What Happened to The Robe of Jesus?
Have you ever read the novel, The Robe, written by Lloyd C. Douglas? A movie was created in 1953 based on it, starring Richard Burton, Victor Mature and Jean Simmons.
The story takes an interesting point of view: That of one of the soldiers, Marcellus (Richard Burton), who nailed Jesus to the cross and later, wins the robe.
Marcellus has a slave, Demetrius (Victor Mature). When Marcellus tries to wear the robe he experiences great pain and commands Demetrius to remove it. Demetrius, on learning that Marcellus nailed Jesus to the cross, says he’ll never work for him again, and leaves with the robe.
Eventually Marcellus and Demetrius meet again; and Marcellus becomes a Christian. The Robe uses this story line with the historical persecution of Christians as a backdrop. Through the story, the author tries to explain why Christians were so willing to die for their faith.
Where is the authentic robe?
In the movie the robe was a beautiful, red piece of cloth. But there are several cathedrals in Europe that claim to have the authentic robe, or at least parts of it. One is the Cathedral in Trier, which claims that the robe was given to them by Helena, mother of Constantine, Rome’s first Christian Emperor. Helena, the legend says, found the robe in Israel in 327. However, the robe was never scientifically dated, according to the Huffington Post, so it hasn’t been proven to be genuine.
The robe in the Benedictine church in Argenteuil
Another robe is in the Benedictine church in Argenteuil. This garment is more reddish, however. Those who advocate the robe in Trier say that the garment is actually a mantle of Jesus. The robe was brought to Argenteuil by Charlemagne. In 1156 the Archbishop Hugh of Rouen testified, along with other bishops and abbots, that the garment is genuine. They claimed that the garment in Trier was actually the outer garment of Jesus.
During the French revolution the robe was transferred to the Benedictine parish church in 1793. The priest cut it into pieces and hid the pieces in different places. In 1795 four pieces were found and brought back to the church, according to newadvent.org.
Robe of Jesus
The robe in Russia
A third version states that portions of the genuine robe of Jesus are in Russia. There are two versions of how the robe reached Russia. One is that the soldier who won the robe was Georgian and brought the robe back with him. Another version is that a Jew named Elias from Iberia, Georgia, happened to be in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified. He became a Christian and purchased the robe from the soldier. He then brought it back with him. The robe was placed in a church in Georgia until the 17th century.
During the Persian invasion of Georgia, Tsar Mikhail Fydorovich of Russia protected King Teimuraz of Georgia. The robe became a bargaining point. The Shah said he would give the garment to the Russian Tsar. A portion of the robe was kept in the Dormition Cathedral in Moscow and another portion was kept in the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul until 1917. The noble Pushkin family in Russia also managed to access a portion of the robe.
Under communist rule in May 1922, many cathedrals became museums and church valuables were confiscated. Portions of the alleged robe were hidden in museums under different names with different histories attached to them. In this way, they were preserved. Today, one part of the robe is in Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, another in Sophia Cathedral, Kiev; another in the Cathedral of the Dormiton, Moscow; another in St. Petersberg’s cathedral, and other parts are in old temples.
Reiics of Jesus
The Pushkin robe
What about the Pushkin portion of the robe? It was kept in an amulet and passed down through generations to son Alexander Pushkin, then to granddaughter Elena Alexsandrovna von der Rozenmayer who moved to Nice, France. When she died in 1942 nothing was known about the Pushkin relic, according to Pravmir.com.
Who is to say whether any of these garments are authentic? I am neither Catholic nor Russian Orthodox but I respect their faiths. I also enjoyed the movie and the book very much.
Here’s a video of a church that has one of the robes mentioned in the article. The architecture and the place itself is very beautiful. The language isn't English but you can appreciate the robe and the surrounding area.
Pilgrimage to the Lord Heaton 2012
Harry Belafonte song
I think this song by Harry Belafonte sort of fits the mood of the story. Besides, you can never go wrong with a Belafonte song.