Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Cross, generally consisting of a vertical limb crossed by a horizontal one, was an instrument of punishment formerly used as a means of inflicting what was an undignified and degrading death. By its employment as the Saviour's death-instrument it was elevated into a position of respect and regard among most Christian bodies. Other races than Christian have attached a symbolism to the Cross, and have respected it. The most usual forms of cross are (1) the Latin Cross, in which the cross-bar is near the top of the upright; (2) the Greek Cross (called also St. George's), in which the limbs cross at the centre and are of equal length; (3) St. Anthony's Cross, which resembles the Greek letter T; (4) St. Andrew's Cross, shaped thus X; (5) the Maltese or eight-pointed cross; but there are many other varieties, both in ecclesiastical and heraldic and ornamental use. The many market-crosses, preaching-crosses, and monumental-crosses scattered about the world have in some countries suffered much through sectarian zeal. The crosses in memory of good Queen Eleanor plead for preservation to the sentimental side of human nature, and have met with some consideration. The Fiery Cross of the Scottish Highlands has been made familiar to us by Scott, astronomy has its Southern Cross, and orders of knighthood have their Grand Cross. The Invention of the Cross, i.e. its discovery in 326 A.D. by St. Helena, is commemorated on the 3rd of May. The word is also used metaphorically to denote trial or trouble. As a verb, the word signifies ecclesiastically to sign with the sign of the cross. Alice Brand in the ballad crossed the dwarf Urgan once, twice, and thrice before he resumed his original shape as her brother.