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Author Topic: What does the top of the Ethiopian Orthodox Cross mean?  (Read 3786 times) Average Rating: 0
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zekarja
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« on: October 18, 2011, 10:26:00 AM »

What does the top of the Ethiopian Orthodox Cross (worn on the neck) mean? It looks like a crown. Here is a picture of what I mean:
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2011, 11:03:04 AM »


I once attended a lecture of Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox.

I asked the priest the exact same question, and he told me it was simply decorative.

I also asked why the icons were created where the people's eyes were abnormally large and round, etc....he also had no explanation, just said it was the style.

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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2011, 11:04:30 AM »

Thanks, LizaSymonenko!
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2011, 03:20:00 PM »

I also asked why the icons were created where the people's eyes were abnormally large and round, etc....he also had no explanation, just said it was the style.
Maybe because the eyes are a major part of human facial recognition in the visual cortex.
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2011, 04:01:43 PM »

ok, in coptic iconography, the eyes are always big and the mouths small, because we should be looking and thinking and meditating, not talking all the time.
so i expect the ethiopian cross has specific symbolism as well, keep asking.
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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2011, 09:26:55 PM »

To me it resembles arms crossed as when receiving communion, but I do not know if this is an Ethiopian Orthodox practice.
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2011, 10:53:30 PM »

selam all
Selam Zekarja
Mark Thomas Good job!!! you got one part down Grin
the four little things sticking out represent the four Gospels , preached to the four directions of the world, the Ethiopian tradition of crossing arms is first you send the right to the left shoulder, as Adam went from paradise to the world, then the left to the right shoulder as Adam has moved from Seoul to Paradise by the Cross of our Lord there is a top that gives it a look of a crown, because the message of the Gospel is a message of the Everlasting Kingdom of Christ the Victorious!

I hope that answers your question my dear
Selam to you!
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« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2011, 11:01:14 PM »

^
Beautiful.
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« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2011, 01:58:55 AM »

As are all her posts
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« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2011, 03:17:27 AM »

I love Ethiopian Crosses, this is the one I have.




They are hard to find! I first tried to get one in the Washington D.C. /Va/Maryland area, but at the time I was only able to find wooden ones. I had to travel to Indianapolis to get this one.
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« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2011, 03:35:52 AM »

selam all
Selam Zekarja
Mark Thomas Good job!!! you got one part down Grin
the four little things sticking out represent the four Gospels , preached to the four directions of the world, the Ethiopian tradition of crossing arms is first you send the right to the left shoulder, as Adam went from paradise to the world, then the left to the right shoulder as Adam has moved from Seoul to Paradise by the Cross of our Lord there is a top that gives it a look of a crown, because the message of the Gospel is a message of the Everlasting Kingdom of Christ the Victorious!

I hope that answers your question my dear
Selam to you!


Selam Hiwot! Thank you for this explanation.

As for the question of the eyes, I have heard that the large eyes in Ethiopian icons represent holiness or theosis, similar to what the halo represents. Can you confirm this?


Selam
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« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2011, 04:33:02 AM »

selam all
Selam Zekarja
Mark Thomas Good job!!! you got one part down Grin
the four little things sticking out represent the four Gospels , preached to the four directions of the world, the Ethiopian tradition of crossing arms is first you send the right to the left shoulder, as Adam went from paradise to the world, then the left to the right shoulder as Adam has moved from Seoul to Paradise by the Cross of our Lord there is a top that gives it a look of a crown, because the message of the Gospel is a message of the Everlasting Kingdom of Christ the Victorious!

I hope that answers your question my dear
Selam to you!


Selam Hiwot! Thank you for this explanation.

As for the question of the eyes, I have heard that the large eyes in Ethiopian icons represent holiness or theosis, similar to what the halo represents. Can you confirm this?


