A center which will check the authenticity of old Christian relics has opened in the Russian city of Voronezh as a branch of the local university.
This is the first such center in Russia.
At present, the Russian Orthodox Church is receiving many relics from abroad, and a strong need has appeared to check their authenticity.
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Fake Christian relics started to appear in the 11th century A.D. At that time, many churches wanted to have relics of great and venerated saints, and swindlers often used this demand to their advantage.
Some centuries later, fake particles of the cross on which Jesus was crucified, nails and other “sacred” artifacts, which allegedly had to do with His passions, started to appear.
Many relics, either genuine or fake, were obtained by Europeans during the crusades. Later, they were kept in monasteries all over Europe and attracted many pilgrims.
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The first examination which the newly-founded center in Voronezh held was to examine the authenticity of 10 pieces of wood, which were allegedly parts of the cross on which Jesus was crucified.
The examination proved that some of these particles were genuine, while the others were fake.
Image: Discovery of the True Cross (ca. 1385) Fresco, Santa Croce, Florence, Italy