Rome: Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem
About the Basilica:
Despite what the name might imply, this Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem is located in Rome, just a few blocks from the Basilica of Saint John Lateran. It is one of the seven Pilgrimage Churches in Rome and should not be missed by pilgrims, since it contains several significant artifacts brought from the Holy Land by Saint Helena (Emporer Constantine’s mother). Originally built around 320 A.D. it was a small chapel attached to Saint Helena’s home and the floor contained some soil brought back from the holy land.
The relics in the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem:
Perhaps the most famous of the relics enshrined at Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in the Chapel of the Holy Relics are three fragments from the True Cross, one nail used in the crucifixion, and small pieces of the scourging pillar, the Holy Sepulchre and the tomb of Jesus. It also contains a reliquary of two of the thorns in the crown of thorns.
We have always found this to be an interesting and a convenient location as it is along the route to the Basilica of Saint John Lateran. For some reason it is not included on many organized tours and whenever we visit there do not seem to be many people in the Basilica.
You will also find the tomb of Venerable Antonietta Mea, a young mystic who died at the age of seven and is on her way to Sainthood.
Visiting the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem:
The Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem is easy for independent travelers to visit–or if you are with an organized tour that does not include it try to break away for an hour or so. You will already be close to it if you are visiting Saint John Lateran or several of the other Basilicas in Rome.
It is definitely worth the time. It is open daily and admission is free.
Click here for the official website of the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem in Rome (shown as Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in many maps).