The Cross is one of the most important Roman Catholic emblems, symbolizing

the central mystery of Catholic belief. One must distinguish between a

Cross and a Crucifix.

The legend of finding the True Cross, while varying in details, was

accepted in essence by Sts. Ambrose, Chrystotum and Cyril. It states that

Constantine's mother, the Empress Helena, visited Jerusalem at the age of

79 (326 A.D.) She had excavations made at Calvary where three crosses were

found. Not knowing which was Jesus' Cross, they were applied in turn to a

sick woman. The one which effected her cure was to be the True Cross.

On Good Friday, there is a ceremony known as Adoration of the Cross. The

priest proclaims, "Look upon the wood of the Cross" and the people respond,

"Come, let us adore." The clergy and faithful then kiss the Cross.


Claude, the godly bishop of Turin, Italy, in the 8th century, said: "If we

are to worship a cross because Jesus died on one, we should worship a

manger because he lay in one or a donkey because he rode on one."



A Cross with a figure of Jesus fastened on it, one of the most used

sacramentals in the Church. It is required that a Crucifix be over an altar

where Mass is said. The priest often bows his head toward it during Mass.


Revised liturgical law says that a Cross should be near the altar. This

could mean a plain Cross, but a Crucifix is used in most Roman Catholic


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