Email from Michael's team describing the early history of the Lance.
The Discovery of the Holy Lance
- Version of Raymond d'Aguiliers
And so, as we said, when our men were in a panic and while they were on the verge of despair, divine mercy was at hand for them; and that mercy which had corrected the children when they were wanton, consoled them when they were very sad, in the following way. Thus, when the city of Antioch had been captured, the Lord, employing His power and kindness, chose a certain poor peasant, Provençal by race, through whom He comforted us; and He sent these words to the Count and Bishop of Puy:
"Andrew, apostle of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ, has recently admonished me a fourth time and has commanded me to come to you and to give back to you, after the city
the Lance which opened the side of the Saviour
. Today, moreover, when I had set out from the city with the rest to battle, and when, caught between two horsemen, I was almost suffocated on the retreat, I sat down sadly upon a certain rock, almost lifeless.
When I was reeling like a woebegone from fear and grief,
St. Andrew came to me with a companion, and he threatened me much unless I returned the Lance to you quickly."
And when the Count and Bishop asked him to tell in order the apostolic revelation and command, he replied: "At the first earthquake which occurred at Antioch when the army of the Franks was besieging it, such fear assailed me that I could say nothing except 'God help me.' For it was night, and I was lying down; nor was there anyone else in my hut to sustain me by his presence. When, moreover, the shaking of the earth had lasted a long time, and my fear had ever increased, two men stood before me in the brightest raiment.
The one was older, with red and white hair, black eyes, and kindly face, his beard, indeed, white, wide, and thick, and his stature medium; the other was younger and taller, handsome in form beyond the children of men. And the older said to me 'What doest thou?' and I was very greatly frightened because I knew that there was no one present. And I answered, 'Who art thou?'
"He replied, 'Rise, and fear not; and heed what I say to thee. I am Andrew the Apostle. Bring together the Bishop of Puy and the Count of St. Gilles and Peter Raymond of Hautpoul, and say these words to them: "Why has the Bishop neglected to preach and admonish and daily to sign his people with the cross which he bears before them, for it would profit them much?"' And be added, 'Come and I will show thee the Lance of our father, Jesus Christ, which thou shalt give to the Count. For God has granted it to him ever since he was born.'
"I arose, therefore, and followed him into the city, dressed in nothing except a shirt. And he led me into the church of the apostle of St. Peter through the north gate, before which the Saracens had built a mosque. In the church, indeed, were two lamps, which there gave as much light as if the sun had illuminated it. And he said to me, 'Wait here.' And be commanded me to sit upon a column, which was closest to the stars by which one ascends to the altar from the south; but his companion stood at a distance before the altar steps.
Then St. Andrew, going under ground, brought forth the Lance and gave it into my hands.
"And he said to me 'Behold the Lance which opened His side, whence the salvation of the whole world has come.'
"While I held it in my bands, weeping for joy, I said to him, 'Lord, if it is Thy will,
I will take it and give it to the Count!'
"And be said to me 'Not now, for it will happen that the city will be taken. Then come with twelve men and seek it here whence I drew it forth and where I hide it,' And he hid it.
"After these things had been so done, he led me back over the wall to my home; and so they left me. Then I thought to myself of the condition of my poverty and your greatness, and I feared to approach you. After this, when I had set forth for food to a certain fortress which is near Edessa, on the first day of Lent at cockcrow,
St. Andrew appeared to me in the same garb and with the same companion with whom he had come before, and a great brightness filled the house. And St. Andrew said 'Art thou awake?'
"Thus aroused, I replied 'No, Lord; my Lord, I am not asleep?
"And be said to me 'Hast thou told those things which I bade thee tell some time ago?'
"And I answered 'Lord, have I not prayed thee to send some one else to them, for, fearful of my poverty, I hesitated to go before them?'
"And be said 'Dost thou not know why the Lord led you hither, and how much He loves you and why He chose you especially? He made you come hither (to rebuke) contempt of Him and to avenge His people. He loves you so dearly that the saints already at rest, foreknowing the grace of Divine arrangements, wished that they were in the flesh and struggling along with you.
God has chosen you from all peoples
, as grains of wheat are gathered from the oats. For you excel in favor and rewards all who may come before or after you, just as gold excels silver in value.'
