Slavic Cross

Slavic Cross

04.11.2019
Russia & More
Virtually every person in the world knows that the cross is the main symbol of Christianity all over the world. But did you know that not all Christian religions use the same cross? For instance, the Orthodox Church uses the Slavic Church, which has three crossbars instead of the traditional cross, which has one. 

Top crossbar on the Slavic Cross

The top bar on the Russian cross symbolizes the location where the plaque placed on the cross by the Roman soldiers on the orders of Pilate was. This top crossbar is typically not as wide as the bottom two and it is inscribed with the words “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews” spelled in Aramaic. 

Middle crossbar of the Russian Orthodox Cross

This is the crossbar that is present on all Christian crosses, it represents the stretched out arms of Jesus Christ. Typically the cross also has the words “Son of God” written to the right and left of Jesus. This middle crossbar is the longest of the three.

Bottom crossbar of the Russian Cross

This third crossbar is the main element that separates the Slavic Cross from other crosses. This crossbar was added to the cross in the 800s AD by the Byzantines, it represents the place where the feet of Jesus Christ were nailed to the cross. Initially, the crossbar was horizontal, but several centuries later its position was changed to be angled: the left side of the crossbar is much lower than the right side. So what is the reasoning behind this position of the bottom crossbar on the Slavic Cross?

There are several theories that people believe explain the reasoning behind the addition of the bottom crossbar. Some people believe that the fact that the right side of the bar is higher than the left side symbolizes the second coming of Jesus Christ, which would bring eternal life for believers in God and death for those who do not believe. Another widely popular theory is that the crossbar is positioned this way because of the two thieves who were crucified together with Jesus Christ on both sides. According to the Bible, the thief who was on the left side of the Christ, taunted him, while the one on the right side asked for forgiveness and Jesus Christ promised him eternal life in return. Finally, the last theory is less spiritual, it claims that the third angled crossbar was added to further terrify nonbelievers, as Jesus Christ would have suffered even more with his feet attached to an angled crossbar. 

The post of the Christian Cross

The post is naturally the main part of the cross, when it is displayed on icons, you can often see the blood of Christ flowing on the upright post of the cross from different wounds on the Christ’s body, particularly, from the wound on the side of the torso of Jesus Christ. Usually, the phrase “Mount Golgotha” is inscribed on the bottom part of the post to indicate the location of the crucifixion. 

Slavic Cross
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