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Eastern Orthodox Cross

Eastern Orthodox Cross - The Eastern Orthodox Cross has three cross beams and is distinctly different from other Christian crosses. The deep symbolism and the tradition of icons was preserved from Byzantium through the Christian Empire it created in Russia. (See also the heraldic Bezant Cross). Byzantium was the capital of the Christian Byzantine Empire, later renamed Constantinople and currently Istanbul. The culture of the area is a rich mixture of different traditions of iconography. Alexander Roman tells us that in the East, and Russia in particular, a cross with three bars was worn by the lowest rank of priest; a privilege granted by the Russian Emperor Paul I (1754-1801). Higher ranking clergy wore one-bar crosses, such as Metropolitans and Abbots. In the West, the reverse was true - additional bars signified higher clerical or other significance. Two-bar crosses in the West signified important Christian centres, i.e., patriarchal centres. Only the pope had a three-bar Cross. (See also Papal Cross) The top beam, also seen on the Patriarchal cross, represents the plaque bearing Pontius Pilate's inscription "Jesus the Nazorean, King of the Jews" (see INRI). The Latin for such a plaque is titulus which gives the name for this form: Titulus Cross. The upper beam rarely has any inscription; it is just symbolic of a titulus. However, this cross is often embellished with the acronym IC XC NIKA. (See also ICXC Cross) St. Basil's Cross Perhaps the most photographed Eastern Orthodox crosses are those atop the onion domes of the Cathedral of Intercession of the Virgin on the Moat (more commonly known as Saint Basil's Cathedral) in Red Square, Moscow The lower beam represents a foot-support (suppedaneum) and began appearing in Eastern Christian art in the 6th century. The purpose of the suppedaneum was to support the weight of the body. We do not know whether such a device existed on Jesus' cross. (See Suppedaneum Cross) Typical of Greek Orthodox

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Uploaded on Feb 5, 2013

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