By Kenes Christian Tours March 25, 2015

Jerusalem CrossThe Jerusalem Cross, with four small crosses surrounding a large cross (with all the bars equidistant from the center).





©Gila Yudkin

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

Matthew 16:24

Was first used as a coat of arms for the Latin Kingdom in Jerusalem, established when the Crusaders conquered the Holy City and the Holy Sepulcher in 1099.

Some say that the large cross represents Jerusalem and the four smaller crosses represent the four corners of the earth to which the four Gospels spread. Another explanation is that the five crosses represent the five Crusader armies (Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain) who came to liberate Jerusalem. Yet another explanation has it that the five crosses represent the stigmata, the five wounds of Jesus.

You will see the Jerusalem Cross decorating gates and chapels belonging to the Franciscan Order of the Roman Catholic Church. The Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth has an exquisite rendition of the Jerusalem Cross in stained glass. It is also a very popular shape for a gold pendant, sometimes decorated with ancient Roman glass.