The Cross of Antioch

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The Cross of Antioch is a symbol which is held in common by the autonomous churches of the Antioch family. It has been, especially and primarily, the distinguishing logo of the Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch for many years, and, as such, is a trademark registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office.

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The Cross of Antioch presents a dynamic fusion of concepts in one harmonious image.

First and foremost is the Apostle’s Cross, proclaiming the living power of the Christian Faith. Here, the three buds at the end of each arm of the cross symbolize the twelve Apostles, and affirm the perpetual vitality of the apostolic teachings and gifts of the Spirit in the ‘four corners of the earth.’

The Rose at the center of the Cross symbolizes at once the love of Christ, his redeeming sacrifice, and the fire of the Holy Spirit. The green branches and leaves upon the Cross show the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit flowing from the central Rose to give life to the world, nurturing evolutionary and spiritual growth, and forming a channel that unites the celestial state and the material dimension in one bond of divine light.

The golden Halo of the Cross represents both the glory of Christ and the glory of the inner light of every person born into the world. This mystery is emphasized by the Halo’s position at the center of the five-rayed Star, for this Star calls to mind the structure of the Temple of Solomon – the two lower rays of the Star representing the pillars, and the three upper rays representing the three chambers of the Temple edifice – and it suggests the twofold and threefold structure of the faculties of the psyche as set forth by St. Augustine. Thus, in the present context, the Star is seen as an image of human spiritual nature considered as the personal ‘Temple of the Holy Spirit’. But not this alone, for the Star may also be seen as an image of human nature restored to its original and unsullied divine splendor; and just as the light of the sun is scattered by earth’s atmosphere, so that the sky is seen as blue, so too the Star is seen as blue, because it is irradiated with the light of Christ’s glory.

On the Lower arm of the Cross is shown a Triangle containing an arrangement of digits known as the Tetractys or Pythagorean Decad. The Tetractys is a philosophic paradigm which, from ancient times has been seen as an emblem of the totality of existences, and as an illustration of the progressive emanation of the categories and qualities of being from ‘the one’ to ‘the many’. In relation to the Cross of Antioch its pattern is composed of the Hebrew letter Yod repeated ten times. An affinity is hereby proclaimed with elements of the Qabalah, the mystical tradition of Israel, in which the ten modalities of being, called the ‘Sephiroth’, are shown in dynamic interaction, in an image known as ‘The Tree of Life’. The position of the Tetractys within the Triangle reminds us, that all the processes of creation, of manifestation and of increase, begin from, operate within, and are sustained by, the action of the Triune godhead.