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Why We Use The 3-Bar Cross

By Bishop Nicolai Velmirovich

Three Bar Cross.

Exactly when the Orthodox cross was first shown with three bars is lost in the mists of antiquity, but the three bar cross clearly shows the shape of the cross that Christ was crucified upon. The top bar symbolizes the sign that stated, in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, "Jesus Christ, King of the Jews." The middle bar symbolizes the bar upon which His hands were nailed. The third, slanting bar, symbolizes the bar His feet were nailed to. Traditionally, it is believed that Christ, in His agony and writhing upon the Cross, twisted the bar pointing on the right to Heaven and on the left to Hell. This clearly symbolizes the two thieves who were crucified with Him; one who taunted Him (on the left), and the other (on the right) who begged, "remember me when you come into your kingdom." Christ replied, "Verily 1 say unto you: this day shall you be with Me in Paradise" to the repentant thief. This is a constant reminder for us to think about what path we choose for ourselves in life.

Compliments of St. Michael the Archangel Russian Orthodox Cathedral Archpriest, John O. Zabinko, Dean P.O. Box 697 Sitka, Alaska 99835 frjohn@ptialaska.net