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Spectacular French Reliquary Monstrance with a Relic of the True Cross of Christ

Spectacular highly ornate Louis XVI style gilt- and silvered-bronze reliquary monstrance decorated with cherubs, garlands, and floral ornamentation housing precious relic of the True Cross. The relics are arranged in the cruciform format on a red silk background surrounded by gilt paperolle ornamentation and identified on a typeset paper cedula label as Vera Crucis (The True Cross). On the back, under the protective cap, the reliquary is secured by a seal of red Spanish wax with an imprint of a coat of arms of Monsignor Hyacinthe-Louis de Quéle (+1839), the Archbishop of Paris (1821-1839).

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 among the knights; who, after their return to the homeland, donated them to churches and monasteries.

 

Additional Info

  • ID#: 18-RSSR-2
  • Size: Height: 13 1/2 inches (34 cm)
  • Age: ca. 1820s-1830s
  • Origin: France
  • Materials: gilt ans silvered bronze, glass
  • Price: Price upon request
  • Orthodox Cross
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