To mark the first Sunday in Advent, the start of the Christian liturgical year, a post about crosses. I’ve often thought that Christianity was lucky in that Jesus was crucified (as opposed to guillotined, hanged, shot by firing squad, killed by lethal injection, etc.) because it has provided the religion with a simple and instantly recognizable symbol: the cross, two line segments intersecting at ninety degrees. At the same time, one can do endless artistic variations on this theme, some of which acquire local, ethnic or sectarian significance. Off the top of my head, and in no particular order, we have:


A cross of Jerusalem, a product of the Crusades, and perhaps representing the five wounds of Christ (Wikipedia).


A cross of Toulouse – now a symbol of Occitania (Wikipedia).


A cross of Canterbury, based on a bronze brooch unearthed at Canterbury in the nineteenth century. It’s now a symbol of Anglicanism (Wikipedia).


A Greek cross (Wikipedia).


A cross used by Slavs, particularly the Russian Orthodox church. The top crossbar represents the INRI sign, the bottom a footrest (Wikipedia).


This is a cross used by crusading orders, particularly the Knights of St. John. This group was headquartered on the island of Malta for many years, thus the designation of this device as a Maltese Cross (Wikipedia).


A Coptic cross (Wikipedia).


A cross of Lorraine, famous for being a symbol of the French resistance during World War II (Wikipedia).


A Celtic Cross. The interlaced pattern is decorative, but the halo around the arms marks this as having Irish origins (Pinterest).


Again, one can do infinite variations on this. Ethiopian crosses are famous for their complexity (Pinterest).