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Author Topic: Is the three bar cross used in Eastern Orthodoxy but not Oriental Orthodoxy?  (Read 6491 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 08, 2010, 02:48:09 AM »

I would really like a piece of Orthodox jewelry to remind me of my journey, and I have found the three bar cross. However, I was wondering if this was only used in Eastern Orthodoxy (I'm converting to Oriental Orthodoxy).

Thank you Smiley
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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2010, 03:00:18 AM »

I've never seen the three bar cross used by the Oriental Orthodox.  It's a beautiful cross, but it's just not a part of our tradition.

You might want to contact Festal Creations and ask them to send you catalogues and flyers of their Oriental Orthodox crosses and other jewelry.  The phone number is (866)455-ICON(4266).  You can also e-mail them at festalc@juno.com.  They have a website, mostly with their Eastern Orthodox items, at http://www.festalcreations.com/  

The owners are Eastern Orthodox, but they have OO items also, mostly Armenian and Coptic. The prices are very reasonable.
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2010, 11:07:30 PM »

It is not used on a collective level by any of the OO churches, as far as I know.

That doesn't necessarily mean that there would be a problem with you individually using it, however, if you take a liking to it.
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2010, 11:39:20 PM »

It's a Slavic Orthodox thing (Russian, Serbian, Ukrainian, etc.). It is sometimes used by Greeks and Arabs in the "Eastern" Orthodox Church, but it is not a part of their historical patrimonies, at least originally. The "Orientals" don't use it at all.

These days I think Greeks might use it on their schema monks, but I think that's about it.
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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2010, 12:10:33 AM »

It is not used on a collective level by any of the OO churches, as far as I know.

That doesn't necessarily mean that there would be a problem with you individually using it, however, if you take a liking to it.

Like deusveritasest said, no OO church uses it officially, however, there's no problem with them as the significance of the three bars is not limited by OO/EO differences. At a retreat I went to last year, my bishop, Bishop David, handed out small three bar Russian Orthodox Crosses with the engraving "Save and Protect" on the back (in Russian of course) to everyone present, and there was no problem at all. I'm OO but I have a large three bar Russian Orthodox cross hanging from my rear view mirror along with a Coptic cross and I see no problem; then again, I'm sure someone out there believes I'm one of those heretical ecumenicists who's trying to promote some sort of Orthodox "Unity." Anyway, I'd probably recommend picking a cross that'll remind you of your journey and will travel with you during it. If I may ask, which denomination of OO are you converting to?
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« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2010, 12:20:23 AM »

It says on his avatar...:

"Syriac Orthodox"
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« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2010, 12:28:35 AM »

If I may ask, which denomination of OO are you converting to?

I have been attending a wonderful Syriac Orthdox church where I live, and I hope very much to be Chrismated next year. I have been to the divine liturgy three times and on Wednesday I am going to talk to the priest about my wishes to convert. A parishioner introduced me to him after church my first time and told him but he and I haven't spoken one-on-one about it.

Wish me luck, I love this church! Smiley

I'm keeping a journal of my journey, and I know I'm going to love looking back on it. I knew after my first visit to the church that I had found something special and knew that I should write about it from day one.

Anyway, I'd probably recommend picking a cross that'll remind you of your journey and will travel with you during it.

I looked at the Coptic cross and I think it is absolutely beautiful. I wanted to ask you, since you are a Copt, if you would think it fine for me to wear that one? I thought it would be more fitting for me than the three bar cross, since the Coptic cross would at least be from the Oriental Orthodox family like my denomination.
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« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2010, 12:44:18 AM »

It doesn't appear to be an issue of what is acceptable here. I think most OO would find it acceptable for you to wear the three bar cross, especially given that its symbology appears to be consistent with OOy. But it is significant that it is from a non-OO tradition. It's really thus a matter of proximity to your own liturgical tradition. The Slavic cross is furthest away because of being from a different historical communion. The Coptic cross is closer because it is from the same historical communion, but from a different liturgical tradition. If you really wanted to stick to your own liturgical tradition you should get a West Syrian cross. But like I said, it's not a matter of "acceptable" so much as probably what distance from your own liturgical tradition you are comfortable with.
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« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2010, 12:55:36 AM »

If you really wanted to stick to your own liturgical tradition you should get a West Syrian cross.

