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Cross

  • Place of origin:

    Russia (made)

  • Date:

    1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver-gilt and wood

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Colonel Waldo Sibthorp

  • Museum number:

    1927-1898

  • Gallery location:

    Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 83, The Whiteley Galleries, case 6B

This type of cross is particularly favoured in the Russian Orthodox church. The bar at the top represents the ‘titulus’ (the inscription that was placed above Christ’s head when he was crucified) and the oblique bar below indicates the rest that supported his feet.

The figures on either side are the Virgin Mary, St Mary Magdalene, St John the Evangelist and St Longinus, the Roman soldier who converted to Christianity on witnessing the Crucifixion. Below is St Nicholas and above are two angels and a cherub.

Physical description

Crucifix of silver-gilt, "repousse" and engraved, on a wooden foundation; the figures at the sides represent the Virgin Mary, St Mary Magdalene, St John the Evangelist, and St. Longinus; St Nicholas appears below, and two angels and a cherub above. The cross has two transverse bars and a third oblique crosspiece below; above the figure of Christ is the inscription IC XC, and the other figures are also distinguished by inscriptions. The lower part of the cross is ornamented with flowers in relief and the sides and back with engraved floral scrollwork. At the top is a wire ring.

Place of Origin

Russia (made)

Date

1800 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Silver-gilt and wood

Dimensions

Height: 13.3 in, Width: 6 in

Historical context note

The Eastern Churches
The history of the church around and beyond the eastern Mediterranean is complex. The earliest eastern churches were established in Antioch, Alexandria and other cities in the 1st century. They were independent communities and theological controversy sharpened their differences.

In 330 Constantinople (now Istanbul) became the capital of the Roman empire. Successive bishops of Constantinople, later given the title of patriarch, gradually won authority over other eastern churches, despite the opposition of the pope. Churches that accepted the jurisdiction of the patriarch became known as Orthodox, but others, including those of Armenia and Ethiopia, developed along separate lines. Diversity of practice and doctrine in the eastern churches is reflected in the different kinds of regalia and sacred silver. Yet some forms such as the chalice are common to all, indicating a shared core of beliefs.

Descriptive line

Silver and wood, Russia, ca.1800

Labels and date

Cross
This type of cross is particularly favoured in the Russian Orthodox church. The bar at the top represents the 'titulus' (the inscription that was placed above Christ's head when he was crucified) and the oblique bar below indicates the rest that supported his feet.

The figures on either side are the Virgin Mary, St Mary Magdalene, St John the Evangelist and St Longinus, the Roman soldier who converted to Christianity on witnessing the Crucifixion. Below is St Nicholas and above are two angels and a cherub.

Russian, about 1800. Silver gilt and wood
Museum no. 1927-1898. Given by Colonel Waldo Sibthorp [22/11/2005]

Materials

Silver; Gold; Wood

Categories

Christianity; Metalwork; Religion

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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