Description:This Bronze Cross, showing the Virgin Mary praying in the orans position, was hand forged during the Middle Ages in the cradle of Christianity, the Byzantine Empire. In AD 324, the first Christian Roman Emperor Constantine the Great transferred the Eastern Roman Empire capital to Byzantium, which became Constantinople, known as "New Rome". The Byzantine Empire became centered on the capital of Constantinople and was ruled by Emperors in direct succession to the ancient Roman Emperors. With the eventual decline of Rome, the Church of Constantinople became the richest and most influential center of the Christian world.
The reign of Justinian the Great in 527-565 marked a blossoming of Byzantine culture with a building program that yielded such masterpieces as the Cathedral Church of the Holy Wisdom of God, Hagia Sophia. Justinian, who is considered a Saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church, created the authority of this Church, which firmly established Christianity throughout the Empire. This Byzantine Empire would exist for more than a thousand years until 1453 and was one of the most powerful economic, cultural, and military forces in Europe and Asia Minor. This one of a kind cross was surely worn by a Byzantine citizen as a statement of faith during this amazing age of early Christendom.