Which is s/he is wondering, they look like this:

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« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2010, 01:01:51 AM »

It says on his avatar...:

"Syriac Orthodox"

Whoops my bad, be nice, I'm fairly new here haha.

I looked at the Coptic cross and I think it is absolutely beautiful. I wanted to ask you, since you are a Copt, if you would think it fine for me to wear that one? I thought it would be more fitting for me than the three bar cross, since the Coptic cross would at least be from the Oriental Orthodox family like my denomination.

There's no problem in wearing a Coptic cross, and I do agree they are quite beautiful  Smiley but pick a cross that first catches your heart, then your eyes. Like deusveritasest also said, Coptic would be closer to your faith, but so would a Syriac cross, but if you're not concerned with distancing yourself a bit from your own liturgical tradition, then borrowing from the overall Orthodox Church's (EO/OO) tradition is no problem.
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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2010, 01:06:37 AM »

If you really wanted to stick to your own liturgical tradition you should get a West Syrian cross. But like I said, it's not a matter of "acceptable" so much as probably what distance from your own liturgical tradition you are comfortable with.

Thank you so much! I had no idea that there was a West Syrian cross.

I love all of the Orthodox crosses, but I think I'd like to buy a specifically Syrian one for the time being because I feel such a bond with my church and the people there it would especially have a lot of meaning to me Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2010, 01:14:04 AM »

There's no problem in wearing a Coptic cross, and I do agree they are quite beautiful

I can't seem to find a place to purchase the West Syriac cross online, but I have found many beautiful Coptic crosses on my favorite online shopping website. I think I'll get one Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2010, 01:18:23 AM »

If you really wanted to stick to your own liturgical tradition you should get a West Syrian cross.

Which is s/he is wondering, they look like this:



That looks more like a Greek cross to me than a West Assyrian one. Am I mistaken?
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« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2010, 01:19:28 AM »

Whoops my bad, be nice, I'm fairly new here haha.

 Tongue
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« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2010, 01:37:59 AM »

I think this:



is essentially the modern cross of the West Syrian rite Oriental Orthodox churches (Syriac Orthodox Church, Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, and Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church), that one will find on the churches' altars, curtains, and vestments:





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« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2010, 01:38:43 AM »

There's no problem in wearing a Coptic cross, and I do agree they are quite beautiful

I can't seem to find a place to purchase the West Syriac cross online, but I have found many beautiful Coptic crosses on my favorite online shopping website. I think I'll get one Smiley

That might be your best bet. I think the Coptic crosses are far more popular than the Syriac ones.
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« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2010, 01:51:18 AM »

That looks more like a Greek cross to me than a West Assyrian one. Am I mistaken?

That cross and other variants of that style can be found on many of the ancient Coptic monasteries so it could either be an early Greek style or a Coptic one. In this image that cross can be seen in the Ankh so it does seem to have some ancient Egyptian roots:

Here are other variants:


And some more: http://users.stlcc.edu/mfuller/philaecoptic.html
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« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2010, 01:54:06 AM »

It could possibly be super ancient and the common root from which these various cross developed.  Huh
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« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2010, 10:34:15 AM »

It could possibly be super ancient and the common root from which these various cross developed.  Huh

The Jehovah's Witnesses will be the first to tell you that the cross is PAGAN!!!!

Whenever certain Protestants talk about how "pagan" Christmas is, I just remind them how "pagan" the cross is as well.
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« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2010, 12:14:04 PM »

I'm just curious, how is one able to be crucified on a Coptic Cross?

-nick
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« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2010, 02:49:46 AM »

I'm just curious, how is one able to be crucified on a Coptic Cross?

