The cross, that can still be opened and closed, is composed of two bronze boxes with were molded and joined by hinges. A thick suspension ring enabled the encolpion to be worn as a pendant.
Like it is usually the case, this reliquary cross (encolpion in Greek) bears two Christian icons, which can be identified by the inscriptions: the Virgin, as the Mother of God (main side), is accompanied by St. Stephen, one of the most significant figures of the time, visible on the other side. The circular area carved on Mary’s breast would have contained an inlaid decoration (glass or semi-precious stone), which would have represented the Christ. All decorations were incised in highly stylized manner.
According to a well-documented practice during the Middle Ages, these crosses were intended to contain a relic (a fragment of the cross, soil, fragments of the physical remains or personal effects of a saint, or that had been in contact with his person) that the faithful always carried around with them, like a sort of talisman.