In 2019, archaeologists unearthed the oldest fort in Maryland, located in St. Mary’s City. The discovery led to a two-year excavation that revealed the historic St. Mary’s Fort, dated to 1634. Now, a rare 17th-century Caravaca cross has been found at the ruin, but it’s unclear how or why the Spanish styled cross found its way to the English American colonies.
Caravaca cross legend
This style of cross was developed in the Spanish city of Caravaca de la Cruz, which was named the fifth Holy City in 1998. In the 13th century, the city was occupied by the Moorish king Zeyt-Abuzeyt, who took an interest in the Christian faith.According to legend, he ordered a missionary priest named Don Gínes Pérez Chirinos de Cuenca to demonstrate the procedure of consecration.
Don Gines was reluctant, as only the faithful were generally present for such holy matters, but he eventually agreed and gathered all he needed: an altar draped in a pall cloth, bread, and wine. One thing he was missing, however, was a cross. While Don Gines explained this to the king, a pair of angels flew through the window and placed the Caravaca cross on the altar.
Sanctuario de la Vera Cruz
Spanish tradition claims this cross was made from the True Cross, on which Jesus was Crucified. It is housed in Sanctuario de la Vera Cruz, where it is venerated in perpetual jubilee. The Caravaca cross is a patriarchal cross in design, which features two cross-bars instead of one. On a Caravaca crucifix, the arms of Christ are nailed to the uppermost bar, which makes it different from Orthodox patriarchal crosses.