"After this they withdrew, and such illness oppressed me that I was about to lose the light of my eyes, and I was arranging to dispose of my very meagre belongings. Then I began to meditate that these things bad justly befallen me because of my neglect of the apostolic command. Thus, comforted, I returned to the siege. Thinking again of the handicap of my poverty, I began to fear that if I went to you, you would say that I was a serf and was telling this for the sake of food; therefore, I was silent instead.
And thus in the course of time, when at the Port of St. Simeon on Palm Sunday I wa lying down in the tent with my lord, William Peter , St. Andrew appeared with a companion. Clad in the same habit in which he had come before, be spoke thus to me, 'Why hast thou not told the Count and Bishop and the others what I commanded thee,
"And I answered 'Lord, have I not prayed thee to send another in my place who would be wiser and to whom they would listen? Besides the Turks are along the way and they kill those who come and go.'
"And St. Andrew said 'Fear not that they will harm thee.
Say also to the Count not to dip in the river Jordan when he comes there, but to cross in a boat; moreover when he has crossed, dressed in a linen shirt and breeches, let him be sprinkled from the river. And after his garments are dry, let him lay them away and keep them with the Lance of the Lord.' And this my lord, William Peter, heard, though he did not see, the apostle.
"Thus comforted, I returned to the army. And when I wanted to tell you this, Icould not bring you together. And so I set out to the port of Mamistra. There, indeed, when I was about to sail to the island of Cyprus for food, St. Andrew threatened me much if I did not quickly return to you and tell you what had been commanded me. And when I thought to myself how I would return to camp, for that port was three days distant from the camp, I began to weep most bitterly, since I could find no way of returning.
At length, admonished by my lord and my companions, we entered the ship and began to row to Cyprus. And although we were borne along all day by oar and favoring winds up to sunset, a storm then suddenly arose, and in the space of one or two hours we returned to the port which we had left. And thus checked from crossing a second and a third time, we returned to the island at the Port of St. Simeon. There I fell seriously ill. However, when the city was taken, I came to you. And now, if it please you, test what I say."
The Bishop, however, thought it nothing except words; but
the Count believed it and handed over the man that had said this to his chaplain, Raymond, to guard.
Our Lord jest;
Christ appeared on the very night which followed to a certain priest named Stephen, who was weeping for the death of himself and his companions, which he expected there.
For some who came down from the fortress frightened him, saying that the Turks were already descending from the mountain into the city, and that our men were fleeing and had been defeated. For this reason the priest, wishing to have God witness of his death; went into the church of the Blessed Mary in the garb of confession and, after obtaining pardon, began to sing psalms with some companions.
While the rest were sleeping, and while he watched alone, after having said, "Lord, who shall dwell in tabernacle, or who shall rest in Thy holy hill?" a certain man stood before him, beautiful beyond all, and said to him, "Man, who are, these people that have entered the city?"
And the priest answered "Christians."
"Christians of what kind?"
"Christians who believe that Christ was born of a Virgin and suffered on the Cross, died, and was buried, and that He arose on the third day and ascended into heaven."
And that man said "And if they are Christians, why do they fear the multitude of pagans?"
And he added, "Dost thou not know me?"
The priest replied I do not know thee, but I see that thou art most beautiful of all."
And the man said, "Look at me closely."
And when the priest intently scrutinized him, he saw a kind of cross much brighter than the sun proceeding from his head. And the priest said to the man who was questioning him, "Lord, we say that they are images of Jesus Christ which present a form like thine."
The Lord said to him, "Thou hast said well, since I am He. Is it not written of me that I am the Lord, strong and mighty in battle? And who is the Lord in the army?"
"Lord," replied the priest, 1here never was in the army but one Lord, for rather do they put trust in the Bishop."
And the Lord said, "Say this to the Bishop, that these people have put me afar from them by evil doing, and then let him speak to them as follows: 'The Lord says this:
"Return to me, and I will return to you. And when they enter battle, let them say this 'Our enemy are assembled and glory in their own bravery; destroy their might, O Lord, and scatter them, so that they may know that there is no other who will fight for us except Thee, 0 Lord,' And say this also to them 'If ye do whatever I command you, even for five days, I will have mercy upon you!"'
I moreover, while He was saying this, a woman of countenance radiant beyond measure approached and, gazing upon the Lord, said to him, "Lord, what art thou saying to this man?'
