The True Cross of Anatolia was discovered in the ruins of a Roman era church in the area known as Anatolia. Comprising much of what is today the Republic of Turkey; it is the westernmost portion of Asia Minor and is bordered by the Black Sea to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. The peninsula was divided into 24 provinces during the later period of the Roman Empire. These provinces were grouped into dioceses which together formed part of the "praetorian prefecture" (administrative district) of the East. Headquartered in Constantinople, it comprised the larger part of the Eastern Roman Empire.
In 324 AD, the first Christian Emperor of Rome, Constantine the Great, came to power and assumed control of the empire. Sometime around 325 – 326 AD, he order that a temple erected to the goddess Venus on the site of Jesus's crucifixion be removed and instructed Saint Marcarius, Bishop of Jerusalem, to build a church on the site. During 326 – 328 AD, Constantine's mother, the Empress Saint Helena, journeyed to the Holy Land on a mission to establish churches and create relief agencies for the poor. During her time in the Holy Land, she had the site under the temple excavated and it is there she is reported to have discovered the Cross of Jesus.
Saint Helena had the cross cut into three sections which she sent Jerusalem, Rome, and Constantinople. Smaller sections of the cross were reportedly sent to key church sites throughout the Empire. Like she did with the section left in Jerusalem, it is likely that Saint Helena would have encased the other sections of the True Cross in silver. It is natural that sections of the True Cross were sent to Anatolia. The region's connection with Christianity goes back to the very foundations of the faith and it was where many of the Apostles themselves preached and established churches.
The church where the True Cross of Anatolia resided in was destroyed by an earthquake sometime in the fourth century AD. The relic was removed from the rubble and has been protected, though largely forgotten, by the Russian Orthodox Church. It is now under the protection of the Russian Orthodox Church in America with the aid of Knights of the True Cross, a chivalric order dedicated to helping hospitalized children and protecting this important section of the Cross of Christ.
Copyright © 2018 Dynastic Order of the Green Cross - All Rights Reserved.