Rare Antique C.18-19th Century Large "old Believers" Orthodox "skull" Cross
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Rare Antique C.18-19th Century Large "old Believers" Orthodox "skull" Cross :
Authentic antique large (over 2" long with bale) Orthodox Cross pendant featuring the traditional "Old Believers" plain and humble right-angled design with image of the three-bar Savior's Cross flanked with the Instruments of the Passion over the skull (Adam's head), words of the Orthodox prayer based on Psalm 68 of David the King inscribed on the reverse, and large solid necklace bale. Origin likely c. 18th - 19th century Russia. The Cross appears to be hand-made from bronze or similar copper alloy with relatively high copper content (evident from reddish color). It is mildly worn off according to its age, with small deformations, dents and scratches, and covered with patches of dark patina/oxidation. The size of the pendant is shown on the photographs.
The obverse bears an image of the three-barSuppedaneum cross. The Byzantine three-bar cross is 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.The top end of the vertical crossbarincorporates the larger, two-word, abbreviated inscription meaning"KING OF GLORY" used in the Eastern Orthodox pectoral crosses as a nameplate in their top part.The side ends of the central horizontal crossbar bear the Sacred Name of Jesus Christ inscribed as the Greek Christogram, as the "IC" on the left, and the "XC" on the right.
Parallel to the vertical crossbar, there are images of the two Instruments of the Passion (Arms of Christ, Arma Christi), the Holy Lance (spear, marked as "K" for the Church Slavonic "Kopiye") of a Roman soldier, and the Holy Sponge attached to the end of a cane (marked as "T" for the Church Slavonic "Trost"). They are subjects to adoration along with the Cross, and are often depicted on the Byzantine-style "Golgotha" crosses worn as Baptism, body crosses for the entire life of a faithful Christian.
Just below the central horizontal crossbar, there is the "NIKA" inscription in Church Slavonic (as "NI" on the left and "KA" on the right side) meaning the "VICTORY" of Christ over sin and death.
A 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 also symbolizing the ultimate victory of Christ over sin and death.
In the bottom end of the vertical crossbar, there is a four letter abbreviation in Cyrillic letters"МЛРБ"("MLRB") meaning "The CALVARY (Golgotha) BECAME PARADISE", a symbol of the execution place becoming a place of the redemption and reclaiming of the lost paradise.
The reverse bears an abbreviated version of Psalm 68 in Church Slavonic meaning"MAY GOD ARISE AND MAY HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED...". The words of the prayer are worn off, but identifiable. This psalm-based prayer is traditionally inscribed on the reverse of the Old Believers' Orthodox body (Baptism) cross pendants, meaning to provide protection of the faithful cross-bearer against the evil spirits (God's enemies), and thereby is considered a version of the Exorcism prayer.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 original 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.