Relic of the True Cross, Waterford City

True Cross Relic Waterford
True Cross Relic Waterford

This relic of the True Cross is associated with Christchurch Cathedral in Waterford city. It consists of a silver, double-armed cross that contains five pieces of cedar wood. On the reverse is a Latin inscription, in Lomardic capitals, which identifies the relic as wood from the true cross: LIGNVM DE VERA (CR)UCE.

It is held within a later, 17th century, display case that is fashioned out of silver and bronze and shaped like a lancet window. Around the edge of the case is a Latin inscription which reads, ‘This piece of the wood of the Most Holy True Cross belongs to Cathedral Church of the Most Holy Trinity Waterford. Jesus Mary 1620′ (Floinn 2004, p. 30).

However, the actual relic of the cross is considerably earlier and the Lombardic inscription can be dated to the 12th century. This may lend some credence to the tradition that the relic was gift to the Cathedral by Muirchertach Ua Briain, king of Munster who had received it around 1110 AD from Pope Paschal II (ibid, p. 30).

The cross can now be viewed at the Museum of Treasures, Waterford city.


Floinn, R. 2004 ‘Relic of the True Cross’ in McEneaney, E. & Ryan R. (eds) Waterford Treasures, M.Y. Gallaghers, Waterford, p.30

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