Byzantine Enkolpion Reliquary Cross

£ 300.00

A Byzantine bronze enkolpion reliquary cross featuring a hinged base and a suspension loop for wear. The front is decorated with the incised image of Mary displayed in the Orans position in prayer, with the halo surrounding her head. Above her, written in Greek, is the inscription ‘Mother of God’, abbreviated from Μήτηρ (του) Θεοῦ to MH ΘΥ above. Depicted on the reverse is the figure of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Date: Circa 10th - 12th century AD
Condition: Fine, barrel-shaped suspension missing, otherwise intact.


Product Code: BS-05
Category: Tags: , ,

Such a cross, also known as an enkolpion, could have been worn as a pectoral cross, which, during the Middle Ages, was an attribute of bishops. Throughout the centuries a great number of crosses were made to hold a secondary relic in them containing pieces of saints’ clothing, pieces of the True Cross or hair fragments, and so on. Crosses offered protection to the wearer and would have been available all over the Byzantine Empire.

To learn more about Byzantine crosses, please visit our relevant blog post: Enkolpion Crosses in the Byzantine Empire.

Dimensions H 7 cm


Christian Ideology

Christ, Virgin Mary


Southern Europe

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