Nancy Denmark, Jewelry Artist
Pectoral Cross for The Rt. Rev. Rayford High
2003
14K Gold
A pectoral cross created for the consecration of the Rt. Rev. Rayford High, a suffragran bishop of the Diocese of Texas.

Symbolism of the Cross

Celtic crosses date back to early centuries of the Christian era, owing their shape to the fact that such crosses were originally carved from a single piece of stone. Stone crosses will not tolerate long arms, so the cross arms will generally be shorter than the top with a circle added for support.

The circle on this cross is a laurel wreath, symbolizing Christ's victory and triumph over death. Laurel is an evergreen and does not wilt, giving it an association with eternity and everlasting life. The circular form of the wreath shares the same symbolism as it has no beginning and no end. Wreaths made of laurel were used to crown the victors at the religious games of classical Greece. St. Paul contrasted the athlete's wreath with the imperishable crown awaiting the Christian.

The Holy Spirit is the power of God at work in man. There are accounts of the Holy Spirit appearing as a dove at the baptism of Jesus, and as tongues of fire when the Apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit. These two representations of the Holy Spirit are combined in the dove design. The rays emanating from the dove express the pouring out of the Spirit.

Dogwood blossoms have four petals, which make the shape of a cross. The brown tips resemble bloodstains, and the center of the flower a crown of thorns. The dogwood expresses the new life and hope of spring and the Resurrection. This flower is a special reminder of our Camp Allen.

The mitre, shaped like a flame, symbolizes the Holy Spirit and Pentecost. The streamers symbolize living water. Jesus proclaimed himself as the Fountain of Living Water. The 2 points of the mitre represent the Old and New Testaments. The Bishop is the "pastor of pastors" and as such expected to teach (Old and New Testaments) to pastors and people.

The crozier, shaped like a shepherd's crook, is a symbol of the bishop's pastoral role. It is a symbol of office showing that, like Christ the Good Shepherd, bishops are spiritual shepherds to the people, communicating a caring leadership.

Wheat represents Jesus as the Bread of Life and the harvest reaped from sowing the Gospel. Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst."

Researched and prepared by Nancy Denmark
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