Depicted is a Orthodox icon | The Exaltation of the Cross. Bronze metal travel icon with two-toned enamel. Top part of the wing of a Tetraptych.
About the representation:
During the early days of Christianity, Emperor Hadrian sought to eradicate the venerated sites associated with the Passion of Christ. To achieve this, he ordered the construction of a temple dedicated to Venus and Jupiter atop Golgotha.
However, Bishop Makarios of Jerusalem, inspired by the divine appearance of the cross to Emperor Constantine before his victorious battle at the Milvian Bridge in 312, implored the emperor to dismantle the temple and uncover the location of Christ’s tomb. Undertaking this significant endeavor was Helena, the mother of Constantine.
In the year 326, Helena led the excavation efforts and successfully discovered the Holy Sepulcher. Close by, she unearthed the remnants of three wooden crosses, the nails used during the crucifixion, and the inscription tablet. In commemoration of these remarkable findings, the Church of the Resurrection, also known as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, was constructed upon this sacred site and consecrated on September 13, 335.
The subsequent day, September 14th, marks the celebration of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, which holds a revered place among the twelve solemn feasts in the Eastern Church calendar. It is during this occasion that Constantine and Helena are depicted lifting up the cross, symbolizing its exalted status.
The feast day of September 14th serves as a profound reminder of the discovery of the Holy Sepulcher, the unearthing of the precious relics related to Christ’s crucifixion, and the enduring significance of the cross in Christian faith and tradition. This annual observance allows believers to honor and reflect upon these pivotal events in the history of Christianity.