The Saint Dismas Cross is an idol depicting Saint Dismas, the Penitent Thief on a cross. Although it strongly resembles a crucifix, which is strictly a representation of Jesus, the figure is tied to the cross and lacks the crown of thorns. The cross is made of wood, painted blue and decorated with gold and silver inlay. The figure of Dismas and the ropes are metal. The inscription on the back of the cross reads, "Digna factis recipimus", translated as, "We receive the due rewards of our deeds." The phrase, taken from the Gospel of Luke, is what Dismas says to Gestas, the impenitent thief, after Gestas mocks Jesus.
Inside each cross is an illustration of a gravestone, featuring Henry Avery's insignia, dates of birth, and assumed death, as well as another Latin phrase, "Hodie mecum eris in paradiso", translated as "Today you will join me in Paradise". This quote is also from the Gospel of Luke, and is what Jesus replies to Dismas after Dismas asks Jesus to remember him in his kingdom.
Henry Avery made heavy use of the Saint Dismas motif, ostensibly to convince others that he was a reformed thief. Representations of Saint Dismas appear in various locations associated with Avery.
Around the time of his alleged death, Henry Avery created multiple Saint Dismas crosses and sent them to other wealthy pirate captains. The crosses acted as a sort of invitation, pointing potential recruits to the Saint Dismas Cathedral, where Avery set up multiple 'tests'.
Joseph Burnes, Avery's first mate, was in possession of a Saint Dismas cross when he was imprisoned (and presumably executed) in Panamá. He concealed the cross in a secret compartment in his cell, and etched multiple symbols on the cell walls. He wrote a final letter to his son Richard, describing his career as a pirate and expressing the hope that Richard would someday find the cross and "discover the riches of paradise." The letter included a drawing that would point to the location of the cross. In 1807, Joseph Burnes' grandson, Jonathan Burnes, found that same cross. He broke it open and removed the parchment inside, then put the now-hollow cross back in the wall.
One particular Saint Dismas cross was never used. By the twenty-first century, it was in the possession of the Estate of Sir Nicholas Trott. The cross was eventually put up for auction at the Rossi Estate.
A Thief's EndEdit
Nathan Drake found the first cross hidden in the old prison tower in Panamá. He concealed his find from Vargas, but later revealed it to Rafe Adler and Sam Drake. Rafe initially referred to it as a crucifix, but Nathan pointed out that crucifixes were specifically representations of Jesus on the cross, and the figure on this cross was not Jesus. They determined it was Saint Dismas from the inscription on the back of the cross. Sam summarized the role of Saint Dismas during the Crucifixion for Rafe, and explained that there is a Cathedral of Saint Dismas in Scotland, the last known place Henry Avery was seen.
The cross was briefly confiscated by Vargas when he broke up a fight between the three treasure hunters and a group led by Gustavo. In his office, he tossed the cross back to Nathan, clearly not fooled by Nathan's lame excuse that he was raised Catholic and always carried one. After pretending to renegotiate with Vargas, Rafe stabbed him to death, triggering the prison escape. Nathan and Rafe escaped with the cross, but Sam was shot and left behind.
Rafe bought the land around the Saint Dismas Cathedral with his parents' fortune, but failed to find anything. Nathan gave up the search for Avery's treasure, but held onto the Saint Dismas cross. Fifteen years later, Nathan still had the cross, tucked away in a box in his attic, along with his mother's journals and Sam's old jacket.
Sam unexpectedly turned up at Nathan's office, claiming he escaped prison with the help of Hector Alcazar, who has demanded that Sam find Avery's treasure. He showed Nathan a picture of another Saint Dismas cross, this one intact and going up for auction. They determined that Avery made multiple Saint Dismas crosses, and whatever was missing from the one in Panamá was likely still inside the second. Sam convinced Nathan to help him steal it from the auction, taking place at the Rossi Estate in Italy.
Sam, Nate, and Victor Sullivan infiltrated the Rossi Estate auction. The original plan was to steal it before the bidding started, but the lot order changed, and the cross was put out on display. Nathan snuck into the power room to turn the lights off, while Sam disguised himself as a waiter in order to swipe the cross before the backup power was to come on. Sully ran into Nadine Ross and Rafe Adler, who also wanted to procure the cross. Sully and Rafe engaged in a bidding war, with Rafe placing a top bid of five hundred thousand euros for it. Nathan shut off the power, and Sam snatched the cross, then they escaped the auction with Sully.
In their hotel room, Sam broke open the cross. After pranking Nathan (by acting like the cross was empty), he pulled out a roll of parchment stamped with Avery's insignia. The parchment had an illustration with Scottish gravestone icons, Avery's year of birth, and assumed year of death, as well as another quote from the Bible in Latin. Nathan realized they had to search for a gravestone matching the illustration at Saint Dismas Cathedral.