Archive for March, 2021

Trisagion Processional Cross from 6th-century Syria

Above is my reconstruction of what the original processional cross may have looked like. You can see that all that remained of the ancient cross was the right arm (on the left as you view it) and about ¾ of the bottom. The Trisagion (Thrice Holy) Hymn, first attested to in the mid-5th century, is inscribed on the cross. The hymn is a supplication to the Trinitarian God; “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.” It is still chanted in every Orthodox Divine Liturgy service. The text is uncial (or majuscule) Greek; all uppercase letters, no spacing between words, no diacriticals. This was the standard until the 9th century. It is inscribed in the order that an Orthodox person holding the cross would cross themselves: top to bottom, right shoulder to left.

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