A recent announcement of an archaeological discovery in the Czech Republic reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas.
According to an article in the Daily Mail, archaeologists have been working for several months at the Milevsko Monastery that was constructed in 1187. They recently discovered a previously unknown secret chamber that was part of a narrow passageway beneath the monastery.
Inside the secret room, archaeologists found a box with a gold cross on top made of 21-karat gold. The box also had the letters IR on it that traditionally meant “Jesus is King.”
The box contained a 6-inch nail that was reportedly from the cross used to crucify Jesus Christ. Relics were a dime a dozen in the Middle Ages, so it is unlikely this is from Christ’s cross.
However, a study of the wood used to build the box indicated it may have been constructed between 260 AD and 416 AD, possibly making the nail among the earliest of these type of relics.
Archaeologists also discovered other “priceless” Christian relics inside the chamber leading some to describe it as a ‘treasury’ room.
The monks had constructed the room to hide their treasures from the Hussite army that captured the monastery in 1420. The destruction of the Milevsko’s records resulted in the information about the secret chamber also being lost.
Researchers are planning to do an extensive study of the nail in 2021 in hopes of finding dating materials. Previous finds of crucifixion nails in Israel have uncovered bone chips and wood that allowed them to be dated to the first century including several that were found in the burial chamber of the Jewish High Priest Caiaphas, who played a role in Christ’s crucifixion.
It was Caiaphas who uttered the fateful words concerning Christ, “it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish” (John 11:50 ESV)
Whether this nail from the Milevsko Monastery is from Christ’s cross or not, it still reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas, as the baby in the manger grew up and became God’s gift of salvation to the whole world.
28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:28-29 ESV)