Dąbrowska E. Coronation reliquary of Polish kings

Modified Date
Published Date:
Title of the article Coronation reliquary of Polish kings
Authors Dabrowska, Elzbieta — Professor emeritus, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Sciences, PL-02-582 Warszawa, ul. Wiktorska, 69 m.13, Warszawa, Poland, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
In the section Commentarii / Commentary
Year 2014 Issue 2 Pages 5-15
Type of article RAR Index UDK 94(438).03 Index BBK 63.3 (0)4
Abstract The paper describes the history of a Holy Cross reliquary: which in the years 1340–1668 was kept in the treasury of the Polish kings at Wawel in Cracow and used during the coronation ceremonies. The relic has the form of a double cross built of many different wood pieces and set in a sheet of gold with an inscription in Greek “Jesus Christ nailed to the cross, he who elevated the humankind, inscription made by Manuel Komnenos Laurel Bearer”.

King John II Casimir Vasa, after abdicating in 1669, unlawfully took it out of the royal treasury and carried away to France. After the king’s death, by the way of following legacies, the reliquary found its way into the possessions of the Benedictine Abbey Saint-Germain des Prés in Paris. There it was placed inside of a special silver altar containing „Instruments of the Passion”. During French Revolution, in 1793, this reliquary was confiscated and melt down. The relic itself was saved though and kept safe. Presently it is found in the treasury of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

In all probability the reliquary was captured in Lviv, in 1340, together with the treasury of the Dukes of Halych, by the Polish king Casimir. Still under discussion is the identification of Manuel Komnenos ― who is either brought in connection with the Byzantine emperor Manuel I Komnenos (1143–1180) or with the emperor of Trebizond Manuel I Komnenos (1238–1263), while the epigraphic analysis of the inscription as well as the entirety of the historical context speak for the ruler of Constantinople. To the Halych Ruthenia the reliquary of the Holy Cross came probably as a customary gift related to dynastic marriages.

Keywords reliquary, Holy Cross, Manuel I Komnenos, coronation, Halych
Full text version of the article. Article language Russian
  • Augė,Isabelle. Byzantins, armėniens & francs au temps de la croisade: politique religieuse et reconquete en Orient sous la dynastie des Commènes [Byzantine, Armenian & francs at the time of the Crusades: religious and political reconquest in the East under the dynasty of Commènes]. 1081–1185. Paris: Gauthner, 2007. 417 p. (in French).

    Dąbrowska, Elżbieta. Królów polskich relikwiarzkoronacyjny [Coronation reliquary of Polishkings], in Kultura średniowieczna i staropolska. Studia ofiarowane Aleksandrowi Gieysztorowi w pięćdziesięciolecie pracy naukowej. Warszawa: PWN, 1991. P. 67–87 (in Polish).

    Dąbrowska, Elżbieta.Deux notes sur la croix appartenant a Manuel Comnene [Two notes on the cross belonging to Manuel Comnene], in Cahiers de civilisation mėdiėvale. 1997. Vol. 40. P. 253–259 (in French).

    Dąbrowska, Elżbieta.Jeszcze o relikwii Krzyża Świętego i relikwiarzu koronacyjnym królów polskich [Once again on the Holy Cross relic and the reliquary of the Polish kings], in Kwartalnik Historyczny. 1993. Vol. 100. P. 3–13 (in Polish).

    Dąbrowska, Elżbieta. La relique de la Vraie Croixappartenant á Manuel Comnene [The reliquaryof the True Cross belonging á Manuel Comnene], inBulletin de la Sociėtė nationale des antiquaires de France. 1987. P. 93–109 (in French).

    Dąbrowski, Dariusz. Rodowód Romanowiczów książąt halicko-wołyńskich [The lineage of Romanovitchs’ — dukes of Halych-Volhynia]. Wrocław: Wydawnictwo Historyczne, 2002. 347 p.

    Derwich, Marek. Pacyfikał koronacyjny królów polskich [The coronation Pacificale of Polish kings), in Kwartalnik Historyczny. 1991. Vol. 98. P. 3–20 (in Polish).