Selam


Selam Gebre
yes when the iconography is correctly done in the one known tradition the eyes are bigger the mouth smaller and closed, the face is rounder and both eyes must be seen, as the saints see clearly in the Holy Spirit that is united to them, as the saints are the expression of the fullness of humanity that is gained in Christ  most of their face is  seen especially both eyes, the depiction of the sinners is half faced because of the disfigured nature of the fallen humanity that is not united with Christ, with one eye only the eye of the flesh their mouth open their lack of peace and stillness, and the defilement by words that came out of a hardend heart, their skin gray, or dark having been separated from the deifying light of Christ.

selam Hunu Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2011, 11:13:10 AM »

I've been told we eat dates on Coptic New Year because it symbolizes martyrdom (red skin) with purity (white flesh) and a rock of faith (the seed).

OOOORRRR...this is originally centuries old cultural fruit that has been Christened by the Church later to mean something

I think iconography carries a certain style that later people decided to give meaning to.
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« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2011, 12:14:42 PM »

I took this photo a few weeks ago at the British Museum in the Coptic section.

You will see that this early funerary mask has many features which are similar to the iconography which developed in later centuries. This seems to show that to a great extent iconography developed from and used aspects of existing artistic language and culture.

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« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2011, 12:43:00 PM »

I took this photo a few weeks ago at the British Museum in the Coptic section.

You will see that this early funerary mask has many features which are similar to the iconography which developed in later centuries. This seems to show that to a great extent iconography developed from and used aspects of existing artistic language and culture.



 Grin

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,34189.msg532288.html#msg532288
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« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2011, 07:39:47 PM »

Thank you everyone, especially Hiwot! Awesome symbolism! Cool
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« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2011, 08:04:19 PM »

They are hard to find! I first tried to get one in the Washington D.C. /Va/Maryland area, but at the time I was only able to find wooden ones. I had to travel to Indianapolis to get this one.

I found my Ethiopian Orthodox Cross at an antic shop in Vermont for $30. It's made of silver and was a pleasant surprise. Glory to God! Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2011, 09:15:02 PM »

[...]from Seoul to Paradise by the Cross of our Lord [...]

Korea?
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« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2011, 11:02:41 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
selam all
Selam Zekarja
Mark Thomas Good job!!! you got one part down Grin
the four little things sticking out represent the four Gospels , preached to the four directions of the world, the Ethiopian tradition of crossing arms is first you send the right to the left shoulder, as Adam went from paradise to the world, then the left to the right shoulder as Adam has moved from Seoul to Paradise by the Cross of our Lord there is a top that gives it a look of a crown, because the message of the Gospel is a message of the Everlasting Kingdom of Christ the Victorious!

I hope that answers your question my dear
Selam to you!

Yes, the four corners can also symbolize the Four Archangels who bear God's throne.  I wear an "Aksumite" cross where the four corners/gospels are united by an outer box which explains that the Four Gospels interact in harmony as one.  The two "wings" on the bottoms can be representative of the Grace of the Holy Spirit. There are sometimes woodwork or even branches which may symbolize both the wood of the cross and also the wood of the grapevine in connection with the Holy Communion. The box at the base symbolize the Tabot/Ark of the Covenant which therefore also is symbolic if each persons individual relationship with their individual parish which has her own individual tabot. The interlocking weave/mesh patterns are of the Eternity of God, as are the spiral patterns in the larger Processional Crosses (which are actually quite hypnotic). Also,  aren't the three "crowned" corners symbolic of the Holy Trinity?

Great answer for the top, so it really is a Crown symbolic of the victory of the Gospels through the Cross? Beautiful!  What about the six points surrounding the crown, could these be the wings of the Archangels? There is also sometimes two interlocking or meshed "ropes" which I've read symbolize the Tewahedo union of the Two-Natures to the One, however on the cross pictured there is another smaller cross in the middle. 

