Rare 17-18th Century Orthodox "old Believers" Cross With "sun Wheel" Symbols
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Rare 17-18th Century Orthodox "old Believers" Cross With "sun Wheel" Symbols:
Unique, beautifully preserved, antique Orthodox pectoral Cross pendant featuring a traditional early "Old Believers" plain and humble right-angled design, with images of the three-bar Cross over the skull (Adam's head) flanked by the Instruments of the Passion, the crescent, or half-moon symbol known as "Tsata" in the center, an ancient Byzantine symbol of Christ as both the King and the High Priest, and ancient "Sun Wheel" circular symbols similar to the pagan Slavic "Kolovrat" symbols incorporated in the crossbar ends. Handmade, cast from bronze or similar copper alloy, covered with patches of green- to brown patina from the past centuries. The Cross is mildly deformed (bent) and worn off according to its age, with some superficial scratches and small dents. Origin likely c. 17th to 18th century Imperial Russia. The size of the pendant is shown on the photographs for this listing. Authentic antique symbol of Orthodox Christianity.The obverse of the cross pendant bears an image of the three-barSuppedaneum cross venerated in the Eastern Orthodox and some Eastern Catholic churches. Such a cross has three horizontal crossbeams: the top one represents the "INRI" nameplate, and the bottom one, a footrest.The footrest crossbeam is depicted pointing up, toward Heaven, on Christ's right hand side where the Penitent thief, St. Dismas was crucified.
Thecenter of the cross bears a crescent, or half-moon symbol known as "Tsata". It is a traditional, ancient Byzantine symbol of Christ as both the King and the High Priest.
Parallel to the vertical crossbar, there are images of the two Instruments of the Passion (Arms of Christ, Arma Christi), the Holy Lance (spear) of a Roman soldier, and the Holy Sponge attached to the end of a cane or a stick. They are subjects to adoration along with the Cross, and are often depicted on the Byzantine-style "Old Believers" crosses worn as baptism, body crosses by Orthodox Christians. The Instruments are depicted making a "V" shape and bent into the horizontal crossbar of the Cross pendant (a feature of earlier "Old Believers" artistic design of crosses).
The top and side crossbar endsbear a symbol known as "Sun Wheel" or "Sonnenrad", an ancient Norse, Celtic, and Slavic pagan symbol of the Sun. It was often inscribed on wooden monuments built near the burial sites of fallen Slavic warriors to symbolize the Eternal Life. This symbol could be found on pottery, embroidery and other artifacts in most Slavic countries. In Russia, a similar symbol was known as "Kolovrat" (meaning "Spinning Wheel").
The ornaments incorporate smaller abbreviated inscriptions in Church Slavonic.The top end of the vertical crossbarbears anabbreviated inscription meaning"KING OF GLORY" used in the Eastern Orthodox pectoral crosses as a nameplate in their top part.The inscriptions in the side ends of the central horizontal crossbar represent the Sacred Name of Jesus Christ inscribed as the Greek Christogram, as the "IC" on the left, and the "XC" on the right.
A small, symbolic image of the skull, or Adam's head, below the image of the Suppedaneum cross refers to Golgotha (Calvary), the elevated site where Jesus was crucified, which the Bible says means "the place of the skull" in Hebrew. An ancient tradition of Catholic and Orthodox Churches held that it was also the burial place of Adam, thus symbolizing the ultimate victory of Christ over sin and death.
The bottom end of the vertical crossbar just below the skull image bears a four-letter Cyrillic abbreviation "MLRB" meaning "THE PLACE OF THE SKULL BECAME PARADISE", a symbol of the execution place becoming a place of the redemption and reclaiming of the lost paradise.
The reverse is decorated with a sophisticated ornament incorporatingtext of
a small fragment of the Prayer before the Holy Cross in Church Slavonic meaning: "
THE CROSS IS KEEPER OF ALL UNIVERSE...".
Please examine all photographs carefully and do your own research if necessary. Please note that photographs are an important part of the item's description. The U.S. quarter coin, decorative stone, and measuring meter are not for sale, and are photographed with the item in order to provide a size reference.Please ask all questions before making a purchase.There are no guarantees with the listing because most items are authentic vintage or antique objects that are quite old. All items are sold "as is" with no returns because of a change of mind offered. Shipping and handling is free for the continental US. International buyers, please ask me for a shipping quote prior to buying.Please note that customs regulations differ from country to country, and it is a buyer's responsibility to ensure that any customs fees or other duties collected by the buyer's country are paid and satisfied in full.