Ancient Cross #15
A History of Cross Pendants
Christians have used the symbol of the cross to identify with Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection for millennia. The first references to this symbolic relationship were arguably made by Christ himself, which He made on at least two separate occasions when He said, "If anyone would follow me, he must deny himself, take up His cross, and follow me." (Matt 16:24, Mar 8:34, Luk 9:23)** and "Whoever does not bear his own cross, and follow me cannot be my disciple." (Matt 10:38, Luk 14:27)** It is noteworthy that Christ said these things before He was crucified.
However, Christians did not wear the cross as a pendant until approximately the 4th century A.D. when Constantine and Licinius issued The Edict of Milan, granting Christianity a legal status. Around this time, many Christians, now free from the threat of persecution, began wearing crosses as a way to identify with Christ. Thus began a tradition that continues to this day!
Most of our collection's original, ancient crosses date from between the 5th and 7th centuries and are either lead or bronze. They likely would have been worn by persons of lower social status, as evidenced by the materials used in their construction. Many of these pendants were probably made by their original wearer, sometimes by scratching a rudimentary design into the sand and pouring molten lead into the resulting mold. Several may have been produced and worn by soldiers at the time!
**Scriptural references are paraphrased from the ESV