosion onboard. The association with the holy relic comes after the Russian Orthodox Church announced back in February 2020 that the relic had been delivered to the then-commander of the Black Sea fleet, Vice Admiral Igor Osipov. The state-run Tass news agency reported at the time that the piece of ‘true cross’ was being stored at the fleet’s headquarters before the planned delivery to the ship.

Questioning The Fate Of The True Cross Fragment

The fragment of wood believed to have originated from the crucifixion cross of Jesus Christ measures only around 5 millimetres long. Tass reported that it was embedded in a 19th-century metal cross kept in a reliquary in Russia.

Across the globe many churches and cathedrals claim to possess tiny pieces of wood believed to be fragments from the True Cross, but this ranks as one of the smallest.

Roman Catholic and Orthodox followers generally never doubt the authenticity of these magical, or miraculous, pieces of wood, and regard them ‘all’ as genuine pieces of the cross of Christ.

On the other hand, Protestants most often dispute the claimed holy relics believing the whole concept is nothing more than idolatry.

one of many ‘true cross’ relics

One of many ‘true cross’ relics (Lawrence OP / CC by SA 3.0 )

All of the claimed holy fragments have their origins in the writings of Historian Socrates of Constantinople who said Empress Helena travelled to the Holy Land in 326–328 AD, where she discovered the hiding place of three crosses. While two were associated with the crucifixion of the two thieves, St. Dismas and Gestas, the third bore the name of Jesus.

According to Fox 5 News the Moskva had the capacity to carry 16 long-range cruise missiles which could have had devastating effects on Ukrainian cities. Reports say the warship’s sinking ‘reduces Russia’s firepower in the Black Sea.’ It is not yet determined whether or not Ukrainian forces sank the Moskva , but if they did it represents the largest warship to be sunk in combat since the Falklands War, according to Fox. So why then was a sacred relic transferred onto a Russian warship?

The Moskva battleship had a small chapel onboard, said Sergiy Khalyuta, archpriest of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Sevastopol District. He told Tass that the holy relic was transferred at the request of its owner, who is an anonymous collector. Business Insider investigated the transference of the cross but they were unable to determine if it was onboard the Moskva at the time the vessel sank.

Apocryphal Biblical Texts Tell Rare Stories Of Demons In Disguise, Wizards And A Man Crucified Next To Jesus

Experts have recently compiled a series of apocryphal Biblical texts and translated them into English.

For some of the texts, the compilation marks the first time they can be read in the language.

Apocryphal Biblical Texts Tell Rare Stories Of Demons In Disguise, Wizards And A Man Crucified Next To Jesus

Apocryphal texts refer to those stories that were not included in the canonical Bible. When the book was being compiled, Christians were debating which ones told the truth about Jesus Christ and which ones didn’t.

The texts that made it to the book were those that were canonized by the Church.

Here are some of the texts included in the recently published compilation, titled “New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures (Volume 2).”

These three stories tell incredible tales of wizards, demons in disguise, and a man who was crucified beside Jesus.

Battle Against Diabolical Wizards

This tale is about a battle between demonic wizards and a group of Christians led by Bishop Basil of Caeserea.

According to the translated text, Bishop Basil was instructed by the Virgin Mary to retrieve an image of her and place it on top of two primordial columns, which were in a church in the Greek city of Philippi.

The bishop’s group went to the temple and was confronted by wizards who were hell-bent on destroying the columns.

A battle ensued between the two groups, culminating in the defeat of the wizards after “the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them.”

The story was told in two texts, both from the Monastery of Saint Macarius the Great in Egypt.

Paul Dilley, a professor of religious studies at the University of Iowa, translated the texts from Coptic, an Egyptian language that incorporates the Greek alphabet.

He said that they were likely written around 1,500 years ago.

Demons Masquerading As Angels

This tale is about seven demons masquerading as angels.

The story began with their capture; the Apostle Peter was suspicious of the “angels” and trapped them in a circle. He sought Heaven’s help to let him know if the angels really were creatures of evil.

Six of them confessed, but the seventh demon challenged Peter, asking him why mortals were forgiven for their sins, but demons were not.

It also said that humans ought to stop blaming the devil for their sins as “I have become weak and am without vigor.” Then, Peter let them go.

Cambry Pardee, a visiting professor of religion at Pepperdine University in London, translated the text, which was likely written about 1,600 years ago.

Pardee told Live Science that the story was fictitious, although it’s possible that some Christians believed it to be true.

Dimas Helps Jesus And His Family Escape

This story is about Dimas, or Dismas/Dymas, the bandit who was crucified next to Jesus.

Before he became a bandit thirty years ago, he worked as a border guard during the rule of King Herod, who wanted to kill baby Jesus.

One night, Dimas was stationed with his father at the border between Judaea and Egypt.

Shortly after the latter went away to do his rounds, Joseph and Mary arrived at the border carrying Jesus. Dimas was convinced by Joseph to let them go and gave them food as well.

His father eventually found out and disowned him, commencing Dimas’ life as a bandit. He would be captured 30 years later when Pontius Pilate served as the governor of Judaea.

Mark Bilby, a senior assistant librarian of scholarly communication and lecturer of Religious Studies at California State University, Fullerton, translated the text from Latin. He suspected that the story, which was written around the 12th or 13th century, was fictitious.

Even though apocryphal texts weren’t part of the canonical Bible, they’re still considered valuable, especially for the people at the time.

Tony Burke, a professor of early Christianity at York University in Toronto and the editor of the compilation, wrote:

“Apocryphal texts were integral to the spiritual lives of Christians long after the apparent closing of the canon and that the calls to avoid and even destroy such literature were not always effective.”