True Cross Relic


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Renovated Antique Reliquary

A few years ago I was able to obtain an antique reliquary containing a relic of the True Cross from Belgium. It came from a Carmelite monastery in Ghent that had recently been liquidated. I believe it is now a micro brewery and bed and breakfast. Anyway, the brass reliquary appeared to have never been cleaned or polished since it was made in the 1850s. The item is huge, 22 inches tall and quite heavy. I took the reliquary to a local electroplating business here in El Paso and had it cleaned, polished and plated with 24 karat gold. I recently got the reliquary back from the electroplater and wanted to show it off. The 'gem stones' had to be removed for the plating process and I replaced them after the plating was complete. They appear pink in the intense natural sunlight of the photo but are actually a deep blood red in color.

The theca containing the relic was another problem. While in nearly perfect condition, the papers and other decor inside had browned with age and were coming loose, making the actual relic of the cross almost impossible to see. A few weeks ago another relic of the True Cross arrived from Belgium and the contents are much more vivid and do not show the effects of age, making it much more suitable for public veneration.

Closeup of the reliquary before it was cleaned and plated.

The final result. Quite a difference.

Closeup of the final result.

Closeup of actual relic.