As Christian teaching generally states that Christ was assumed into heaven corporeally, there are few bodily relics, unlike with relics of saints.A notable exception, from long before the ascension, is the Holy Foreskin.In the Christian tradition, the True Cross refers to the actual cross used in the Crucifixion of Jesus.
A number of relics associated with Jesus have been claimed and displayed throughout the history of Christianity.
Some people believe in the authenticity of some relics; others doubt the authenticity of various items.
For instance, the sixteenth-century Catholic theologian Erasmus wrote sarcastically about the proliferation of relics, and the number of buildings that could have been constructed from the wood claimed to be from the cross used in the Crucifixion of Jesus.
Some relics, such as purported remnants of the Crown of Thorns, receive only a modest number of pilgrims, while others, such as the Shroud of Turin (which is associated with an approved Catholic devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus), receive millions of pilgrims, which in recent years have included Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
The spread of the story of the fourth century discovery of the True Cross was partly due to its inclusion in 1260 in Jacopo de Voragine's very popular book The Golden Legend, which also included other tales such as Saint George and the Dragon.
Tradition and legend attribute the discovery of the True Cross to Saint Helena, mother of Constantine the Great who went to Palestine during the fourth century in search of relics.
Eusebius of Caesarea was the only contemporary author to write about Helena's journey in his Life of Constantine.
But Eusebius did not mention the finding of the True Cross, although he dwelt heavily on the piety of Helena and the finding of the site of the Holy Sepulchre.
Texts that tell (and gradually elaborate) the story of the finding of the True Cross and its identification through a miracle date to the fifth century, and include writings by Socrates Scholasticus, Sozomen and Saint Theodoret.
Pieces of the purported True Cross, including the half of the INRI inscription tablet, are preserved at the ancient basilica Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome.
Very small pieces or particles of the True Cross are reportedly preserved in hundreds of other churches in Europe and inside crucifixes.