Cryptic Crosses, Mystery Medallions and Enigmatic Relics in Christian Churches

Cryptic Crosses, Mystery Medallions and Enigmatic Relics in Christian Churches

To the naked eye, they lie hidden in plain sight, but medieval artists hid cryptic messages in fresco’s, medallions and paintings and collected relics believed to have apotropaic qualities to ward off evil.  Were all of these artists sincere in their endeavors or did some mischievous soul take revenge on a colleague or difficult client by applying artistic license to have a little fun?

Mystery Medallion of St Benedict

Displayed in the Benedictine Monastery of San Benedetto da Norcia, in the town of Subiaco, just over half an hour from Rome, is a cross dedicated to St. Benedict, said to be embedded with apotropaic qualities - supposedly having the power to avert evil influences or to offer protection against the Prince of Darkness. A few acronyms that contain invocations to ward off evil are engraved on both sides of the cross.

Benedictine Monastery of San Benedetto da Norcia, in the town of Subiaco (Public Domain)

Benedictine Monastery of San Benedetto da Norcia, in the town of Subiaco (Public Domain)


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