Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Processional Cross

6th century, with modern restoration
Made in Antioch or Kaper Koraon (?)
Silver, mounted on wood
Overall: 60 5/8 x 40 1/2 x 2 in. (154 x 102.9 x 5.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1950
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 300
One of the largest early crosses to survive, this severely simple work is part of the Antioch Treasure displayed in the case to the left. Crosses were carried in church processions. In Syria, monumental crosses were also prominently mounted in churches, before the altar.

Inscribed on the face of the cross is the Trisagion, or thrice-holy hymn, sung at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy: “God is Holy, the All-Powerful is Holy, the Immortal is Holy.” Some believe that the refrain was developed in Antioch; its first recorded chanting was by the bishops of Antioch at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. On the back of the cross is the proud statement of its donation “in fulfillment of a vow of Herodotos and Komitas, [sons] of Pantaleon.”
Inscription: Side 1: "God is Holy, the All-Powerful is Holy, the immortal is Holy, Have mercy on us." Side 2: "In fulfillment of a vow of Herodotos and Komitas (sons) of Panteleon."
From Roman Syria, possibly Antioch or Kaper Koraon; Kouchakji Frères, Paris (sold 1950)
The Dark Ages: Loan Exhibition of Pagan and Christian Art in the Latin West and Byzantine East. Worcester, Mass.: Worcester Art Museum, 1937. no. 82, pp. 35–36.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Guide to the Collections: Medieval Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1962. fig. 10.

Kondoleon, Christine. Antioch: The Lost Ancient City. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000. no. 105, p. 216.

Hunter-Crawley, Heather. "The Cross of Light: Experiencing Divine Presence in Byzantine Syria." In Experiencing Byzantium: Papers from the 44th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, Newcastle and Durham, April 2011, edited by Claire Nesbitt, and Mark Jackson. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2011. pp. 181-183, fig. 10.2.

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