This Orthodox cross, also known as the Russian or Byzantine cross, is crafted from bronze, brass, yellow-toned metal, and copper. The cross is distinctive with a spear and hyssop stem. It carries the inscription: “King of Glory, Jesus Christ, Son of God,” proudly proclaiming the divine lineage of Christ.
On the back of the cross, although not entirely clear due to time-worn inscriptions, it likely features the biblical passage from Psalm 68:1/2: “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; And let those who hate Him flee before Him.”
The Orthodox cross has a unique design, featuring two horizontal beams and one inclined one. This design stems from the Latin cross, but with specific symbolism. The uppermost, shorter horizontal arm symbolizes the titulus board that bore the Latin inscription INRI, an acronym for Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum, which translates to “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” This was the title placed above Jesus during his crucifixion.
The longer, middle cross arm’s function was to hold the arms of the person being crucified. This is a common feature in representations of the crucifixion.
The third, lower cross arm, set at an angle, represents the suppedaneum. This was a footrest or support provided to those being crucified, and it’s a distinct feature of the Orthodox cross design.
Unfortunately, the inscriptions on this area have significantly faded over time, making it challenging to decipher the original writings.