    Durand, Jannic. La Vraie Croix de la princesse Palatine au trėsor de Notre-Dame de Paris. Observations techniques [The True Cross of the Princess Palatine treasure of Notre-Dame de Paris. technical comments], inCahiers archeologiques. 1992. Vol. 40. P. 139–146 (in French).

    Durand, Jannic. Croix de la princesse Palatine [Cross the Princess Palatine] in Byzance. L ‘art byzantin dans les collections publiques française. 1992. Nr. 340. P. 444–445 (in French).

    Dworzaczek, Włodzimierz. Genealogia [Genealogy]. Warszawa: PWN,1959. 181 p. (in Polish)

    Jurewicz, Octawiusz. Andronik I Komnenos [Andronick I Kommnin]. Warszawa: PWN, 1962. 176 p. (in Polish).

    Frolow, Anatol. La relique de la Vraie Croix [The reliquaryof the True Cross]. Paris: Institut francais d’études byzantines,1961. 695 p. (in French)

    Grala, Hieronim.Drugie małżeństwo Romana Mścisławowicza[The second marriage of Roman Mstislavich], in Slavia Orientalis. 1982. Vol. 31. P. 115–127. (in Polish).

    Halecki, Oskar. La Pologne et l ‘empire byzantinin [Poland and the empire Byzantinin] in Byzantion. 1932. Vol. 7. P. 54–60 (in French).

    Janicki, Marek. Królów polskich relikwiarz koronacyjny additamenta [Coronation reliquary ofPolish kings additamenta], in Dąbrowska, Elżbieta. Groby, relikwie i insignia. Warszawa: IAE, 2008. 376 p. (in Polish)

    Joinville, Jean de. La Vie de saint Louis [The Life of St. Louis]. Quebec: Sherbrocke Naaman,1977.326 p. (in French)

    Karpov, Sergey. Istoriia Trapezundskoi Imperii [History of the Trapezund Empire]. St. Peterburg: Aletieja, 2007. 618 p. (in Russian).

    Kerbl, Raimund.Byzan­tinische Prinzessinnen in Ungarn zwischen 10501200 und ihr Einfluss auf das Arpadenkōnigreich[Byzantinische princesses in Hungary between 10501200 and their influence on the Kingdomof the Arpads].Wien: Verband der wissenchaftlichen Geselschaften, 1979. 158 p. (in German).

    Magdalino, Paul; Nelson, Robert.The Emperor in Byzantine art of the twelfth century, inByzantinische Forschungen. 1982. Bd. 8. S. 123–183.

    Magdalino, Paul. The Empire of Manuel I Komnenos, 1143–1180. Cambridge: Cambridge Univertsity Press, 1994. 557 p.

    Maiopov, Alexander. Rus’, Bizantiia i Zapadnaia Evropa [Rus’, Byzantium and Western Europe]. St.-Petersburg: Dmitrij Bulanin, 2011. 790 p. (in Russian).

    Moravcsik, Gyula. Byzantion and the Magyars. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1970. 147 p.

    Moravcsik, Gyula. Pour aliance byzantino-hongroise [About Byzantine-Hungarian aliance], inByzantion. 1931. Vol. 8. P. 555–568 (in French).

    Morrisson, Cécile.Catalogue des monnaies byzantines de la Bibliothèque Nationale [Byzantine coins catalog of the National Library].T. 2. Paris: Bibliothéque Nationale,1970. 845 p. (in French).

    Treitinger, Otto. Die Oströmische Kaiser- und Reichsidee im höfischen Zeremoniell [The Eastern Roman emperors and imperial idea in the ceremonial court]. Darmstadt: H. Geutner, 1956. 274 p. (in German).

    Treu, Kurt. Byzantinische Kaiser in den Schreibernotizen griechischer Handschriften [Byzantine Emperor in the notes of Greek manuscripts], in Byzantinische Zeitschrift. 1972. Bd. 65. S. 9–34 (in German).

    Vasiliev, Alexander.The foundation of the Empire of Trepizond (1204–1222), in Speculum. 1936. Vol. 9. P. 3–37.

    Vernadskij, Georg.Relations byzantino-russes du XlIe siècle [Byzantine-Russian relations in the 12th century] in Byzantion, 1927–1928. Vol.4. P. 269–279 (in French).


Tags: Halych, coronation, Manuel I Komnenos, Holy Cross, reliquary