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Mar 31, 2021 352 Shalom Tidings
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Touched by Blood

You might be familiar with the centurion who pierced the side of Jesus as the Lord hung on the Cross. According to some traditions and legends that soldier was named Longinus, a name that first surfaces in the apocryphal gospel of Nicodemus. The soldier is not named in the canonical gospels.

According to the legends, after enduring wounds in past battles, Longinus was cruelly mocked by his fellow soldiers for his near blindness. At the moment he pierced the Lord’s side, blood spattered onto his eyes. Immediately his sight was restored.  In the Gospel of Saint Mark we hear him exclaim, “Indeed, this was the son of God!”

Tradition also tells us that Longinus left the army, took instruction from the apostles and became a monk in Cappadocia. There he was arrested for his faith, his teeth forced out and his tongue cut off. However, Longinus miraculously continued to speak clearly and managed to destroy several idols in the presence of the governor. The governor, who was blinded by the demons that escaped from the idols, had his sight miraculously restored by Longinus.

As Longinus was beheaded, some of his blood splattered onto the governors’ eyes and the governor was instantly healed. Saint Longinus is one of the first martyrs of the Church. His spear is one of the many relics associated with Christ and can be found in one of the four pillars over the main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica.

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