Byzantine Reliquary Cross Fragment


A bronze fragment of a Byzantine reliquary cross, known as an enkolpion. It depicts a crucified Jesus Christ, arms outstretched upon the cross. He wears a collobium, a sleevless garment, and a halo shines around his drooping head. To the top of the fragment a sun and moon have been engraved in relief. Chris is situated between the figures of the Virgin Mary and St John, a Greek inscription beneath each outstretch arm. Remnants of the suspension hoop and hinge to the top and bottom respectively.

Stand not included with object. Supplied with a black frame as alternative display method.

Date: Circa 9th - 10th century AD
Condition: Very fine. Originally part of a whole piece.


The Greek inscriptions reads ΙΔΕΟUCCOU IΔΟUCΜΗΡCOU. Transliterated into English this read IDEOUSSOU IDOUMETERSO and translates as ‘Behold thy son, Behold thy Mother’. This inscription refers specifically to the Bible verse, John 19.26-7. Jesus, dying upon the cross, addresses his faithful disciple John and his mother, Mary, asking that they behold one another as mother and son. The reverses of such enkolpia would often feature the Virgin Mary, surrounded by the four evangelists – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

To disocver more about Byzantine art, please visit our relevant blog post: The Byzantine Empire, Art and Christianity.

Weight 34 g
Dimensions L 8.2 x W 5.5 cm
Christian Ideology

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Reference: For similar: The British Museum, London, item 1985,0305.1