Cross


Cross
/kraws, kros/, n.
Wilbur Lucius, 1862-1948, U.S. educator: governor of Connecticut 1931-39.

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I
Principal symbol of Christianity, recalling the crucifixion of Jesus.

There are four basic iconogaphic representations: the crux quadrata, or Greek cross, with four equal arms; the crux immissa, or Latin cross, with a base stem longer than the other arms; the crux commissa (St. Anthony's cross), resembling the Greek letter tau (T); and the crux decussataa (St. Andrew's cross), resembling the Roman numeral 10 (X). Tradition holds that the crux immissa was used for Christ's crucifixion. Coptic Christians used the ancient Egyptian ankh. Displaying the cross was not common before Constantine I abolished crucifixion in the 4th century. A crucifix shows Christ's figure on a cross and is typical of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Making the sign of the cross with the hand may be a profession of faith, prayer, dedication, or benediction.
II
(as used in expressions)
cross country running
cross country skiing
cross fertilization
John of the Cross Saint
International Red Cross
International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent
Earth crossing asteroid

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▪ religious symbol
      the principal symbol of the Christian religion, recalling the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the redeeming benefits of his Passion and death. The cross is thus a sign both of Christ himself and of the faith of Christians. In ceremonial usage, making a sign of the cross (cross, sign of the) may be, according to the context, an act of profession of faith, a prayer, a dedication, or a benediction.

    There are four basic types of iconographic representations of the cross: the crux quadrata, or Greek cross, with four equal arms; the crux immissa, or Latin cross, whose base stem is longer than the other three arms; the crux commissa, in the form of the Greek letter tau, sometimes called St. Anthony's cross; and crux decussata, named from the Roman decussis, or symbol of the numeral 10, also known as St. Andrew's cross. Tradition favours the crux immissa as that on which Christ died, but some believe that it was a crux commissa. The many variations and ornamentations of processional, altar, and heraldic crosses, of carved and painted crosses in churches, graveyards, and elsewhere, are developments of these four types.

  Cross forms were used as symbols, religious or otherwise, long before the Christian Era, but it is not always clear whether they were simply marks of identification or possession or were significant for belief and worship. Two pre-Christian cross forms have had some vogue in Christian usage. The ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol of life—the ankh, a tau cross surmounted by a loop and known as crux ansata—was adopted and extensively used on Coptic Christian monuments. The swastika, called crux gammata, composed of four Greek capitals of the letter gamma, is marked on many early Christian tombs as a veiled symbol of the cross.

      Before the time of the emperor Constantine (Constantine I) in the 4th century, Christians were extremely reticent about portraying the cross because too open a display of it might expose them to ridicule or danger. After Constantine converted to Christianity, he abolished crucifixion as a death penalty and promoted, as symbols of the Christian faith, both the cross and the chi-rho monogram of the name of Christ. The symbols became immensely popular in Christian art and funerary monuments from c. 350.

      For several centuries after Constantine, Christian devotion to the cross centred on the victory of Christ over the powers of evil and death, and realistic portrayal of his suffering was avoided. The earliest crucifixes (crosses containing a representation of Christ) depict Christ alive, with eyes open and arms extended, his Godhead manifest, even though he is pierced and dead in his manhood. By the 9th century, however, artists began to stress the realistic aspects of Christ's suffering and death. Subsequently, Western portrayals of the Crucifixion, whether painted or carved, exhibited an increasing finesse in the suggestion of pain and agony. Romanesque crucifixes often show a royal crown upon Christ's head, but later Gothic types replaced it with a crown of thorns. In the 20th century a new emphasis emerged in Roman Catholicism, especially for crucifixes in liturgical settings. Christ on the cross is crowned and vested as a king and priest, and the marks of his suffering are much less prominent.

      After the 16th-century Protestant Reformation, the Lutherans (Lutheranism) generally retained the ornamental and ceremonial use of the cross. The Reformed churches (Reformed church), however, resisted such use of the cross until the 20th century, when ornamental crosses on church buildings and on communion tables began to appear. The Church of England (England, Church of) retained the ceremonial signing with the cross in the rite of Baptism. Since the mid-19th century, Anglican (Anglicanism) churches have witnessed a revival of the use of the cross. The crucifix, however, is almost entirely confined to private devotional use. See also True Cross; crucifixion.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • cross — [ krɔs ] n. m. • 1892; de cross country 1 ♦ Course à pied en terrain varié et difficile, avec des obstacles. Faire du cross. Champion de cross. ♢ Épreuve disputée sur un tel parcours. Disputer les cross de la saison. Fam. Parcours fait en courant …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Cross — (kr[o^]s), a. 1. Not parallel; lying or falling athwart; transverse; oblique; intersecting. [1913 Webster] The cross refraction of the second prism. Sir I. Newton. [1913 Webster] 2. Not accordant with what is wished or expected; interrupting;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cross — [krôs, kräs] n. [< ME cros & crois; cros < OE cros & ON kross, both < OIr cros < L crux (gen. crucis), a cross < IE * kreuk , extension of base * (s)ker , to turn, bend > L curvus; ME crois < OFr < L crux] 1. an upright… …   English World dictionary

  • Cross — (kr[o^]s; 115), n. [OE. crois, croys, cros; the former fr. OF. crois, croiz, F. croix, fr. L. crux; the second is perh. directly fr. Prov. cros, crotz. fr. the same L. crux; cf. Icel. kross. Cf. {Crucial}, {Crusade}, {Cruise}, {Crux}.] [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Cross — (engl. = Kreuz) steht für: einen Familiennamen; Namensträger siehe Cross (Familienname) Cross (Boxen), eine Schlagtechnik beim Boxen Cross, beim Tennis ein diagonal geschlagener Ball The Cross, eine britische Band Crossrad ein Zwischen oder… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • cross — ► NOUN 1) a mark, object, or figure formed by two short intersecting lines or pieces (+ or x). 2) an upright post with a transverse bar, as used in antiquity for crucifixion. 3) a cross shaped decoration awarded for bravery or indicating rank in… …   English terms dictionary

  • cross — cross·abil·i·ty; cross·able; cross·ette; cross·ite; cross·jack; cross·ly; cross·ness; cross·tie; cross·ways; cross·word·er; re·cross; un·cross; au·to·cross; cross·court; mo·to·cross; criss·cross; cross·er; in·ter·cross; poly·cross; cross·tied; …   English syllables

  • cross — I (disagree with) verb act in opposition to, argue, be opposed to, collide, conflict with, confront, confute, contend, contest, contradict, contravene, controvert, debate, defy, dispute, gainsay, homini obsistere, make a stand against, neutralize …   Law dictionary

  • Cross — Cross, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Crossed} (kr[o^]st; 115); p. pr. & vb. n. {Crossing}.] 1. To put across or athwart; to cause to intersect; as, to cross the arms. [1913 Webster] 2. To lay or draw something, as a line, across; as, to cross the letter t …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Cross.tv — Type Private Founded Vienna, Austria Founder Andreas Kisslinger Stefan Jager Headquarters …   Wikipedia


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