Archaeology in Bulgaria reports that a solid gold Christian reliquary purported to contain particles of the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified has been uncovered in a medieval church in Trapesitsa Fortress.
The church is the twenty-third discovered to date within the fortress, which is located in north-central Bulgaria and dates to the thirteenth century—the pinnacle of the Second Bulgarian Empire. The cross-shaped reliquary dates to the late twelfth century, and measures about four inches long and two inches wide. It was found by a team led by Konstantin Totev of Bulgaria’s National Institute and Museum of Archaeology behind the church’s altar in a small chamber made of mortar, and is thought to have been placed there as a holy relic when the church was consecrated. The top of the altar itself was adorned with images of three crosses and inscriptions reading “Tsar of Glory,” “Christ,” and “Christ Wins” in Old Bulgarian. Two additional crosses were also recovered from under the floor of the church. One is thought to have been used in processions, and the phrase “Jesus Christ Wins” was inscribed on the other.