The cross is a sacred emblem of the Christian faith. It has a deep and sacred meaning for the Christian world. It is a symbol of redemption, signifying Christ’s death on the cross for man’s sins.
The cross was rarely seen during the first three centuries of Christianity. Descriptions of the cross are found in Christian writings from the early 2nd century on. The cross first became prominent in Christianity during the 3rd Century.
The cross is often shown in different shapes, sizes and styles. It may be used in personal jewelry or on top of church buildings. Crosses are a prominent feature in Christian cemeteries, either carved on gravestones or as sculptures. The cross has been used daily since before Christ. It has been used in performing sacred acts of the Church such as the sacrament. Crosses were put up to mark the graves of heroes, kings and bishops during the Middle Ages. They were often set up in market places. In some ceremonies, members of the clergy and worshipers trace the shape of a cross with a hand or certain fingers. A cross on a staff is carried in processions. Churches and cathedrals were often built with the floor plan in the shape of a Latin cross.
Various Christian groups have adopted different styles of crosses. The Latin cross is supposed to be the kind of cross on which Jesus died. It has a long upright pole and crosspiece fastened to it near the top. The Greek cross, or The Cross of Saint George, has four arms of the same length. This cross is also used with the cross of Saint Andrew to form the British Union Jack. In this flag, the Cross of Saint George stands for England, and the Cross of Saint Andrew stands for Scotland. The Maltese cross has eight sharp points. It was the emblem of a certain order of knights of the Middle Ages.
For the first 300 years after the death of Christ, Christians, fearing persecution by the hostile Roman government, rarely displayed the cross in public. During the early middle Ages, Christian artists made crosses as symbols of the Christian belief in the Resurrection of Christ. Many of these portrayed Christ wearing priestly clothes and a royal crown. Later the sufferings of Jesus were emphasized in crucifixes. A crucifix is a cross with an image of the dying Christ.
The crucifixion of Jesus caused Christians to regard the cross with reverence. Since apostolic times the cross has had a prominent place in Christianity. Early Christians prayed with their arms extended to represent Christ on the cross and the use of the sign of the cross can be traced back to the 3rd century. The earliest references to the use of the crucifix were made by writers of the 6th century.
The Latin cross is supposed to be the kind on which Jesus died. It has a long upright pole and a crosspiece fastened to it near the top. It has a shorter horizontal bar intersecting a longer vertical bar above the mid point.
The Greek cross has four arms of the same length. Another name for the Greek cross is the Cross of Saint George.
The Maltese cross has eight sharp points. It was used by a certain order of knights of the Middle Ages as their emblem.
Several flags have crosses, including all the nations of Scandinavia, whose crosses are known as Scandinavian crosses and many nations in the Southern Hemisphere, which incorporate the Southern Cross. The Flag of Switzerland since the 17th century has displayed an equilateral cross in a square, the Red Cross emblem was based on the Swiss flag. The flag of Georgia displays four Jerusalem crosses on the background of St George cross.
The Crux, or Southern Cross, is a cross shaped constellation in the Southern Hemisphere.
The tallest cross, which stands 500 feet tall, is part of Francisco Franco’s monumental “Valley of the Fallen”, in Spain.
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