-nick

I'm not really sure how to answer your question, but, if we're talking about the Coptic Cross that's my avatar and the images above of the crosses carved into the walls, I'd guess they weren't designed for crucifixions but to remind us of the ultimate crucifixion and add on more symbolism. They take the form of a cross (equilateral sides) but add on to it; for example, the one in my avatar has the three points on each side symbolizing the 12 disciples which went out to all the parts of the world (hence the points face all the directions). I'm sure there's different symbolism for other types of crosses which others know more about.
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« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2010, 07:13:42 PM »

for example, the one in my avatar has the three points on each side symbolizing the 12 disciples which went out to all the parts of the world (hence the points face all the directions).

Cool. I hadn't realized that. Thanks.
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« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2010, 10:18:05 AM »

I'm just curious, how is one able to be crucified on a Coptic Cross?

-nick

I'm not really sure how to answer your question, but, if we're talking about the Coptic Cross that's my avatar and the images above of the crosses carved into the walls, I'd guess they weren't designed for crucifixions but to remind us of the ultimate crucifixion and add on more symbolism. They take the form of a cross (equilateral sides) but add on to it; for example, the one in my avatar has the three points on each side symbolizing the 12 disciples which went out to all the parts of the world (hence the points face all the directions). I'm sure there's different symbolism for other types of crosses which others know more about.

Okay, thats definitely a plausable explanation, I thank you for taking the time to enlighten me.

-Nick
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« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2010, 04:53:26 PM »

Hey this would probably be the best place to ask this, I am seriously considering converting to Orthodoxy i have been attending a Greek church atm but trying to visit this Coptic one near by, If i convert it will probably be into the British orthodox church i have connected with them and really enjoy the ones i have met with. Inspired by the BOC i decided i would make my own cross the BOC respects thier Coptic counterparts very much so i tried to blend a Coptic and celtic Cross.. Would this be a problem with some churches? on the back is Lord have mercy in Irish Gaeilge... im considering putting some Knotwork on it but id like to see if this could be an issue of altering a traditional cross.
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« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2010, 05:00:20 PM »

Hey this would probably be the best place to ask this, I am seriously considering converting to Orthodoxy i have been attending a Greek church atm but trying to visit this Coptic one near by, If i convert it will probably be into the British orthodox church.

Why are you leaning toward Oriental Orthodoxy?
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« Reply #25 on: September 10, 2010, 05:05:13 PM »

well I personally agree with their take on the nature of Christ, I understand essentially both churched are saying the same thing and its just semantics. However I don't believe that the person of Christ should be separated, that His person is both fully human and fully divine. I still am trying to study more on the difference I'm a student in a protestant school of ministry, so I don't have much money to buy books. I'm hoping I can use the internet and experience both churches to find the other differences.
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« Reply #26 on: September 10, 2010, 05:27:54 PM »

However I don't believe that the person of Christ should be separated, that His person is both fully human and fully divine.

That's not what the Orthodox Church teaches. We teach that Christ is one person or hypostasis in two natures, which are divine and human. He has a divine nature and a human nature. He unites our humanity to divinity, that we might be made divine.

The Miaphysites (the Oriental communion) teach that Christ is one person or hypostasis in one nature, which is the Logos or Word.

There are about a thousand threads on this board about this very issue, but you should be aware that not everyone thinks this is "mere semantics." Semantics matter, and plenty of people on both sides consider us to be very different churches. I honestly don't know how I feel about everything at this point, having been pulled in both directions by different people that I respect.
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« Reply #27 on: September 10, 2010, 05:50:24 PM »

That's not what the Orthodox Church teaches.

Well, it is certainly true that historically the Anti-Chalcedonian tradition has regarded certain teachings of the Chalcedonian tradition as implying division.

However, you are correct that technically your church does not claim to believe that the humanity and divinity of Christ are separated.
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« Reply #28 on: September 10, 2010, 05:50:40 PM »

Hey this would probably be the best place to ask this, I am seriously considering converting to Orthodoxy i have been attending a Greek church atm but trying to visit this Coptic one near by, If i convert it will probably be into the British orthodox church i have connected with them and really enjoy the ones i have met with. Inspired by the BOC i decided i would make my own cross the BOC respects thier Coptic counterparts very much so i tried to blend a Coptic and celtic Cross.. Would this be a problem with some churches? on the back is Lord have mercy in Irish Gaeilge... im considering putting some Knotwork on it but id like to see if this could be an issue of altering a traditional cross.

