|Byzantine Canterbury Cross
This replica of the unusual Byzantine Canterbury
Cross is available as a pendant in both sterling
silver and gold. The original of this cross was
discovered in 1867 on St. Georges Street,
Canterbury, England. The smooth triangular forms
that decorate each arm of the cross combined with
the geometric center, add an oddly modern touch
to this ancient piece of art. Its triangular
panels show an Eastern influence not so unusual
when you consider the year of its origin, 850 A.D.
Constantinople was so revered at that time, prior
to the Great Schism of the Church in 1054, that
even the people of faraway England copied aspects
of Byzantine art. There in Constantinople, were
the sacred relics, such as the true cross and the
Virgins girdle, that all Christians wished
to come and worship. Furthermore, the Byzantine
Empire itself was idolized for its riches, culture
and sophistication. Interestingly, the first Archbishop
of Canterbury, Theodore from Tarsus in Asia Minor,
was a Greek. The Byzantine Canterbury Cross was
originally cast in bronze, but it appears just as
uniquely beautiful in one of the more precious metals.
Wear it to honor the common origins of all Christianity
or simply because it is a handsome piece of Christian
All of Europe yearned to emulate the styles of the
sophisticated Byzantine Empire during the early
Middle Ages. Hence this 11th century cross found
in the tomb of Queen Christine of Denmark(1545-1590)
shows the Byzantine influence with its prominent
top bar. The piece you see here is a perfect model
of the original two-sided cross. On the back is
an image of the Virgin Mary with Greek letters meaning
mother of God. Greek letters are seen
also on the front reading Jesus
Christ, King of Glory, conquers from top
to bottom. The design of this lovely cross is simple,
with a delicate outline and tiny decorative circles
accentuating the curved background of the crucifix.
Queen Christine remained a fervent Catholic at a
time when Lutheranism was overtaking Denmark. Who
knows how much this antiquated crucifix might have
meant to her, found as it was in her grave? You
wear a piece of history when you wear this Christine
This eleventh century cross was found around the
neck of Queen Dagmar of Denmark who was born around
1189 A.D, when her grave was opened in 1690. She
was married only briefly to Valdemar II (the Victorious)
before she died, but he is remembered as one of
Denmarks greatest kings. Legend has it that,
after he was victorious in battle, a red cloth with
a white cross fell from the sky. This became the
national flag of Denmark. The Dagmar Cross is historically
a Catholic cross, however, associated with a Danish
queen, it has become a favorite cross of the primarily
Lutheran people of Scandinavia, and is now thought
of as a Lutheran cross. Germans, also are fond of
this cross because Queen Dagmar was born in Bohemia.
This intricate cross is in the Byzantine style,
as so much of Middle Ages art was, and features
five images enclosed in circles on the front. The
face of Jesus is in the middle, surrounded by the
John the Baptist and St.
John Chrystostom, the golden-tongued.
The back of the Dagmar cross shows Christ crucified.
This sterling silver, intricately-worked cross makes
a beautiful pendant, especially meaningful for someone
of Danish or German ancestry.
The skull featured at the bottom of this Byzantine
style cross classifies it as a Golgotha cross. The
skull represents Adam who,
according to tradition, was buried there at Golgotha.
Christ became the new Adam, and by dying on the
cross, saved the first Adam and all of mankind.
Three crossbars are evident, as in all Byzantine
crosses, the top one representing the placard put
above Jesuss head by Pilate, the center one
where Christs hands were nailed and the bottom
crosspiece where his feet were nailed. No one knows
why the bottommost crossbar is slanted but legend
has it that it points upward to the good thief,
Dysmas, and down toward the bad thief. Another tradition
states that the slanted foot bar is in emulation
of St. Andrews cross. The Greek letters meaning
Jesus Christ are seen on either side of the middle
crossbar. This little cross, created with such detail
and meaning, makes a wonderful pendant in either
sterling silver or gold.
This intricately worked ancient Byzantine Greek
Orthodox crucifix is known as the Irene cross after
Saint Irene, a beloved saint of the Orthodox Church.
Irene was picked to wed the twelve-year-old Emperor
Michael of Constantinople, but before she could
reach the palace, another wedding took place. She
was filled with joy at the news because a hermit
had told her she would spend her life serving God
in a convent. She sold all her slaves and belongings
and joined the Chrysovolantou Convent, eventually
becoming its abbess. She led an exemplary life for
102 years and many healings were attributed to her
both during her life and after her death. This crucifix
shows a raised image of Jesus within a simple cross
outline, which lies against a decorated curved cross
background. The intricate ornamentation surrounding
the crucifix highlights its simplicity.
|Russian Orthodox Cross
This Russian Orthodox cross is not modeled on the
three bar cross as so many Russian crosses are.
There is no slanted footrest. The focus of the pendant
, the cross within a cross is in fact so simple
as to be almost Protestant. However the Byzantine
influence is evident in the trio of curves at each
end of the cross. This cross is further decorated
with the Greek letters IC and XC signifying Jesus
Christ and NI and KA meaning "conquers".
It comes in both silver and gold and is one of the
simplest versions of the Russian Orthodox cross
that you will find.
|St. Olga Cross
This cross, named after St. Olga, possibly the first
Russian saint, consists of a dark and plain St.
Andrews cross against a curved gold or silver
background cross. St. Olga was born in the late
ninth century and married to the Grand Duke Igor
in 903A.D. She was baptized a Christian in 957A.D.
and tried to convince her son to Christianize Russia.
Her wish was eventually fulfilled by her grandson,
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