The symbols incorporated into this cross represent the truths of our faith and our quest to spread the Word of God, following the example set by Paul. More symbolism by scrolling below.
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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. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
The central focus of this cross is a chalice with the rising host, portraying the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
The rays emanating from the sacraments, remind us that Christ called himself "The Light of the World". (John 8:12) He added, "…he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." St. Paul was sent by God to the Gentiles "to open their eyes, that they might turn from darkness to light". (Acts 26:18)
The hands of God are presenting the Bread of Life, the Cup of Salvation, the Light of the World, welcoming us to receive the grace, love, and forgiveness of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us remember the open hands of our Creator reach out into our lives and guide us, guard us, bless us, and supply us all our needs.
The triquetra positioned at the top of the cross is a symbol of the Holy Trinity. It serves as an illustration of the truth of God being revealed to man in three coequal persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The three equal arcs express eternity in their continuous form, indivisibility in their interweaving. Their center, a triangle, is one of the oldest emblems of the Trinity.
At the bottom of the cross, is a heraldic symbol for St. Paul, consisting of two crossed swords. St. Paul was directly called by Christ to wield the spiritual sword of the Gospel. From that time on, St. Paul worked zealously for his Lord, surrendering all of life's amenities that he might proclaim the Gospel… indeed not with physical might or power, but by the Spirit. Paul says the sword of the Spirit is the word of God. (Eph. 6:17) He tells the Hebrews, "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb. 4:12). The crossing swords form a sacred monogram. The first letter of the Greek word for Christ, the X-shaped Chi, was an early symbol for Christ. Christians marked it on everything: their cups, their foreheads, and their food.
This cross was designed to commemorate the 75th anniversary of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Houston, TX.