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1744 Documented reliquary with important relic of the True Cross of Jesus Christ

Spectacular Baroque glass-fronted silver cruciform reliquary housing significant relic from the Wood of the True Cross of Jesus Christ. The substantial relic consisting of three separate large pieces is identified on a bicolor manuscript cedula label as De Ligno SS Crucis (from the Wood of the Most Holy Cross). On the back, the reliquary is secured with a perfectly preserved seal of red Spanish wax bearing an imprint of a coat of arms of Fr. Francesco Pettorelli Lalatta (†), Bishop of Parma (1760- 1788). The relic is accompanied by the original matching authentics document issued and signed by Fr. Pettorelli Lalatta in 1744. This item is suitable for both private and public veneration by all Christian denominations. 

Translation of the document from Latin:

FRANCESCO PETTORELLI LALATTA

Domestic prelate of our Most Holy Lord the Pope and assistant by the grace of God and the Apostolic See, Bishop of Parma.

To each and everyone about to inspect our letter we make this pledge and we attest that pieces of the wood of the Holiest Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ have been enclosed in a small silver cross; decorated around with a silver wire; tied with a silken cord, red in color; and secured by our small seal impressed in red Spanish wax; recognized and approved in this Curia by our rite; and given over through Our power for the purposes of keeping to itself, giving to another, and of publicly exhibiting in whatever Church one may wish for the veneration of those faithful to Christ. 

Dated and signed from the location of the holy visit of Langhirano, 7 July 1774.

The True Cross is the name for physical remnants which, by the Church tradition, are believed to be from the cross upon which Jesus was crucified. Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine, the first Christian Emperor of Rome, traveled to the Holy Land in 326–28, where she discovered the hiding place of three crosses that were believed to be used at the crucifixion of Jesus and of two thieves, St. Dismas and Gestas, executed with him, and a miracle revealed which of the three was the True Cross. Fragments of the Cross were broken up, and the pieces were widely distributed; in 348, in one of his Catecheses, Cyril of Jerusalem remarked that the "whole earth is full of the relics of the Cross of Christ." Most of the very small relics of the True Cross in Europe came from Constantinople after the city was captured and sacked in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade. They were carved up by the present bishops and divided with other very precious relics.

Additional Info

  • ID#: 200-RSCR-225
  • Size: 155 x 123 mm (4 3/4 x 6 inches)
  • Age: ca. 1774
  • Origin: Parma, Italy
  • Materials: silver, glass, silk
  • Price: Price upon request
  • Silver
  • Orthodox Cross
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