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2011, 12:19:34 AM »


the depiction of the sinners is half faced because of the disfigured nature of the fallen humanity that is not united with Christ, with one eye only the eye of the flesh their mouth open their lack of peace and stillness, and the defilement by words that came out of a hardend heart, their skin gray, or dark having been separated from the deifying light of Christ.

selam Hunu Smiley

Selam, Hiwot! You're a wonderful teacher, thank you!

We might even give analogy to the children of the half-moon who are sinning day after day in half-darkness, boasting with earthly wisdom.

Thanks

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« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2011, 09:05:21 AM »

A Native American rapper I know of loves Coptic and Ethiopian crosses.
http://youtu.be/uheovEqv_GY (I don't know where he gets them from, but he has a number of them)

He goes by the name BRUTHA WAR or Sometimes Brutha War Baby
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« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2011, 09:09:53 AM »

Ebay always has lots of Ethiopian crosses for sale

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=ethiopian+cross+pendant&_sacat=0&_odkw=ethiopian+cross&_osacat=0&_trksid=p3286.c0.m270.l1313
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« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2011, 09:11:15 AM »


Thanks Father!
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« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2011, 06:28:14 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
selam all
Selam Zekarja
Mark Thomas Good job!!! you got one part down Grin
the four little things sticking out represent the four Gospels , preached to the four directions of the world, the Ethiopian tradition of crossing arms is first you send the right to the left shoulder, as Adam went from paradise to the world, then the left to the right shoulder as Adam has moved from Seoul to Paradise by the Cross of our Lord there is a top that gives it a look of a crown, because the message of the Gospel is a message of the Everlasting Kingdom of Christ the Victorious!

I hope that answers your question my dear
Selam to you!

Yes, the four corners can also symbolize the Four Archangels who bear God's throne.  I wear an "Aksumite" cross where the four corners/gospels are united by an outer box which explains that the Four Gospels interact in harmony as one.  The two "wings" on the bottoms can be representative of the Grace of the Holy Spirit. There are sometimes woodwork or even branches which may symbolize both the wood of the cross and also the wood of the grapevine in connection with the Holy Communion. The box at the base symbolize the Tabot/Ark of the Covenant which therefore also is symbolic if each persons individual relationship with their individual parish which has her own individual tabot. The interlocking weave/mesh patterns are of the Eternity of God, as are the spiral patterns in the larger Processional Crosses (which are actually quite hypnotic). Also,  aren't the three "crowned" corners symbolic of the Holy Trinity?

Great answer for the top, so it really is a Crown symbolic of the victory of the Gospels through the Cross? Beautiful!  What about the six points surrounding the crown, could these be the wings of the Archangels? There is also sometimes two interlocking or meshed "ropes" which I've read symbolize the Tewahedo union of the Two-Natures to the One, however on the cross pictured there is another smaller cross in the middle. 

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Selam to All Smiley

Selam Habte Smiley

Correct on the Axumite Cross, and yes on the three symbolising the Holy Trinity. the Six  with three on each side sticking out represent  what in our tradition call the 6 Commandments of the Gospel found in Matthew 25:35-36 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

The Lalibela Cross has 12  Apostles 6 on each side and Christ at the top/in the  middle, the two wings  representing  the Holy Spirit, The Ark at the bottom connected to the inside Cross at the top  and to the apostles representing  Christ  and His Church. the two holes which ascend and curl inside towards the internal cross ,the old representation of the cross what we call " Betre Musse" the Staff of Mosses, which depicts the bronze serepent that he made so Israel can look and be saved. on the procession cross the  burial shroud is represented in those holes, in that the cross also proclaims  not only the death but also the resurrection.

selam hunu. Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2011, 06:33:09 PM »

[...]from Seoul to Paradise by the Cross of our Lord [...]

Korea?

selam Akimori makoto  Grin

as you can see I can not spell LOL My bad, I apologise , but I am sure Adam would have liked it if he went to Korea instead of the abyss  Wink

selam to you Smiley
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« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2013, 01:08:40 PM »

I love Ethiopian Crosses, this is the one I have.