It is a pretty cool idea.
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« Reply #29 on: September 10, 2010, 05:50:40 PM »

well I personally agree with their take on the nature of Christ, I understand essentially both churched are saying the same thing and its just semantics. However I don't believe that the person of Christ should be separated, that His person is both fully human and fully divine.

Ah...

If they are actually "saying the same thing", then why should the latter sentence be a concern between the two?
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« Reply #30 on: September 11, 2010, 04:27:56 AM »


The Miaphysites (the Oriental communion) teach that Christ is one person or hypostasis in one nature, which is the Logos or Word.

This is NOT a correct explanation of what the Miaphysites believe and teach. What you have written is more like the Eutichean monophysitism which is NOT the faith of the Oriental Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #31 on: September 11, 2010, 04:42:26 AM »

And here you can see samples of Armenian crosses.

http://www.google.com/images?q=Armenian+crosses&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=Pz6LTLbFCoHEswbPg7nTAQ&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CC8QsAQwAA

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« Reply #32 on: September 11, 2010, 05:06:09 AM »


The Miaphysites (the Oriental communion) teach that Christ is one person or hypostasis in one nature, which is the Logos or Word.

This is NOT a correct explanation of what the Miaphysites believe and teach. What you have written is more like the Eutichean monophysitism which is NOT the faith of the Oriental Orthodox Church.

The implications of Alveus Lacuna's statement are unclear given the way it has been grammatically structured. If the final clause is intended to qualify the words "one person or hypostasis" then the statement is generally an accurate representation of Miaphysite Orthodoxy. If it is intended, however, to qualify "one nature", then it is not.
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« Reply #33 on: September 11, 2010, 06:09:36 AM »


The Miaphysites (the Oriental communion) teach that Christ is one person or hypostasis in one nature, which is the Logos or Word.

This is NOT a correct explanation of what the Miaphysites believe and teach. What you have written is more like the Eutichean monophysitism which is NOT the faith of the Oriental Orthodox Church.

The implications of Alveus Lacuna's statement are unclear given the way it has been grammatically structured. If the final clause is intended to qualify the words "one person or hypostasis" then the statement is generally an accurate representation of Miaphysite Orthodoxy. If it is intended, however, to qualify "one nature", then it is not.

Well, in both cases his explanation is incorrect. If he mentions the "one nature" without adding anything that would explain what he means by that "one nature" (like "of the Incarnate Word" or "one Theandric nature" or so), that is he doesn't mention in any way the human "side" of the Lord or His incarnate state, and in that same sentence he only mentions the Lord's divine "side" (whether it's His person or nature or I don't know what else), it is very natural to conclude that he represents the Eutichean Christology.
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« Reply #34 on: September 11, 2010, 06:48:15 AM »

I agree with vasnTearn on this.

We do not speak of one nature, but of one incarnate nature and one incarnate hypostasis.

The Word is indeed one nature and one hypostasis, but one nature and one hypostasis who has become incarnate.

As St Cyril says of those who opposed his Orthodox Christology,

Again they twist the facts, failing to recognize that the reality is one incarnate nature of the Word.... he displayed to us one nature, but as I said 'one incarnate nature', of the Son.

It was Nestorius who said,

You should not accuse me as if I did not confess a single person in two natures..

Whatever either meant by these terms it is clear that to those who followed St Cyril, the proposition that Christ was a single person in two natures was an entirely Nestorian terminology.

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« Reply #35 on: September 11, 2010, 07:32:35 AM »

Of course qualifying it further in such a way brings greater clarity to what is intended by us. I guess because, as far as I recall, Alveus seems to have had a rather charitable approach to understanding OO Christology in past discussions where the subject has arisen, I was inclined to assume that he had implied that the One Nature that we confess pertained to the Incarnate Word, and was not seeking in any way to suggest that by "one nature" we refer simply to the Divine Nature.

