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Spectacular French silver reliquary monstrance with relics of the True Cross of Jesus Christ

19th-century French cruciform  reliquary monstrance made of ebony wood decorated with hallmarked solid silver fleur-de-lis finials and housing a theca with particles from the wood from the True Cross of Jesus ChristThe relics are displayed in a  glass-fronted removable theca placed in the center of the reliquary and surrounded by a cruciform micromosaic depicting the Instruments of Passion (Arma Christi). The theca is secured by an undisturbed seal of red Spanish wax with an imprint of a coat of arms of the Order of Friars Minor.

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#: 44-RSSR-2
  • Size: 17 1/2 inches (44 cm) high
  • Age: ca. 19th century
  • Origin: France
  • Materials: ebony wood, silver, tessera, glass, Spanish wax
  • Price: Price upon request
  • Silver
  • Orthodox Cross
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