Coptic cross

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The original Coptic cross can be traced to the Coptic ankh symbol and was adopted by early Christian Gnostics, most notably Valentinus of Alexandria, Egypt. Today's cross has many different forms. The circle represents the eternal and everlasting love of God. Christ's halo was commonly depicted with cross-based halo in the early and especially the eastern parts of Christianity. The full cross symbolizes Christ's crucifixion and resurrection.



Old Coptic crosses often incorporate a circle; sometimes large, sometimes small. The circle was inherited from the Ankh Cross, where it originally depicted the sun god. For the Coptic Church, the circle represents the eternal and everlasting love of God, as shown through Christ's crucifixion. It also symbolises Christ's halo and resurrection.[1]


When Bertran de la Farge (in La Croix occitane) located the original Occitan cross somewhere in the marquisate of Provence, probably Venasque. He argued it could be a mixture of the Constantinople cross and the Coptic cross,[2] which was brought to Provence by monks and maybe also through Saint Maurice.

Another form was called a "Coptic" cross by Rudolf Koch in his The Book of Signs (Dover); not be prominent in Coptic Christian symbolism in this form. Apparently sometimes the arms of the cross extend through the circle (dividing it into four quadrants).

Modern Form

The form used in the Coptic Church and defined as the Coptic cross is made up of two bold lines of equal length that intersect at the middle at right angles. At each angle are three points, representing the Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. All together, the cross has 12 points symbolizing the Apostles whose mission it was to spread the Gospel message throughout the world.[3]


The Coptic cross is widely used in the Coptic church and the Ethiopian and Eretrian churches. Many Copts have the cross tattooed on the inside of their right arm.[4] The Coptic cross in its modern and ancient forms is considered a sign of faith and pride to the Copts [5] The Ethiopians Christians wear it as a symbol of faith.[6]

In 1984, a Coptic Cross was given as a gift by the Coptic Orthodox Church and mounted on the top of the All Africa Conference of Churches building, since the Coptic Church is considered to be the mother church in Africa[7]

One of the forms of the Coptic cross, which is referred to as the Ethiopian Coptic cross[8] was worn by Stevie Ray Vaughan [9]

Gallery of Coptic Crosses

See also