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The Holy Cross: History In Brief

Everybody knows that the cross is a precious and sacred emblem of the Christian faith. And it's not just an emblem, as it plays an important and even sacred meaning for the whole Christian world. First of all, it's a symbol of Christ's death on the cross, redemption of all humanity from sins and diseases. As a matter of fact, during the first three centuries of Christianity there's no written mentioning of the cross as a symbol of Christianity. The first Christian writings offering descriptions of the cross were found in the early 2nd century. And the cross became prominent as a symbol of Christianity only in the 3rd century.

Nowadays, you can find the cross of numerous different sizes, shapes, and styles. It is often used as a piece of personal jewelry or for decoration of the top of numerous church buildings in many countries of the world. In addition, crosses can be seen on Christian cemeteries; they are usually either carved on gravestones or as sculptures. The cross has been daily used in performing different sacred acts in churches known as the sacrament. Besides, crosses were used to mark the graves of heroes, bishops and kings during the Middle Ages. In addition, they were often set up in the centers of towns and villages as well as in market places. It's significant to mention that churches and cathedrals were often built with the floor planning in the shape of a Latin cross.

Different Christian groups have adopted various styles of crosses. Thus, the Latin cross is the type of cross on which Jesus was crucified. It's characterized by a long upright pole and crosspiece that's fastened to it just near the top. And the Greek cross, also known as The Cross of Saint George, is characterized by four arms of the same length. It's necessary to note that this cross is used n combination with the cross of Saint Andrew to create the British Union Jack. This flag has the Cross of Saint George that stands for England, while the Cross of Saint Andrew stands for Scotland. Another type of cross, the Maltese cross is known for having eight sharp points. This cross was long the emblem of a definite order of knights in the Middle Ages.

Durng the first 300 years after Christ death Christians were scared to wear the cross in public in order to avoid persecution by the cruel Roman government. However, during the early middle Ages, many Christian artists created a great number of crosses as symbols of the Christian belief in general and specifically the Resurrection of Christ. These crosses mainly depicted Christ worn in priestly clothes and a royal crown. Later crucifixes were created to portray the sufferings of Jesus with the figure of the dying Christ.

As the cross symbolizes the crucifixion of Jesus all Christians regard the cross with respect. In fact, since apostolic times the cross has played an important role in Christianity. In this way, Christians prayed with their arms raised and extended creating the figure similar to Christ on the cross. The first references of using the crucifix go back to the 6th century.

Lately, a few flags have depicted crosses, for instance all the nations of Scandinavia, that's why these crosses are called Scandinavian crosses. A great number of nations in the Southern Hemisphere also used crosses on their flags. The Flag of Switzerland since the 17th century has had a cross as well. The contemporary flag of Georgia has four Jerusalem crosses on the background of St George cross. It's also necessary to mention, the Crux, also known as the Southern Cross, is represented by a cross shaped constellation in the Southern Hemisphere.