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The Christian Cross , Variations Part II

CopticFrom St. Andrew’s cross to the ankh, mankind has created a wealth of religious symbols that have furthered the many international and historic faiths of the world. In this article, you will explore information that highlights the historic background of the Calvary Cross, as well as discuss a cross with Egyptian origins that once paid homage to the Sun God.

Calvary Cross: When it comes to the calvary cross, you will encounter one that showcases stepped features or one that embodies a Gothic-style cross that often appears mounted on a base that is shaped to appear like Mount Golgatha , the location where Christ was crucified. Oftentimes, the Virgin Mary and Saint John are seen on the base or positioned on the crossarms.

Located outside of the ancient city of Jerusalem, it was the early part of the 1st century that presented the walls, were Jesus is believed to have been crucified. Through ancient writings, the exact location was passed on throughout the years. In this day and age, Calvary or Golgotha is not as prominent in the minds of religious scholars as it once had been. Depending on the tradition you come across, you may even see some Christians and Jews referring to the location as the place where the skull of Adam resides.

Canterbury Cross: This particular cross is a common symbol for Anglican and Episcopal churches, possessing four arms (all of the same length), which widens into the shape of a hammer at the outside ends. Each of the arms possesses a panel (shaped like a triangle), which is inscribed in what is known as a ‘triqueta’ pattern , another way of referring to a knot with three corners. At the center of the cross, you will find a small square panel.  

Consecration Cross: When a church undergoes its consecration, this cross represents one of 12 symbols that is painted on the walls to mark the occasion. This particular dedication is observed when something special takes place, usually within religious circles.

Coptic Cross: Take a look at the original Coptic cross and you will see that its origin is closely connected to the Coptic ankh, which has religious ties to ancient Egypt. However, early Christian Gnostics are known to have adopted this symbol as their own.

Today, the Coptic cross serves as a symbol for Coptic Orthodox Christians and is found in many different forms. For starters, there is usually a common theme to use a circle when creating a Coptic cross, which stands for the ‘eternal and everlasting love of God.’ In earlier times related to Egypt, the circle paid homage to the Sun God. Sometimes the circle is large, while other depictions are much smaller. While the full cross symbolizes the crucifixion of Christ and resurrection, certain features have also referenced Christ’s halo.