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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Processional Cross

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or CROSS OF THE STATION (crux gestatoria, or stationaria), is the cross carried in the ecclesiastical processions spoken of under PROCESSIONS. It was carried as early as the 4th century and in the 5th century both in the East and in the West. It is mentioned by Socrates, Nicephorus, Cassiodorus, in the Life of St. Porphyry by Durand, and by Baronius under the year 401, and in the Canons of Cleveshoe in 747, when regulating the rogations. A cross made of ash, silver-plated, engraved or enamelled, without a crucifix, was at an early date, after the introduction of the labarum of Constantine, carried in processions by the staurophoros. The evangelistic symbols were usually set at the ends of the arms, which terminated in fleurs-de-lys. In the 4th century it had short handles, and candles were attached to the arms. Charlemagne gave such a cross, of pure gold, to the church of Constantine at Rome. In the 12th century at Rome a subdeacon (regionarius) carried down the cross, inclined so that the faithful might kiss it, from the altar to the porch, where he held it upright in his hands during the processions. In England, at Durham, the chief cross was of gold, with a silver staff, and the cross used on ordinary days was of crystal. A novice followed it, carrying a benitier. A cross of the 15th century is still preserved in St. John's Lateran; another, of the time of St. Louis, is at St. Denis; a third, of silver and beautiful designs, with statues and evangelistic symbols, at Conques; and another at Burgos. In England, no doubt, many were destroyed during the War of the Roses and at the Reformation. At Chichester the ambry for the cross remains. I

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Processional Cross'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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