They are hard to find! I first tried to get one in the Washington D.C. /Va/Maryland area, but at the time I was only able to find wooden ones. I had to travel to Indianapolis to get this one.

Hiwot, what does the symbolism of my cross mean? I was trying to explain it to someone, but I want to make sure I got it right.
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« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2013, 01:24:09 PM »

I love Ethiopian Crosses, this is the one I have.




They are hard to find! I first tried to get one in the Washington D.C. /Va/Maryland area, but at the time I was only able to find wooden ones. I had to travel to Indianapolis to get this one.

Hiwot, what does the symbolism of my cross mean? I was trying to explain it to someone, but I want to make sure I got it right.



selam Jnorm,

your cross basicaly says the Eternal Kingdom of Christ rules by the Commandment of Love. the 6 Commandments of the Gospel are at the top, then you have Christ the head. all of them are tide by the internal cross, Christ's and yours. the bottom part tells you this Kingdom is Eternal and reigns over All.

Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2013, 02:19:30 PM »

I love Ethiopian Crosses, this is the one I have.




They are hard to find! I first tried to get one in the Washington D.C. /Va/Maryland area, but at the time I was only able to find wooden ones. I had to travel to Indianapolis to get this one.

Hiwot, what does the symbolism of my cross mean? I was trying to explain it to someone, but I want to make sure I got it right.



selam Jnorm,

your cross basicaly says the Eternal Kingdom of Christ rules by the Commandment of Love. the 6 Commandments of the Gospel are at the top, then you have Christ the head. all of them are tide by the internal cross, Christ's and yours. the bottom part tells you this Kingdom is Eternal and reigns over All.

Smiley


That is beautiful Hiwot! Haile Meskel!!!

By the way, what are the 6 commandments of the Gospel?  Forgive my ignorance. Huh (Never mind, I saw you already stated it above. Give thanks!)



Selam
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« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2013, 02:20:24 PM »

I love Ethiopian Crosses, this is the one I have.




They are hard to find! I first tried to get one in the Washington D.C. /Va/Maryland area, but at the time I was only able to find wooden ones. I had to travel to Indianapolis to get this one.

Hiwot, what does the symbolism of my cross mean? I was trying to explain it to someone, but I want to make sure I got it right.



selam Jnorm,

your cross basicaly says the Eternal Kingdom of Christ rules by the Commandment of Love. the 6 Commandments of the Gospel are at the top, then you have Christ the head. all of them are tide by the internal cross, Christ's and yours. the bottom part tells you this Kingdom is Eternal and reigns over All.

Smiley

Oh snap! does it really mean that? Cool! I was wearing it all this time and never knew it said all that! Oh snap!

Thanks Hiwot! This means so much to me! I thank you a hundred times!  Grin
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« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2013, 02:45:49 PM »

I love Ethiopian Crosses, this is the one I have.




They are hard to find! I first tried to get one in the Washington D.C. /Va/Maryland area, but at the time I was only able to find wooden ones. I had to travel to Indianapolis to get this one.

Hiwot, what does the symbolism of my cross mean? I was trying to explain it to someone, but I want to make sure I got it right.



selam Jnorm,

your cross basicaly says the Eternal Kingdom of Christ rules by the Commandment of Love. the 6 Commandments of the Gospel are at the top, then you have Christ the head. all of them are tide by the internal cross, Christ's and yours. the bottom part tells you this Kingdom is Eternal and reigns over All.

Smiley

Oh snap! does it really mean that? Cool! I was wearing it all this time and never knew it said all that! Oh snap!

Thanks Hiwot! This means so much to me! I thank you a hundred times!  Grin

you are most welcome! the pleasure is all mine. Smiley I'm glad I could be of help.
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To God be the Glory in all things! Amen!

Only pray for me, that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. St.Ignatius of Antioch.Epistle to the Romans.
Tags: Ethiopian Orthodox Church Holy Cross 
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