And the Lord said to her, "I am asking him about these people who have entered the city, who they are."
Then the Lady replied, "O , my Lord, these are the people for whom I entreat thee so much."
And when the priest shook his companion who was sleeping near him, so that he might have a witness of so great a vision, they had disappeared from his eyes.
However, when morning came the priest climbed the bill opposite the castle of the Turks, where our princes were staying, all except the Duke, who was guarding the castle on the north hill. And thus, after assembling a gathering, he told these words to our princes, and, in order to show that it was true, be swore upon the Cross. Moreover,
wishing to satisfy the incredulous, he was willing to pass through fire, or to jump from the top of the tower.
Then the princes swore that they would neither flee from Antioch nor go out, except with the common consent of all; for the people at this time thought that the princes wanted to flee to the fort. And thus many were comforted, since in the past night there were few who stood steadfast in the faith and did not wish to flee. And bad not the Bishop and Bohemund shut the gates of the city, very few would have remained.
Nevertheless, William of Grandmesnil fled, and his brother, and many others, cleric and lay. It befell many, however, that when they had escaped from the city with the greatest danger, they faced the greater danger of death at the hands of the Turks.
At this time very many things were revealed to us through our brethren; and we beheld a marvelous sign in the sky, For during the night there stood over the city a very large star, which, after a short time, divided into three parts and fell in the camp of the Turks.
Our men, somewhat comforted, accordingly, awaited the fifth day which. the priest had mentioned. On that day, moreover, after the necessary preparations, and after every one had been sent out of the Church of St. Peter,
twelve men, together with that man who had spoken of the Lance, began to dig.
There were, moreover among those twelve men the
Bishop of Orange, and
Raymond, chaplain of the Count,
who has written this, and the
Count himself, and
Pontius of Balazun, and
Feraldus of Thouars.
And after we had dug from morning to evening, some began to despair of finding the Lance. The Count left, because he had to guard the castle; but in place of him and the rest who were tired out from digging, we induced others, who were fresh to continue the work sturdily. The youth who had spoken of the Lance, however, upon seeing us worn out, disrobed and, taking off his shoes, descended into the pit in his shirt, earnestly entreating us to pray to God give us His Lance for the comfort and victory of His people.
At length, the Lord was minded through the grace of His mercy to show us His Lance. And I, who have written this, kissed it when the point alone had as yet appeared above ground.
What great joy and exultation then filled the city I cannot describe. Moreover
the Lance, was found on the eighteenth day before the Kalends of July.
On the second night, St. Andrew appeared to the youth through whom he had given the Lance to us and said to him
"Behold, God has given to the Count that which he never wished to give to anyone and has made him standard-bearer of this army, as long he shall continue in His love."
When the youth asked mercy from him for the people, St. A drew replied to him that verily would the Lord show mercy to His people. And, again, when he asked the same saint about his companion, who it was he had so often seen with him, St. Andrew answered, "Draw near and kiss His foot."
And so, when he was about to draw near, he saw a wound on His foot as fresh and bloody as if it had just been made. When, however, he hesitated to draw near because of the wound and blood, St. Andrew said to him:
"Behold, the Father who was wounded on the Cross for us, whence this wound.
The Lord likewise commands that you celebrate that day on which He gave you His Lance. And since it was found at vespers, and that day cannot be celebrated,
celebrate the solemn festival on the eighth day in the following week , and then each year on the day of the finding of the Lance. Say, also, to them that they conduct themselves as is taught in the Epistle of my brother, Peter, which is read today."
(And the Epistle was this: "Humble yourselves under the mighty band of God.") "Let the clerics sing this hymn before the Lance:
Lustra sex qui jam peracta tempus inplens corporis. And when they shall have said,
Agnus in cruce levatus immolandus stipite, let them finish the hymn on bended knees."
When, however, the Bishop of Orange and I, after this, asked Peter Bartholomew if he knew letters, he replied, "I do not," thinking that if he were to say I do , we would not believe him. He did know a little; but at that hour be was so ignorant that he neither knew letters nor had any remembrance of the things be had learned from letters, except the
Paternoster, Credo in Deum, Magnificat, Glory in Excelsis Deo, and
Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel. He had lost the others as if he had never heard them, and though he was able afterwards to recover a few, it was with the greatest effort.
August. C. Krey,
The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants, (Princeton: 1921), 176-82