Ancient symbol of humanity
The cross is an ancient symbol of humanity, a magical sign known since pagan times. Images of the cross, discovered during archaeological excavations, belong to the earliest periods of the history of the Ancient East, Asia, Egypt, Africa, the Mediterranean and Europe.
Archaeologists have established that the image of the Egyptian cross “Ankh”, symbolizing the notion “life”, there are more than six thousand years! For more than three thousand years of existence of Ancient Egypt Ankh — the key to eternal life — an indispensable attribute of the deity and the Pharaoh. The Romans, the creators of the Grand Empire on the shores of the Mediterranean sea, used a cross in the form of two crossed wooden beams for the punishment of rebels and criminals, and since the first century, on the cross, after being tortured, crucified Christians. The usual instrument of execution was called “Antoniev” T-shaped cross.
In the Christian era, the cross has taken on many different forms and deepest content. The very moment of Christ’s Crucifixion is interpreted by the Church as the beginning of a new history of man. “Since that time, — is told in “the Law of God,” in the world of human ideas and concepts, there was a complete coup. Cross, a former first instrument of agonizing pain, cruel homicide, to become the reliable support person. The way, the truth and the life begin with the cross,without which it is impossible to escape”.
Christian cross symbols the most extensively studied and expressed in the writings of the Russian historian A. S. Uvarov. He believed the earliest the image of the so-called acrobranche cross, found in the caves and catacombs of Rome and Gaul, where he was hiding everywhere persecuted the followers of the new faith in the III – IV centuries. Abiding in them, they probably won’t once consoled himself by reading the lines of Paul’s letter, which States that everyone has the opportunity “to take predlagayu hope (i.e. the cross) that the soul is like an anchor steadfast and sure.” Some ancient writers mention an X-shaped cross, also served the Romans for torture of prisoners. It ended his life, the Apostle Andrew, and later the Christians the cross was a sign that hid the name of the Lord.
Peter the Great placed the image of St. Andrew’s cross on the state emblem, on his personal seal, Navy flag, and explained that “the cross of St. Andrew for the fact that from this the Apostle took the Holy baptism of Russia”.
Similar to an X-shaped cross in combination with the Greek letter P (“Rho”) one day, in the year 312, was revealed to the Emperor Constantine, famous for the fact that he forbade the persecution of Christians and supported them throughout. The Christian historian Eusebius that the Emperor himself told about his vision, wrote: “In the afternoon hours when the sun is already beginning to droop, he saw in the sky directly above the sun is the symbol of the cross surrounded by light and accompanied by the inscription “SIM conquer.” He and his men who became eyewitnesses of the miracle, were deeply shocked by what is seen”.
Constantine, called equal to the Apostles, commanded to portray this cross on the banner and “best for protection from enemy attack”. The letters XP the Emperor subsequently used to wear on the helmet and placed on his coins. At the same time appeared the monogram XP (Jesus Christ), depicted as a “sanaubarova” cross, that is, from the reticle to the three letters. In Christianity this cross symbolizes the fulfillment of the prophecy of the old Testament prophet Malachi. “But unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings…”
After the adoption of Orthodoxy in Russia, many forms of the cross have become traditional. According to legend, the Holy Prince Vladimir after his baptism in Korsun, the Greek took out and set on the banks of the Dnieper river in Kiev cross, nicknamed the “coranicum”. He is four-pointed and equilateral, the oldest Russian cross. From Korsun same simple six-pointed the Patriarchal cross.
Since ancient times in Russia the famous six-pointed memorial cross introduced by St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk. It has a crossbar at the foot and repeats the eight-pointed Orthodox with a sign on top. On this cross, as evidenced by early Christian writers, and Jesus was crucified. The image of the cross combined with the crown of thorns often found in many Nations that adopted Christianity, for example, in ancient Armenian manuscript books from the collection of the Matenadaran.
The swastika or “grammaticheskiy” the cross (from the Greek letter “gamma”) — not less ancient than the Egyptian Ankh. The Indo-European peoples he symbolized the sun, life, eternity. For two thousand years this cross used by the Church, and his early pictures found in the catacombs of Rome. Often on Byzantine icons, you can find the swastika in the form of “jewelry” vestments of the saints. It occurs in the relief ornament of the Nizhny Novgorod Cathedral, mosaic in the dome of the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Kiev. The swastika used by the Nazis to sanctify his evil deeds, was corrupted and tainted and therefore most difficult to grasp, especially in our country, who fought against fascism.
However the swastika, like all other named and unnamed forms of the cross are considered equal and have the divine life-giving force. There is only one unrecognized cross — card clubs or “Shamrock”. Playing cards in General are condemned by the Church, according to which all four card suits is the desecration of Christian sacred objects: spear — peaks, above the sponge — worms on nails — diamonds and cross over itself — clubs.
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