St Cyril doesn't disavow the expression "one nature" unqalified per se; after all, the quotation provided has him saying directly, "he displayed to us one nature". The subsequent clause serves as a clarification, which seems to have received due emphasis in this context since he was addressing OO Christology as against what those who "twist the facts" say.
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« Reply #36 on: September 11, 2010, 07:43:11 AM »

Hey this would probably be the best place to ask this, I am seriously considering converting to Orthodoxy i have been attending a Greek church atm but trying to visit this Coptic one near by, If i convert it will probably be into the British orthodox church i have connected with them and really enjoy the ones i have met with. Inspired by the BOC i decided i would make my own cross the BOC respects thier Coptic counterparts very much so i tried to blend a Coptic and celtic Cross.. Would this be a problem with some churches? on the back is Lord have mercy in Irish Gaeilge... im considering putting some Knotwork on it but id like to see if this could be an issue of altering a traditional cross.

It is a pretty cool idea.
so it wouldn't come as offensive to Copts?
And I would like to apologize for engaging a side topic within a topic Undecided I didn't realize it until the second post and now a lot of others have added to that subject. So, sorry to everyone...
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« Reply #37 on: September 11, 2010, 11:58:20 PM »


The Miaphysites (the Oriental communion) teach that Christ is one person or hypostasis in one nature, which is the Logos or Word.

This is NOT a correct explanation of what the Miaphysites believe and teach. What you have written is more like the Eutichean monophysitism which is NOT the faith of the Oriental Orthodox Church.

Yeah, it is. "The one nature of the Logos Incarnate" is essentially what he is saying, and that very much is the OO faith.
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« Reply #38 on: September 11, 2010, 11:58:20 PM »


The Miaphysites (the Oriental communion) teach that Christ is one person or hypostasis in one nature, which is the Logos or Word.

This is NOT a correct explanation of what the Miaphysites believe and teach. What you have written is more like the Eutichean monophysitism which is NOT the faith of the Oriental Orthodox Church.

The implications of Alveus Lacuna's statement are unclear given the way it has been grammatically structured. If the final clause is intended to qualify the words "one person or hypostasis" then the statement is generally an accurate representation of Miaphysite Orthodoxy. If it is intended, however, to qualify "one nature", then it is not.

Yeah, it is. The Logos Incarnate is one nature.
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« Reply #39 on: September 11, 2010, 11:58:20 PM »

Of course qualifying it further in such a way brings greater clarity to what is intended by us. I guess because, as far as I recall, Alveus seems to have had a rather charitable approach to understanding OO Christology in past discussions where the subject has arisen, I was inclined to assume that he had implied that the One Nature that we confess pertained to the Incarnate Word, and was not seeking in any way to suggest that by "one nature" we refer simply to the Divine Nature.

St Cyril doesn't disavow the expression "one nature" unqalified per se; after all, the quotation provided has him saying directly, "he displayed to us one nature". The subsequent clause serves as a clarification, which seems to have received due emphasis in this context since he was addressing OO Christology as against what those who "twist the facts" say.

You're confusing me. In the last post I commented on your seemed to disavow "one nature" as reflecting OOy and now it seems you are saying that it does indeed reflect OOy.
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« Reply #40 on: March 20, 2014, 02:44:14 PM »

That looks more like a Greek cross to me than a West Assyrian one. Am I mistaken?

That cross and other variants of that style can be found on many of the ancient Coptic monasteries so it could either be an early Greek style or a Coptic one. In this image that cross can be seen in the Ankh so it does seem to have some ancient Egyptian roots:

Here are other variants:


And some more: http://users.stlcc.edu/mfuller/philaecoptic.html

Sorry to resurrect this thread but weren't those crosses found on many Ancient Egyptian temples because the early Egyptians Christians were hiding form their Roman oppressors in the ancient Tombs? I know I have seen many of these types before in Egypt.
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