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Posted - 18 Jul 2007 :  07:45:15  

If you click on any of the images in this post, you will get the larger version.
Below is a photograph of what I believe to be an antique reliquary made of brass, and about 4cm square with an opening at the top. It belongs to a Greek Orthodox family in Imvros.

Front of object:

What is of particular interest to me is the image on the reverse (pictured below).

Back of object:
It appears to be the image of the "Mystical Cross" with the Spear and Reed which appears on the "Great Schema" or "Analavon" worn by Orthodox Christian monks who have reached the highest grade of "Schemamonk".
Several things make me think that the image on the back of this object was used as a seal (and therefore, the image is reversed). If you flip the image horizontally, you get the mirror image which looks like this:

Reversed image:

Although reversing the image makes the letters "Κ" and "Ρ" appear correctly, however, the letter "Ν" is reversed. Either way, the last letter at the bottom of the reversed image appears to be the monogram for the diphthong "ου", which, I am told, neither occurs in Slavonic nor Coptic Icons. So I am pretty sure it is Greek.

The trouble is, no one so far has been able to interpret for certain what the letters stand for. I have a theory that the "K" stands for "καλάμων" and the "Λ" stands for "Λόγχη", but I would be happier with this theory if they were written at the same level. I also think the "N" and "A" at the top may be all that remains of the word "NIKA" as in "IC XC NIKA". But the rest of it is a mystery. Normally, at the base of the Mystical Cross, you find the letters: "ΤΚΠΓ" which stand for "Τοπος Κρανιου Παραδεισος Γεγονε", however, the letters at the base of the Cross in this instance have me baffled.
Can anyone help?


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