The cross is one of the most recognizable symbols in the world. Throughout history there have been many variations of the cross, each holding historical or cultural significances. The Greek cross, Latin cross, Celtic cross, and the Jerusalem cross are just a few examples of the different types of crosses created throughout the history of our faith. Some crosses, such as the Latin cross, are simple in design, while others, including the Celtic and Jerusalem crosses are more elaborate.
Historical Origin of the Jerusalem Cross
The Jerusalem cross consists of a large center cross with four smaller Greek crosses (a cross with four equal arms, similar to a plus sign) in each quadrant. Also known as the Crusader cross, the Jerusalem cross dates back to the 11th and 12th century when the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099, establishing Christianity in the area. (At that time, Muslim forces controlled the area). One of the leaders of the Crusades, Godfrey de Bouillon, was the first to use the Jerusalem Cross as a distinct symbol of the new Crusader state, known as the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. De Bouillon believed that the cross symbolized Jesus Christ and the city of Jerusalem which is the root of Christianity.
Even after the overthrow of the Crusader state in 1291, the cross remained a symbol of Jerusalem for Christians and became the emblem of the esteemed Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Today, the Jerusalem cross remains the emblem of the Order, and is still the symbol of all those who work to preserve Christianity in Jerusalem.
What Does the Jerusalem Cross Symbolize?
The Jerusalem cross is believed to represent several things. Historians note that the four crosses surrounding the large center cross represent the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The four crosses also are believed to represent the four corners of the earth, in which Jesus desired His word to be proclaimed by His disciples. The large cross symbolizes Christ.
Other historians believe that the five crosses together symbolize the five wounds Jesus suffered on the cross. The four small crosses represent the four wounds of Jesus’ hands and feet, while the large cross signifies Jesus’ pierced heart.
How to Use the Jerusalem Cross
The Jerusalem cross’ eye-catching design makes it a popular choice among those who are looking for a unique way to express their faith. It’s perfect for those searching for a cross that reminds them of Jesus’ connection to the Holy Land. The cross can be worn as a necklace, cuff links, or as a pin. Key rings, letter openers, and bookmarks adorned with the Jerusalem cross are just some ways to pay homage to the land where the roots of our faith are buried.Pin It