Mark W. Brown Nestorian Cross Collection

is one of the Library’s Special Collections

The Mark W. Brown Nestorian Cross Collection is the second largest collection of such crosses in the world and the largest in America. Nestorian Christianity derived its name from Nestorius, a patriarch of Constantinople who was tried for heresy by the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD. It spread eastward from Syria along the Silk Road into China and down into southern India. Dr. Mark Brown, alumnus of Drew Theological Seminary and Drew’s first Ph. D. recipient (1930), was a missionary in North Central China and Professor of Systematic Theology at the Peking Theological Seminary. While he was in China in the 1930s, he collected Nestorian crosses dating from the Yuan Dynasty (1260-1368). These crosses were given to Drew University by Mrs. Brown as a memorial collection for her husband. They are bronze and can each be held in one’s hand. Many are cross shaped, but one can also find other forms including birds, fish, and square and star shapes.

The collection is available to be viewed online. Please click here to access.

The Nestorian Cross Collection is available for research. Please contact for more information.