The shape and iconographic content of this cross mirror those of Byzantine encolpia made in the 10th – 12th centuries. On the front there is a three-figure version of the icon “Resurrection – Descent into Hell”. In the center, over the crushed gates of hell, stands the Savior, holding in His left hand the invincible weapon, an eight-pointed cross, and stretching out His right hand to the kneeling Adam. To the left of Christ one can see Eve in prayer.
The host of the righteous, who usually surround Adam and Eve, is absent, along with the other details that are intended to demonstrate the triumph and majesty of Easter and can be seen on large icons in churches. In this reading, the icon becomes a personal focal point. The hand of the Saviour stretched out toward our forefathers is also stretched out to ourselves, to anyone willing to follow Christ.
Such compositions depicting the Resurrection were widely used by jewellers in Byzantium when creating individualized sacred items. The top of the cross bears the Greek columnar inscription “+Н АНАСТАСИС” (which stands for “Resurrection”, H being the feminine article).
On the back in the center there is a round medallion with a four-pointed cross and the inscription І&С Х&С НИКА, or “Jesus Christ – victory”. This inscription was introduced by Emperor Constantine and is the most ancient to be used on crosses. It complements the image of the cross on Orthodox Communion bread and is present on many Orthodox cross pendants. Etched along the circumference of the medallion there is an inscription that reads: КрcтY ТвоемY покланz1емся влdко и3 ст7о1е воскрcніе Твое2 сла1вимъ (“We bow before Your Cross, O Lord, and praise Your Holy Resurrection”).