The Jerusalem Cross
Jerusalem lies at the heart of the Christian faith. The story of the world’s redemption unfolded in this city, and from its streets the message of the gospel has been carried out into the world.
If you have ever wandered down the narrow, stone-paved streets and alleys that wind through the Christian Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem, you have undoubtedly encountered a symbol known as the Jerusalem Cross: marking doors and gateways, etched in stones, adorning churches and banners.
The Jerusalem Cross emerged in the Middle Ages to signify the importance of this city and is characterized by one central, symmetrical cross which is surrounded by four smaller crosses in each corner. It is believed by many that the central cross represents Jerusalem and the four smaller crosses represent the four corners of the earth, echoing Jesus’ commission to his disciples in Mark 16:15: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”.
At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the Lord,’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord; nor will they walk anymore after the stubbornness of their evil heart. (Jeremiah 3:17)
There is a hint of the mysterious and the miraculous that still permeates the city. The story of the gospel doesn’t feel like distant history. In Jerusalem, it feels very close, very present. Millions of pilgrims return each year to the place where it all began. For many, the journey to Jerusalem is sacred. The experience of seeing where Jesus’ life, death and resurrection took places roots the city deeply in their hearts. In medieval times, many pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem had the Jerusalem Cross tattooed onto their bodies to mark the completion of their pilgrimage and to return home with remembrance of this place.
Today’s travelers to Jerusalem can still bring home a remembrance of the Holy City. A Jerusalem Cross carved from olive wood or crafted in stunning and unique jewelry offers pilgrims a reminder of this special place that they can wear or display in their homes. It is a reminder of Jerusalem’s place not only in the history of Christianity, but also its place in the heart of each individual who is transformed by the great act of love and sacrifice that happened here.