The Coptic Cross: ancient roots but very Christian

The Coptic religion is a branch of Eastern Catholicism mainly present in Egypt and the Middle East.

It differs in particular rites, which culturally are very close to Eastern and Arab traditions in general and are therefore very different from what we can see in the rest of the world. The symbols she uses are also different.

The Coptic cross is a wonderful example of this.

Contents :

The Coptic cross: symbol of life in the East

The cross handle: from Egyptian mythology to Coptic churches

The Ethiopian cross: the originality of the origins of Christianity

Egyptian priests in Coptic clothing in front of an oriental church.

The Coptic cross: symbol of life in the East

The Coptic cross is known to have been used in manuscripts and illuminations of many forms. One of the most famous resembles a pagan symbol from ancient Egypt: the Ankh cross.

In reality, some Christians have a long history, some of which can be traced to religions that preceded Christ.

Because some pagans who had not yet had the chance to be evangelized still had a desire to meet God, certain analyzes and ways of seeing the world can be common with Christians.

It is in this vein that the Coptic cross fits. If this kind of reflection interests you, here is an article from the site carin.info which talks about the complex relationship between Christianity and Paganism.

Some see it as a common symbol of life and renewal. The message would then be that of a new spiritual life offered by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.

For others, the Coptic cross shows us through its circle that God has neither beginning nor end. This can, for example, remind us of the meaning of “alpha and omega”.

In short, far from being a pagan symbol, the Coptic cross is a real subject of study which fascinates many Christians around the world.

If you are one of those curious Christians, here is a collection of objects of piety that should speak to you.

A statuette of a pharaonic cat, an amulet that shows an eye of Horus and hieroglyphics, and the goddess Isis as a pendant

New esoteric knowledge

Thanks to the secrets of Egyptian symbols

Discover

The cross handle: from Egyptian mythology to Coptic churches

The Ankh cross, sometimes also called an ankh, is formed from a capital "T" with a circle on top. Others will describe it more as a basic Christian cross, its upper branch having been replaced by a circle.

Besides the question of its description, the way in which the ansée cross came into existence is also subject to debate. Some archaeologists and historians believe it could represent the path of the sun across the horizon, or the strap of a sandal, or even the combination of simple symbols associated with male and female genitalia.

Regardless, there is a good chance that cross handles come from a pre-Christian pagan culture: ancient Egypt. The handle cross is most likely linked to hand mirrors, accessories very popular at the time of the pharaohs and rich in symbolism.

In Egyptian, the word ankh can be translated as “life” or “mirror”. There is therefore a good chance that the cross has a meaning prior to Christ. At this level, all interpretations are allowed...

It doesn't matter in the end! The fact is that this symbol has long been recovered by the Coptic Christian Church which attributed to it all the symbolism of the Holy Cross.

This will probably not please a Catholic, and even less so a Protestant, but its religious meaning remains pious nonetheless.

Do not be afraid: as long as you give more weight to its present meaning than to its past, there is no reason why the anchored cross cannot serve as an object of piety like any other cross..

Clearly, such a pendant (a Coptic cross model that we found) has everything Christian about it!

Community of Ethiopian faithful praying in front of a large golden cross.

The Ethiopian cross: the originality of the origins of Christianity

As a representation and reminder of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the cross is the universal symbol of Christianity, regardless of which branches we are talking about. The message of the Ethiopian crosses therefore does not fundamentally differ from that of other crosses.

A few years after the death of Christ, the apostles scattered to the four corners of the known world to spread the news of the Gospel. Ethiopia was one of the first countries to convert and recognize the one God. The Ethiopian cross therefore tells us a lot about the history of a primitive Christianity that remained relatively pure.

In a short time, religion took on an important place in this African country, a place which has remained until today. Egypt too saw Copts, as did the Byzantine Empire, but Ethiopia clearly stands out.

The Ethiopian Church has thus developed, over several hundred years, its own liturgy, a particular educational system, a monastic tradition unique in the world... In short, it has stood out from the rest of Christianity. Obviously, this is also noticeable in the Ethiopian cross.

As a general rule, the country's religious art is distinguished by its richness and highly sought-after ornaments. Thus, the Ethiopian cross is often composed of complex geometric patterns. The materials chosen will be gold and silver and the ceremonies which will use them will consist of sumptuous processions.

So look at this cross and compare it to the other Christian jewelry on our site and it will jump out at you: it is much more richly decorated, almost sumptuous.

In short, even if the kings and leaders of Ethiopia sometimes relied on the symbol of the Ethiopian cross to establish their power, the fact is that the faithful tried to stay as close as possible to the original message of the Gospels.

So, even though there may have been political messages behind it, the Ethiopian cross remained synonymous with a moral order that God showed us. In a modern society which tends to move us ever further away from the morality that the Christian religion brings us, the Christian cross, such a very precious cross.

Lucky charms featured in this article

Pendant with a Coptic cross

Pendant with a Coptic cross

See more
author picture(Cyril Gendarme)

Discover the author: Cyril Gendarme

Cyril Gendarme is a writer whose website "The Lucky Door" ("La Porte Du Bonheur" in French, his native language) has become a reference in the field of esotericism. Born in Belgium, Cyril has been attracted to the mysteries of the world since he was a child. When his interest in occultism was awakened, a particular subject caught his attention: lucky charms.

After years of study and in-depth research on esoteric traditions from around the world, Cyril decided to share his knowledge with the public through the internet. In 2019, he launched "The Lucky Door," a website dedicated to exploring lucky charms, magical symbols, and esoteric arts.

The Lucky Door is much more than just a showcase for those curious about magic, divination, or tradition. It is the result of Cyril's passion for researching and understanding the mysteries of the universe. Every piece of information available on the site testifies to his dedication to sharing his knowledge of the most hidden symbols and their unique powers.

In addition to his online work, Cyril regularly organizes workshops and conferences in different countries. His presence on social media is also highly appreciated, where he offers personalized advice and happily answers questions from his community.