SYMBOLS Stories of cultural life.


The Papal Cross is an emblem for the office of the Pope in ecclesiastical heraldry.

It is depicted as a staff with three horizontal bars near the top, in diminishing order of length approaching the top of the cross. It is similar to the two-barred archepiscopal cross used in heraldry to indicate an archbishop, and seems to have been used precisely to indicate an ecclesiastical rank still higher than that of archbishop. In the past, this design of the cross was often used in ecclesiastical heraldry as a distinctive mark of office. It was often merely an artistic device, as the use of a staff or crosier was not part of the traditional papal insignia.[1] However, at least one staff surmounted with a papal cross does exist.  

The three crossbars are believed to symbolise the papal powers, similar to the symbolism attached to the three bands on the papal tiara.  

Pastoureau, 13-67. Neubecker, 106-107. Murray, 296-297


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