The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of July 14, 2024

Fragment of a Processional Cross

Fragment of a Processional Cross

c. 1050
Overall: 32.3 x 44.8 x 5.7 cm (12 11/16 x 17 5/8 x 2 1/4 in.)
Location: 105 Byzantine

Did You Know?

Byzantine processions were a feast for the senses. Imagine the scent of sweet and spicy incense wafting through the air, mingling with the sound of sacred chants as priests carry this cross in a procession during the service.


Impressively large and elaborately embellished, the cross to which this fragment belonged was likely carried in liturgical processions. The central medallion on its front depicts Christ, flanked by medallions showing the Virgin and Saint John the Baptist. Together they form the Deesis, a powerful Byzantine image formula evoking these saints’ intercession with Christ on behalf of mankind. In the central medallion on the cross’s back is Saint Sabas, founder of an important monastery near Jerusalem, in whose honor the cross was made. He is surrounded by other monastic saints, thus indicating that the cross was likely used by a monastic community.
  • Evans, Helen C., and William D. Wixom. The Glory of Byzantium: Art and Culture of the Middle Byzantine Era, A.D. 843-1261. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997. Mentioned: p. 60-61; Reproduced: p. 61
    Cleveland Museum of Art, and Holger A. Klein. Sacred Gifts and Worldly Treasures: Medieval Masterworks from the Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland, Ohio: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2007. Mentioned and reproduced: P. 80-81, no. 22
    Boehm, Barbara Drake and Melanie Hocomb, eds. Jerusalem, 1000-1400: Every People Under Heaven. NY: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. 89
  • Every People Under Heaven: Jerusalem, 1000–1400. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY (organizer) (September 19, 2016-January 8, 2017).
    Sacred Gifts and Worldly Treasures: Medieval Masterworks from the Cleveland Museum of Art. National Museum of Bavaria, Munich, Germany (May 10-September 16, 2007); J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA (October 30, 2007-January 20, 2008); Frist Art Museum, Nashville, TN (February 13-June 7, 2009).
    The Glory of Byzantium. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (organizer) (March 3-July 6, 1997).
    Washington D.C., Dumbarton Oaks: "Byzantine Figural Processional Crosses" September 23, 1994--January 29, 1995, exh. cat. no. 2. pp 68-75, fig. 26.
  • {{cite web|title=Fragment of a Processional Cross|url=false|author=|year=c. 1050|access-date=14 July 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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