Ancient Russian Orthodox Cross Pendant

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Ancient Russian Orthodox Cross Pendant with ancient Greek prayer on back
Solid brass
18th-19th century
Moscow Region, Russia

This beautifully preserved ancient Orthodox Cross pendant is a great example of the intricate manufacture of the Russian Orthodox Crosses that adorned much of Russian for centuries. The loop of the pendant is strong and firm.

The Russian Orthodox Cross is a variation of the Christian cross in which there are three horizontal crossbeams with the lowest crossbeam slanted downward. 

The top crossbeam represents the INRI template. The second crossbeam represents the beam in which a person has his hands tied or nailed in crucifixion and the lowest, tilted beam is where the feet rest, lengthening the torture and pain. The lowest beam points up to Heaven on Jesus' right side where St. Dismas, the Penitent thief was crucified. 

At the top of the cross is an abbreviation meaning "King of Glory." Two Instruments of the Passion bookend the cross -- the Holy Lance is on the left and the Holy Sponge is on the right. Adam's head is buried beneath the cross (this part is slightly worn out) referring to the Golgotha, or the Calvary, where Jesus was crucified.  

This cross was first introduced before the Great Schism in 1551 during the isolation of the Russian Orthodox Church when Ivan the Terrible--the Grand Prince of Moscow--began to put the symbol on church domes with the lowest beam downward instead of upward as had been done by the Byzantine empire for one thousand years. 


Size: 1.75 x .81 x .06 inches

Weight: < 1oz.