Hidden treasures

The relics of the Thorn in the church of Santa Corona in Vicenza

Unknown places & works
santa-corona

The relics of the Thorn in the church of Santa Corona in Vicenza

One of the most important churches of Vicenza is undoubtedly Santa Corona. It was founded by the Dominicans in 1260s to house the precious relics of the Holy Thorn which were donated to the Bishop of Vicenza Bartolomeo da Breganze (1259-70) by the French King Louis IX.

In the Golden Legend of Jacobus de Varagine it is said that the cross on which Jesus Christ died, as well as the crown of thorns and other instruments of the Passion, were collected and hidden by some disciples. Around 320 AD the Emperor Constantine's mother, Helena, found these relics... Some were brought to Rome, while others, including the crown of thorns, remained in Jerusalem.

Around 1063 the crown was taken to Constantinople where it was kept until 1237, when the Latin Emperor Baldwin II gave it to some Venetian merchants, in exchange for a substantial loan (a source speaks of 13,134 gold coins). When the loan expired, King Louis IX of France, urged by Baldwin II, bought the Crown and carried it to Paris and housed it in his palace until the Sainte-Chapelle was completed and solemnly inaugurated in 1248. The treasure of Sainte Chapelle was badly damaged during the French Revolution, and that is the reason the Crown today has only a few thorns left. However, several thorns had already been removed during the crown’s journey to Paris to be donated to churches and shrines for special meritorious reasons; more thorns were donated by subsequent French kings to princes and clerics as a sign of friendship.

For these reasons, numerous French but especially Italian establishments today boast about possessing one or more of the Holy Thorns of Christ's crown ... Vicenza is one of these cities! The church of Santa Corona and its precious relics can be included in a fascinating private tour to discover the treasures of the Palladio city!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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