The Cross is the most easily recognised symbol used today in many contexts, both religious and secular. It is one of the more prolific motifs to be found in a graveyard setting. It resembles a traditional cross in every way, but has the addition of a ring around the intersection of the stem and arms. Sometimes the cross is set on a tall base to resemble more closely the traditional Christian cross, and at other times the symbol stands alone. The cross is sometimes nothing more than a simple ‘stick’ drawing on a gravestone or at a religious site.

 

The Cross is also called the ‘sun cross’ by those who interpret the ring to represent the sun. These crosses are decorated with what is known as ‘Insular’ art, which is characterized by elaborately interlacing bands. This style of art is closely associated with both Celtic Christianity and Irish monasticism. As such, many of these crosses depict scenes from the Bible. Irish legend says that the Celtic cross was first introduced by St. Patrick in an attempt to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity. As many of the pagans viewed the sun as their primary deity St. Patrick combined the Christian cross with the circular pattern of the sun as a way to associate light and life with the Christian cross in the minds of his converts. Another story has St. Patrick marking the pagan symbol of the moon goddess (a circle) with a cross, and blessing the stone, making the first Celtic cross. Others suggest that by laying the symbol of the cross over the symbol of the sun, Christians were illustrating the supremacy of Christ over the sun god or moon goddess.

 

It is believed that the four arms of the cross may also represent the four elements, that is, the earth, air, fire and water.  They also represent the four directions of the compass, North, South, East and West.  And finally the four parts of man, mind, soul, heart and body.

 

But perhaps there is a more practical reason for its construction. As the circle connects the arms of the cross to the stem, it results in making the whole design architecturally stronger, thus preventing the stone cross from snapping in half so easily.

 

 

The Old Fortrose Cross
The Old Fortrose Cross
Fortrose Old Cemetery, Fortrose
The Gaelic Chapel Cross 1
The Gaelic Chapel Cross 1
Gaelic Chapel, Cromarty
The Gaelic Chapel Cross 2
The Gaelic Chapel Cross 2
Gaelic Chapel Yard, Cromarty
The Gaelic Chapel Cross 3
The Gaelic Chapel Cross 3
Gaelic Chapel Yard, Cromarty
The Grey Cross
The Grey Cross
Parish Churchyard, Rosemarkie
The Cross of Hearts 2
The Cross of Hearts 2
St. Clements, Dingwall
The Thistle Cross
The Thistle Cross
The Thistle Cross, Tomnahurich Cemetery, Inverness
Cross of Hearts 1
Cross of Hearts 1
St. Clements, Dingwall
The Speckled Cross
The Speckled Cross
Parish Churchyard, Rosemarkie
The Fallen Cross
The Fallen Cross
Cullicudden Old Churchyard, Cullicudden
The Cross
The Cross
Chapel Yard, Inverness
The Lichen Cross
The Lichen Cross
Kirkhill Burial Ground, Kirkhill, Nr Beauty.
Celtic Cross 4
Celtic Cross 4
Fortrose Old Burial Ground, Fortrose
And Stretch to the Right
And Stretch to the Right
St.Marys RC Church and Burial Ground, Eskadale
A Grassy Fall
A Grassy Fall
St Mary's RC Church and Burial Ground, Eskadale.
The Eskadale Pinwheel
The Eskadale Pinwheel
St Mary's RC Church and Burial Ground, Eskadale.
The Rosemarkie Stone
The Rosemarkie Stone
The Rosemarkie Stone, Groam House Museum, Rosemarkie
The Burnished Cross
The Burnished Cross
Tomnahurich Cemetery, Inverness
The Vine Scroll Cross
The Vine Scroll Cross
Groam House Museum, Rosemarkie
The Fallen Compass
The Fallen Compass
Tomnahurich Cemetery, Inverness
Nigg Cavalry Cross
Nigg Cavalry Cross
Nigg Old Church, Nigg, Ross-shire
Reclined Cavalry Cross
Reclined Cavalry Cross
Cullicudden Burial Ground, Cullicudden, Ross-shire
The Saltire
The Saltire
Chapel Yard, Inverness
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