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Archeologists unearth a thousand-year-old encolpion cross in ancient fortress of Almus near Bulgaria's Lom

Photo: BTA

An encolpion cross came to light during archaeological investigations of the ancient Almus fortress in Bulgaria's town of Lom situated on the Danube River. The cross is about 1,100 years old and was made during the reign of Tsar Simeon the Great (from 893 to 927), according to the head of the excavations Dr. Vladislav Zhivkov from the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the BAS. 

This type of crosses appeared in late Antiquity - around the 5th century AD. They were hollow in the middle. Relics of saints or pieces of the holy cross were placed in them, it was believed that in this way they guarded the bearer of the cross, says Dr. Vladislav Zhivkov, quoted by BTA.

The discovered encolpion on the territory of the Almus fortress is in a stratum covered by a former fire. It will be restored in a laboratory, and only then will it become clear whether it still keeps fragments of a saint's relics inside. If such are found, they will be handed over to an Orthodox church in Lom.

Similar crosses have been found near the village of Yakimovo, close to Lom, as well as in the then capital of the first Bulgarian state, Veliki Preslav. The former capital is also the likely place where the two crosses from Lom and Yakimovo were made, scientists assume.

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