Instrument of Jesus' executionJohn Pearson (bishop), John Pearson, Bishop of Chester (c. 1660) wrote in his commentary on the Apostles' Creed that the Greek word ''stauros'' originally signified "a straight standing Stake, Pale, or Palisador", but that, "when other transverse or prominent parts were added in a perfect Cross, it retained still the Original Name", and he declared: "The Form then of the Cross on which our Saviour suffered was not a simple, but a compounded, Figure, according to the Custom of the ''Romans'', by whose Procurator he was condemned to die. In which there was not only a straight and erected piece of Wood fixed in the Earth, but also a transverse Beam fastened unto that towards the top thereof".
Early Christian usageThere are few extant examples of the cross in 2nd century Christian iconography. It has been argued that Christians were reluctant to use it as it depicts a purposely painful and gruesome method of public execution.''Christianity: an introduction''
In contemporary ChristianityFile:Salvadordelmundo.jpg, Cross on each side of the Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo pedestal Image:CROSS1601.JPG, A man holding several Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodox pectoral crosses In Christianity, communicants of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox Churches are expected to wear a cross necklace at all times; these are ordinarily given to believers at their baptism. Many Christians, such as those in the tradition of the Church of the East, continue the practice of hanging a Christian cross in their homes, often on the direction of prayer, east wall. Crosses or crucifixes are often the centre of a Christian family's home altar as well. Catholics, Eastern Orthodoxy, Orthodox Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, members of the major branches of Christianity with other adherents as Lutheranism and Anglicans, and others often make the Sign of the Cross upon themselves. This was already a common Christian practice in the time of Tertullian. The Feast of the Cross is an important Christian feast. One of the twelve Great Feasts in Eastern Orthodoxy, Orthodox Catholic is the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14, which commemorates the consecration of the basilica on the Holy Sepulchre, site where the True Cross, original cross of Jesus was reportedly discovered in 326 by Helena of Constantinople, mother of Constantine the Great. The Catholic Church celebrates the feast on the same day and under the same name (''In Exaltatione Sanctae Crucis''), though in English it has been called the feast of the Triumph of the Cross. Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Anglican bishops place a cross [+] before their name when signature, signing a document. The dagger (typography), dagger symbol (†) placed after the name of a dead person (often with the date of death) is sometimes taken to be a Christian cross. In many Christian traditions, such as the Methodist Churches, the altar cross sits atop or is suspended above the Altar#In Western Christian churches, altar table and is a focal point of the chancel. In many Baptist churches, a large cross hangs above the baptistry.
Rejection among various religious groupsAlthough Christians accepted that the cross was the gallows on which Jesus died, they had already begun in the 2nd century to use it as a Christian symbol. During the first three centuries of the Christian era the cross was "a symbol of minor importance" when compared to the prominence given to it later, but by the second century it was closely associated with Christians, to the point where Christians were mocked as "adorers of the gibbet" (''crucis religiosi''), an accusation countered by Tertullian. and it was already a tradition for Christians to trace repeatedly on their foreheads the sign of the cross. Martin Luther at the time of the Reformation retained the cross and in the Lutheranism, Lutheran Church, which remains an important feature of Lutheran devotion and worship today. Luther wrote: ''Crux sola est nostra theologia'', "The cross alone is our theology." On the other hand, the Beeldenstorm, Great Iconoclasm was a wave of rejecting sacred images among Calvinists of the 16th century. Some localities (such as England) included polemics against using the cross in worship. For example, during the 16th century, a minority of theologians in the Anglican and Reformed traditions Nicholas Ridley (martyr), Nicholas Ridley, James Calfhill, and Theodore Beza, rejected practices that they described as cross worship. Considering it a form of idolatry, there was a dispute in 16th century England over the baptismal use of the sign of the cross and even the public use of crosses. There were more active reactions to religious items that were thought as 'relics of Papacy', as happened for example in September 1641, when Sir Robert Harley (1579–1656), Robert Harley pulled down and destroyed the cross at Wigmore. Writers during the 19th century indicating a Pagan origin of the cross included Henry Dana Ward, Mourant Brock, and John Denham Parsons. David Williams, writing of medieval images of monsters, says: "The disembodied phallus is also formed into a cross, which, before it became for Christianity the symbol of salvation, was a pagan symbol of fertility." The study, ''Gods, Heroes & Kings: The Battle for Mythic Britain'' states: "Before the fourth century CE, the cross was not widely embraced as a sign of Christianity, symbolizing as it did the gallows of a criminal." This reaction in the Anglican and other Reformed Churches was short-lived and the cross became ubiquitous in these Christian traditions. Jehovah's Witnesses do not use the symbol of the cross in their worship, which they believe constitutes idolatry. They believe that Jesus died on a single upright torture stake rather than a two-beam cross, arguing that the Greek term ''stauros'' indicated a single upright pole. Although early Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Watch Tower Society publications associated with the Bible Student movement taught that Christ was executed on a cross, it no longer appeared on Watch Tower Society publications after the name ''Jehovah's witnesses'' was adopted in 1931, and use of the cross was officially abandoned in 1936. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that Jesus died on a cross; however, their prophet Gordon B. Hinckley stated that "for us the cross is the symbol of the dying Christ, while our message is a declaration of the living Christ." When asked what was the symbol of his religion, Hinckley replied "the lives of our people must become the only meaningful expression of our faith and, in fact, therefore, the symbol of our worship." Prophet Howard W. Hunter encouraged Latter-day Saints "to look to the temple of the Lord as the great symbol of your membership." Images of LDS temples and the Angel Moroni (who is found in statue on most temples) are commonly used to Symbolism in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, symbolize the faith of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In April 2020, under President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson, the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Church formally adopted an image inspired by Christus (statue), Thorvaldsen's Christus statue underlain with the Church's name as an official symbol of the faith.
Notable individual crosses
References* Philip Schaff, ''History of the Christian Church'', ch. 6,