Preserved in the niche of the monstrance, in front of a painted miniature of Jerusalem, is a particle of the Cross. The cruciform relic is enclosed in a receptacle of rock crystal and gold, und bears a diamond crown. Around the niche is a wider border of enamelled scrollwork, bands of garnets and large chrysolites. The tall stand, resembling a candlestick in form, is decorated in similar, albeit less ornate fashion. The particle of the cross had been in the possession of the Habsburgs for generations, and was then entrusted to Empress Eleonora (of the House of Gonzaga), widow of Emperor Ferdinand III, for the duration of her lifetime by her stepson, Emperor Leopold I. In February 1668, parts of the Hofburg were destroyed in a huge fire, and the Empress, who was only rescued with difficulty, was forced to abandon the relic to the flames. Five days afterwards, the particle of the cross was found undamaged in the wreckage of her bedchamber, although its gold receptacle had melted. In devout gratitude, Empress Eleonora founded an order for noblewomen, the aims of which were the veneration of the Cross and the exercise of charity. The Empress awarded the members gold crosses surrounded by four diamond star with the motto "Salus et Gloria" (salvation and glory). These crosses were called "star crosses" and the order the "Order of the Star Cross", after the Italian name crociera for the heavenly constellation of the Southern Cross.
Silber, vergoldet, teilweise emailliert, teilweise bemalt, Goldfolie, Diamanten, Granate, Chrysolithe, Amethyste, Türkise, Opal, Bergkristall, Achate, Karneol, Emailmalerei
53,5 cm × 21,4 cm × 8 cm
"Salus et Gloria"
Wr. Repunze 1806/07; Wr. Befr. stempel 1809/10
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Geistliche Schatzkammer
Schatzkammer, GS D 25