History: Christian/ St. Patrick's Cross term paper 13438

History: Christian term papers
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History and Symbolism of the Celtic Cross

There are many variations of the legends about the Celtic Cross. In modern times the ringed cross is sometimes a symbol of faith or to show ones Irish, Scottish or Welsh identity. An Irish Catholic priest might tell you that the circle on a Celtic Cross is a symbol of eternity that represents the unending love that God showed through Jesus' crucifixion. He might also say that the circle might show that through the crucifixion and resurrection Christ continues to offer the hope of salvation to the faithful. There are different interpretation about how the cross in the circle represents the Sun that was worshiped by the Druids and that this representation was acquired by the Christians. One of the most beautiful crosses is the cross of St. Patrick.

There is a legend that while St. Patrick was preaching to some heathens, they showed him a sacred standing stone that was marked with a circle. The circle was symbolic of the moon goddess. Through the circle he made a Latin cross and blessed the stone making it the first Celtic Cross. This legend implies that maybe St. Patrick was willing to make former Druid ideas and practices into Christian ideas. It is also believed that St. Patrick converted many Druids to live their live as Christian priests. The St. Patrick cross was carved of red sandstone and accompanied by two short pillars, and is about 8 feet tall. It most likely dates back to the 7th century. Francoise Henry, an art historian, said that he cross symbolizes a transition in design. It was probably one of the earliest stone sculptures to be broken free from the slab. The main figure on the east side of the cross could quite possibly represent Christ's crucifixion. It two figures on either side of Christ's head might be angles. There are two people adjoining Christ's body could possible be Mary and John, the two thieves or maybe the soldiers.


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