Ethiopian crosses and their meanings

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ethiopian crosses and their meanings

A Contextual Reading of Ethiopian Crosses Through Form and Ritual: Kaleidoscopes of Meaning by Maria Evangelatou

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Published 12.12.2018

Ethiopian orthodox Christians mark the baptism of Jesus Christ

European missionaries brought Christianity to many parts of Africa, in parallel with colonialism. But this was not the case with Ethiopia. The kingdom was probably the second country after Armenia to embrace the Christian faith, when St.
Maria Evangelatou

A Contextual Reading of Ethiopian Crosses through Form and Ritual

No other symbol is as ever present as the cross in Ethiopian culture and no other country in the world has created such a vast quantity of cross designs as Ethiopia. The simple original intersection of two arms has developed into an infinite number of variations, inspired by the local culture, as well as by Byzantine and European motifs. The design and decoration of Ethiopian crosses have a spiritual meaning closely related to the deeply felt themes in the local Church, such as the Holy Trinity, the four Evangelists, the twelve Apostles. The majority of crosses are made of metal, but wood is also frequently used for their production. Crosses made from leather or stone are rare. Metallic crosses are, most of the times, made of iron.

Ethiopian Cross

Ethiopia is unique among Christian lands for the incomparable prominence of the cross in the life of its people and for the inexhaustible variety and intricacy of decorative patterns on cross-shaped objects of all kinds. - From jewelry to fabric, it's safe to say that you've probably seen these symbols around the fashion world for awhile. As the Ethiopian cross becomes a part of mainstream fashion, it's important to know what we're wearing and why this symbol is important.

A beautiful example of a pendant cross, early 20th century, solid high grade silver. Photo credit: Kashgar. The Ethiopian Orthodox church is one of the oldest in Christendom. It is believed by Ethiopians to date to at least the 1 st century, within memory of the living Christ, when Philip the Evangelist, one of seven Deacons of the new Christian Church, preached to and converted an Ethiopian official in the court of Queen Candace New Testament Acts [4]. The Ethiopian church flourished with little outside contact until the early fifteenth century.

Ethiopian crosses or Eritrean crosses are symbols of Christianity in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Their elaborate, stylized design is markedly distinct from the similar European Christian crosses. Crosses may be of the processional type with a socket at the base so they may be mounted on a staff and carried in church ceremonies or hand-held blessing crosses used by priests in benedictions. Brass, latticework processional cross socketed for staff from Amhara Region , mid 20th century. Brass, latticework processional cross socketed for staff latticework reminiscent of Celtic knot-work, Amhara Region , mid 20th century. Processional cross socketed for staff more open and figurative style less abstract than previous examples.

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