Closer to the body
You can see the pectoral cross on the neck of almost every person. And it doesn’t matter if he is a true believer or was baptized when he was a baby, but now he wears a cross rather as a decoration or amulet. Such a tradition among our people is to wear the Orthodox cross for baptism. The church believes that the cross is a symbol of faith, one of the most important shrines. And even if we rarely go to the temple, we still carry a crucifix on our chests – in the hope that it will protect us from the evil eye and protect us from all bad things. Therefore, the question of how to choose the right cross is very relevant for Ukrainians. Let’s try to figure it out.
In ancient centuries
When the Christian religion was just in its infancy, no one thought about the cross we were used to. Instead, they wore another symbol – a medallion depicting the Lamb sacrificed. Nevertheless, the cross has always been treated with respect, considered it the most important symbol. In confirmation of this – five facts about the decoration traditional for Ukrainians.
The very first followers of Jesus Christ after his death and resurrection usually carried a cross with them. He reminded them of the suffering that the redeemer went through. And besides, he helped to identify “his” – other Christians who were hiding from the Gentiles.
Already in the III century, the most desperate people even drew the figure of a cross on their forehead. Under the most severe persecution of Christians at the beginning of our faith, such an action was regarded as a feat.
How to wear a cross, thought at the very beginning of the IV century. There is evidence that Christian martyrs wore silver and gold crosses around their necks. When the persecution of Christians ceased, the cross was still worn on the same part of the body.
By the time of the baptism of Russia in 988, this method became the norm. And the Slavs accepted this norm. True, there were two answers to the question of what should be a body cross. Our ancestors had it:
talniks – items worn under clothing (on the body);
encolpions are items that are worn over clothing.
After the adoption of Christianity, the Slavs were proud of their belonging to Orthodoxy and therefore wore a cross over their clothes. People believed that now they should not hide, that every passer-by should know that he is a Christian. Only much later did the Western custom of wearing a cross under clothing spread among the Slavs. And only clergymen still wear a cross over their clothes.
Symbol of faith
In ancient times, the cross was a real shrine. They swore at him, exchanged crosses, considering themselves twin cities. At the base of all Slavic buildings was laid a cross. And this is no coincidence. The idea that Christ atoned for the guilt of the human race by sacrificing himself on the cross was the basis for respect for the symbol of the cross. This is a reminder of the suffering our salvation was gained.
That is, a person who bears the cross knows about the sufferings of Christ, considers himself a part of the Savior and is confident that the resurrection of a person is possible. And this resurrection is necessary for eternal life with God.
Pectoral Cross Shape
Today, when the cross is used all over the world by jewelers and designers to create jewelry, the shape of this product fades into the background. You can see a regular cross of two planks or a traditional eight-pointed option. It can be smooth and inlaid with stones, with a pattern and without it. But if we are thinking about how to choose an Orthodox cross, there are clear rules that are not recommended to be derogated from.
Priests assure: the pectoral cross is not a talisman and not an ornament. Whatever material it is made of, however decorated, it is, above all, a symbol of the Christian faith. Although depending on what time and in which city or country this item was manufactured, it can vary significantly in appearance.
It is believed that the appearance of the Crucifixion was approved at the end of the XVII century. Church men then agreed that the main thing in the cross is to be able to combine historical realism with the realism of Divine Revelation. Probably, the point is to depict the death of Christ as a real situation, but at the same time show that the Savior conquers the devil, that he will rise again. But they say that the Catholics thought this decision was too optimistic. And so they decided to focus on the sufferings of Christ: it is very natural to show how he is tormented, what torment he suffers.
Orthodox and catholic cross
It was from the 17th century that the distinction between Orthodox and Catholic crosses began. If the Catholics focused on suffering, the Orthodox on the coming victory and resurrection of the Savior. And today, thinking about how to choose a body cross, it is considered natural to choose the Orthodox symbol of the Christian faith.
usually six-pointed or eight-pointed;
above the head of Christ you can find the upper crossbar and the “plate” with the letters I.N. Ts.I (there are still variants I.N.T.I., I.N.R.I., which translates as “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”)