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Important silver reliquary theca with Passion relic of the True Cross of Jesus Christ

Historically important ca. 1800 oval glass-fronted silver reliquary pendant housing a relic of The True Cross of Christ, presumably used to cure the sick and for exorcism. The particles of the Wood from the True Cross are arranged in a cruciform shape on a ground of red silk and surrounded by gilt paperolle ornamentation. On the back, behind the hinged protective panel, the reliquary is secured by a seal of red Spanish wax with a coat of arms of Monsignor Bernardino Honorati (†1807), a Cardinal-Priest of Santi Marcellino e Pietro in Rome and an important Vatican official who served as Referendary of the Apostolic Signatura and a Relator of the Sacred Congregation of Good Government. The reliquary is enclosed in a silver pendant-case with a hinged lid that is engraved with the following inscriptions:

Front: ET VERBUM CAROFACTUMEST. ("And the Word became flesh". [John 1:14])
Reverse: ESSE + CRUSEM DOMINI FUGGITE PARTES ADVERSAE ("Behold the Cross of the Lord! Be gone all evil powers!" (Motto of St. Anthony))


John 1:14 is one of the most important verses in the Bible that reads: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” The Word did not just appear to be human; the Word became flesh. This assertion stunned the Greek mind for whom the separation of the divine spirit and the mundane world was an axiom of belief. But the second phrase is equally stunning for the Jew. This Word dwelt  among us and revealed his glory. This verb for dwelling is employed in the Greek Old Testament for the tabernacle of God.


Popular tradition tells us that Saint Anthony gave a prayer to a poor woman who sought help against the temptations of the devil. Pope Sixtus V, a Franciscan, engraved this prayer, which is also known as the ‘Motto of St. Anthony’, at the base of the obelisk he erected in St. Peter's Square in Rome.

Here it is in the original Latin:

Ecce Crucem Domini!
Fugite partes adversae!

Vicit Leo de tribu Juda,
Radix David! Alleluia!


Behold the Cross of the Lord!
Be gone all evil powers!

The Lion of the tribe of Judah,
The root of David has conquered! Alleluia!

This prayer is a short exorcism that can be used to to help in overcoming temptations.

A relic of the Wood from the True Cross is considered one of the most sacred and powerful relics in Christianity. Its use in a Catholic exorcism holds deep spiritual significance within the context of the Catholic faith. The relic of the True Cross is often employed as a symbol of Christ's ultimate triumph over evil and as a source of divine protection and intervention. The exorcist may hold the relic or use it to make the sign of the cross, invoking the name of Christ and the power of His sacrifice. This act is believed to repel the malevolent forces and demons afflicting the possessed individual. The relic is a tangible connection to the redemptive power of Christ's sacrifice, serving as a reminder of His victory over sin and darkness. Its presence in the exorcism ritual underscores the belief that through faith and prayer, the forces of evil can be cast out and the person being exorcised can find deliverance and healing.

Additional Info

  • ID#: 277-RSCR-5
  • Size: he theca 38 x 33 mm, case: 42 x 37 mm, t
  • Age: ca. 1800
  • Origin: Vatican
  • Materials: silver, glass, paper, silk, Spanish wax
  • Price: Price upon request
  • Silver
  • Orthodox Cross


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