The Spear of Destiny was also known as Longinus Spear. According to the tradition of the Catholic Church, it was the weapon used by the Roman centurion Longinus to pierce the chest of Jesus Christ during the crucifixion. The spear finds its mention only in the Gospel of John (19: 31-36), and in none of the synoptic Gospels.
The Gospel states that the Romans intended to practice crurifragium on Jesus. It was the practice of breaking the legs to accelerate death in a crucifixion.
On seeing the spear, it may look like any other common sword or spear we come across. But there is more to it. It wasn’t just an ordinary spear. It was supposedly the spear with the power to change lives, rulers and entire kingdoms.
But before exposing more, there are many questions that popped in mind, and here is an elaborate answer to each of them. Let’s find out!
WHY WAS JESUS’ CRUCIFIXION DIFFERENT?
About 2,000 years ago, on a Friday, the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, a very mysterious fact happened.
According to custom, the legs of the crucified were broken to anticipate his death. Just before crurifragium, it was found that Jesus was already dead, and therefore there was no reason to break his legs. To ensure his death, a Roman legionary (outside the biblical tradition called Longinus) pierced his flank. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and soon blood and water came out (John 19:34).
The phenomenon of blood and water coming out was considered a miracle by Origen. Catholics accept blood and water as a biological reality emanating from the heart and hollow of Christ. They also recognize the allegorical interpretation: it represents one of the key mysteries / key teachings of the church, and one of the major subjects of the Gospel. According to Matthew, it is the interpretation of Consubstantiality adopted by the First Council of Nicaea. According to First Council of Nicaea, Jesus Christ was both true God and a true man.
SYMBOLISM OF BLOOD AND WATER
His blood symbolizes humanity and the water, his divinity. This is ceremonially represented at a certain moment of the Mass. The priest sprinkles a small amount of water on the wine before consecration. It is an act that recognizes the humanity and divinity of Christ and represents the flow of blood and water from Christ’s flank on the cross. St. Faustina Kowalska was a Polish nun. Her apostolate and writings led to the establishment of Divine Mercy devotion. It was also recognized as the miraculous nature of blood and water, explaining that blood symbolizes Christ’s divine mercy, and water, his divine compassion and the baptismal waters.
DISCOVERY OF THE SPEAR
One tradition indicates that this relic was found in Antioch by a monk named Peter Bartholomew. Peter accompanied the First Crusade. He claimed to have been visited by St. Andrew, who would have told him that the spear was in the church of St. Peter. After the conquest of the city, an excavation was made and it was Pedro Bartolomeu himself who found it.
Although it was thought that the monk had put a false relic on the spot (until the papal legate Ademar de Monteil believed it), the achievement improved the moral of the crusaders, besieged by a Muslim army. The prince of Antioch had this new holy object at the head of his forces. They then marched to meet his enemies whom he miraculously defeated. It was considered a miracle according to the Crusaders, who claimed that an army of saints had arisen to fight along with them on the battlefield.
WHO WAS ST. LONGINUS
St. Longinus lived in the first century, contemporary of Jesus. He was the Roman centurion who recognized Christ as the “Son of God” at the crucifixion (Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:39; Luke 23:47). He was be the soldier who struck the side of Jesus with his spear (John 19:34).
Legend has it that the water that flowed from the wounded side of Jesus splashed on his face. The water immediately healed him of a great vision problem. He became a monk soon after this. He was later imprisoned in Cappadocia (today Turkey). He martyred to renounce their faith and finally beheaded. His spear is revered as a religious relic and is exhibited in Vienna in Austria. In Spain and Brazil he is the protector to find lost objects.
POSSESSION OF THE SPEAR
Over the years, the possession of the Spear has taken several directions. It got smuggled out of the city, thwarting the will of Napoleon to possess this power. In 1912, the spear passed into the possession of the House of Hapsburgs, being part of a collection at the Hofburg Museum in Vienna where it was named as Vienna Lance.
In September of that year, a young man named Adolf visited the museum with the accompaniment and guidance of Dr. Walter Stein. He learned about the history of power of the spear. At that moment Adolf contemplated it. He felt a mystical connection between him and the generations of conquerors of history, since he had much interest in religious artefacts of power.
Adolf went so far as to say:
“I lay there quietly, staring at the spear for several minutes, forgetting everything around me. She seemed to contain something hidden inside her, which evaded me, it seemed that I felt, I knew intimately and could not bring to consciousness … I still felt as if I had held her before in some last century of history. That I had once cried out to her as my talisman of power and held the fate of the world in my hands …”
HITLER AND THE LONGINUS SPEAR
A new aspect of the bloodthirsty and insane Nazi dictator came into picture. Marco Tosatti – Rome – Jesus Hernandez wrote a very interesting book on a little known aspect. It was on the personality of Adolf Hitler, and in particular his interest in esoteric and superstitious type of relics.
What is more? The Nazi dictator believed that the spear would make him invincible. This is a blind faith to the legend of ancient origin that the owner of the spear of Longinus (thus tradition called the legion) would hold in his hands the fate of the world. And in particular, he never lost a battle.
According to Hernandez, Hitler found the Spear of Longinus by chance in 1912 when he tried to sell his watercolours in the cafes of Vienna. He was a very poor artist, who could barely make a meal a day. He was 23 years when the refuge of a storm came very strong in the museum of the Hofburg Palace.
“In a velvet cloak offered to see a relic of the great mystical Christian power that belonged to the imperial Hapsburg treasure: Longino’s Spear”, an iron point a little more than 50 centimetres.
Hitler was fascinated. He along with his friend Walter Johannes Stein began to riceche the magical powers attributed to that object. Stein then said that Hitler was convinced that he had a great destiny to fulfil. The possession of the holy spear could be the tool to make this happen.
“Twenty-six years later, with the “Anschluss”, Austria became a part of the Third Reich. Triumphant Hitler entered the capital that had been poor and desperate. In the afternoon of 14 March 1938 says Hernandez, Hitler came accompanied by Himmler, the SS chief, at the Hofburg Palace. “The Führer went directly to the room where he kept his spear desired. Himmler left the room, leaving Hitler with the mystical relic. He stood there now, completely immersed in his delirious thoughts, fuelled by the sight of the spear that was in his power. Melomaniacus had his dream fulfilled.
“This trick was created: the mayor of Nuremberg, the city that hosted the first launch of Vienna, officially called for the return of the relic. An armoured train especially prepared for the transfer, five months later brought to Germany the precious object. It was escorted at all times by the SS. The spear was deposited in the church of Santa Catarina, on August 30th. There it was exhibited to the public.
Hernandez was killed in a suicide bomb attack on the German city of Vienna on Sunday. The mass killing took at least 15 lives. It is impossible to know if the spearhead kept in Vienna is really what pierced Christ. There are two possible examples of the Spear of Longinus. It seems highly unlikely that the tip of a’ very common used weapon, by an unknown Roman soldier, who does not really know anything, could cross the night of the ages to reach us. But Hitler believed.