THE HOLY COAT

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THE HOLY COAT

John XIX:23-24

Milites ergo cum crucifixissent eum acceperunt vestimenta eius et fecerunt quattuor partes unicuique militi partem et tunicam erat autem tunica inconsutilis desuper contexta per totum.

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

This relic from Our Lord’s Passion was discovered in the fourth century by the Empress Saint Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, and by her deposited at Treves, at that time the capital of België Gaul and later the residence of the Holy Roman emperors. Concealed in a crypt from the Normans in the ninth century, it was rediscovered in 1196, and then exhibited, and, not exhibited again till 1512, when Pope Leo X appointed it to be shown once every seven years. The events of the heretic Protestant’s revolt and wars prevented the observance for some time, but the celebration was attended in 1810 by a concourse of 227,000 persons, and by a larger number in 1844 when Archbishop Wilhelm Arnoldi announced a centenary. Throughout the year’s pilgrimages attribute miraculous cures having been wrought by this holy relic. The Holy Coat’s dimensions were published at Treves in 1844, are, from the extremity of each sleeve, 5 feet 5 inches; length from collar to lowermost edge, 5 feet 2 inches. In parts it is tender or threadbare; some stains upon it are those of the Our Holy Redeemer’s blood. It is a loose garment of coarse material, dark brown in colour, probably the result of age, and entirely without seam or decoration.

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