Staurotheke of St. Sava of Serbia, Diocesan Museum in Pienza

Begin 01.01.1375
ID 133160
System Class
Artifact Staurotheke
Case Study Beyond East and West: Sacred Landscapes Duklja and Raška
Stylistic Classification Byzantine

Staurotheke of St. Sava of Serbia is today kept in the Diocesan Museum in Pienza.
Along with the Forerunner’s arm, the Despot of Morea Tomas Palaiologos relinquished it to Pope Pius II, who then donated it to Pienza.
The silver-gilt reliquary has the shape of a double-arm cross and is richly decorated with filigree, pearls and precious stones. The relic of the True Cross is accessible to view through two cruciform apertures sheltered by rock crystal. Besides exquisite crafsmanship the staurotheke carries a rather complex symbolism, common in this type of objects. Its handle bears a calligraphic repoussé inscription: ‘Sava, the first Serbian archbishopand patriarch’. The reliquary replaced an older one and has been reliably dated to the last quarter of the 14th century by style and workmanship, as well as by the title ‘patriarch’ attached to Sava of Serbia, which reflects the state of affairs after 1375, when the dispute between the Serbian and Byzantine churches caused by the former’s elevation to the rank of patriarchate was settled.


Staurotheke, St. Sava
Staurotheke, St. Sava