The REAL Sword in the Stone Belonged to the RCC’s First Official Saint

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louis-garden / Wikimedia Commons

You saw the Disney movie as a kid. You may have read the book. But did you know some of it was based on real history?

While the story of King Arthur, Merlin, and all the rest may not be true, there really is a centuries-old sword stuck in a stone.

In the small Italian town of Chiusdino, there’s a small chapel near Saint Galgano Abbey known as Montesiepi chapel. And inside you’ll find a big slab of stone in the floor with the handle of a sword sticking out of it.

How did it get there? Well the story goes that in the 12th century there was a knight named Galgano Guidotti who, toward the end of his life, decided to retire as a hermit. He then had two mystical visions: in the first, the Archangel Michael said he would personally protect him; and in the second, he met the Twelve Apostles and God himself. When the second vision ended, he decided to commemorate the place with a cross. Since he had no other materials, he stuck his sword into the ground as a cross. Immediately, the ground hardened up around it and it’s been stuck there ever since.

Just four years after his death, Pope Lucius III started a formal canonization process that ended with Guidotti being declared a saint – the first such person to be declared a saint by a formal process of the Roman Catholic Church.

Apparently “countless people have tried to steal the sword. In the chapel you can see what are said to be the mummified hands of a thief that tried to remove the sword and was then suddenly slaughtered by wild wolves.”

Though the sword is in Italy, some people think it may have influenced the English legend of King Arthur.

Here’s another look at the sword in the stone:

Alexmar983 / Wikimedia Commons
Alexmar983 / Wikimedia Commons

Here’s what the outside of the chapel looks like:

Adrian Michael / Wikimedia Commons
Adrian Michael / Wikimedia Commons

And here’s a picture from inside the chapel:

louis-garden / Wikimedia Commons
louis-garden / Wikimedia Commons