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The nails with which Christ was fastened to the Cross, and believed to have been found by St. Helena (255-330). Many claims have been made about these relics. Some parts of these nails are said to be in different places in Europe, but at best they may be only filings of the original relics. St. Ambrose (340-97) indicated that one nail was made into a crown for Constantine (c. 274-337), which might well be preserved as the Iron Crown of Lombardy at Monza. Others are supposed to be at Santa Croce in Rome. A feast honoring the Holy Nails has been kept in certain dioceses on the second Friday in Lent.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.