The baptismal cross, meticulously crafted from bronze, brass, yellow metal, or copper, embodies the sacred symbolism of Christian initiation and heralds the glory of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Adorned with a spear and a stem of hyssop, this cross carries a profound message of redemption. Inscribed upon it are the words that resound with divine majesty: “King of glory, Jesus Christ, Son of God.” This powerful proclamation encapsulates the central role of Jesus as the exalted ruler and the divine incarnate who bestows salvation upon humanity.
Turning our attention to the back of the cross, we find the timeless words of Psalm 68:1/2, which echo the triumph of God over His enemies: “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; And let those who hate Him flee before Him.” These verses resonate with the eternal power and sovereignty of God, signifying His victorious reign and the dispersion of all opposition to His divine authority.
The baptismal cross follows the distinctive design of the Russian cross, also known as the Orthodox cross, Byzantine cross, or Slavic cross. In heraldry, it stands as a unique variation of the Latin cross, characterized by its two horizontal arms and one inclined arm.
The uppermost, shorter cross arm embodies the titulus board, reminiscent of the inscription affixed to the cross during Jesus’ crucifixion. The initials INRI, derived from the Latin phrase “Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum” meaning “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews,” affirm His regal status even in the face of suffering and death.
The longer middle cross arm serves as the point of attachment for the arms of the crucified, symbolizing the selfless sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for the salvation of humanity. It represents His loving embrace and unwavering dedication to the redemption of all who believe in Him.
The inclined lower cross arm signifies the suppedaneum, the supporting footplate or footstool upon which the crucified were placed. It serves as a reminder of the humility and grounding of Christ’s sacrifice, as well as the foundation of faith upon which His followers build their lives.
Though the passage of time may have worn away some of the inscription on the cross, its enduring significance remains unaltered. The faded letters bear witness to the sacred journey of this baptismal cross, carrying with it the history of countless believers and their commitment to their faith.
In its weathered beauty, this baptismal cross speaks volumes about the enduring power of the Christian message. It serves as a tangible link to the past, evoking the devotion and dedication of those who have gone before, and inspiring present and future generations to embrace their faith and proclaim the glory of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to the world.