Friday, October 15, 2010


Similar to last week’s cross is the patriarchal cross. This cross is seen on the coats of arms of Eastern Rite Catholic patriarchs (bishops) and Orthodox patriarchs. This cross has two cross beams; the traditional one that we associate with the Cross and a shorter one nearer the top. There is actually some controversy about what exactly the upper beam represents.

You might be inclined to think it represents the plaque that Pilate inscribed and had nailed to the Cross. That is certainly one of the options. Others suggest that while the lower beams symbolizes Christ’s first visit to earth the second anticipates His Second Coming.

But it is interesting that this particular Cross was used in a patriarch’s coat of arms. “A third view,” reports the site, “is that the first beam symbolises secular power and the second beam the ecclesiastic power of Byzantine emperors. In the 9th century, this was a political symbol used by Byzantine clerks and missionaries.” While in the west one would see what we consider a typcial processional cross behind the coat of arms of a bishop, behind the coat of arms of a patriarch one finds this cross.


Anonymous said...

somebody in the ongoing synod on the middle east said that all Christians should celebrate Easter on the same day. what do you think of that?

r m kraus

Chuck said...

r m --I think we Christians should celebrate Easter EVERY day, and then we would be celebrating on the same day.

I wonder why our fellow Christians come up with so many styles of crosses? I so much love our Catholic cross - the tree of the cross and the arm of the cross with our Lord Jesus Christ nailed to it. No more...No less. There is no Easter Sunday without Good Friday. Our salvation begins at the foot of the cross. What does the synod think of that?

Nan said...


I see no problem with that idea, only in the implementation thereof, which would require someone to give on the calendar issue. In the US, most Orthodox celebrate Christmas on the modern calendar, it's just Easter that stays on the old one.

Last Easter we celebrated the same day and I believe this Easter we do as well.