cross (pictured here) has a long history. It has been associated with the Order
of Knights of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, also known as the "Knights
Hospitaller." This order began with the establishment of a hospital in Jerusalem,
and has long been associated with caregiving, but also took on military duties,
eventually becoming a powerful, military force with vast properties and great
wealth. Thus this cross reflects the sometimes contradicatory dimensions of organized
Christianity: its militancy and also its compassion. After the fall of Jerusalem
in 1187, the Knights of St. John moved to the island of Malta. Today, in the US,
the Maltese Cross is also used as a symbol by firefighters.
has been an important Christian symbol, not only because of the fact that Jesus
included several fishermen in his close circle, but also because The initial letters
of each word in the Greek phrase "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior"
form the word ICHTHUS, which means "fish."
The Ankh Cross The Ankh Cross is an ancient Egyptian symbol
for life, combining the feminine circle and masculine staff to form the whole.
It was adapted by early Christians because of its resemblance to the cross.
Some of the images on this page are the work of Walter E. Gast and are used with permission. For further information about copyright permissions please visit the Christian Symbols Home Page: http://www.planetgast.net/symbols/
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The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and
Executive Director of CrossCurrents.
He is the author of God and Science (John Knox Press, 1986).
A revised and expanded version of the book is appearing here. God and Science (Hypertext Edition,
He is also editor of a new book, featuring articles by world class scientists and theologians, and illustrating the leading views on the relationship between science and religion: Faith, Science and the Future (CrossCurrents Press, 2007).
Charles also tracks the boundry between the virtual and the real at his blog: Next World Design, focusing on the mediation of art, science and spirituality in the metaverse.