SYMBOLS Stories of cultural life.

Burial chapel Šijanec

Latin cross is the most common religious symbol on Pobrežje cemetery. This is the most recognizable symbol of Roman Catholic version of Christianity that predominates in Slovenia and not only in Maribor. This type of cross has approximate proportions to a figure of a standing man with extended arms. It has pronounced emphasis on vertical. The intersection with a short horizontal line is shifted upward, so it tends to the sky, to afterlife.

Before the Latin cross became symbol of faith, it was used by the Romans as a means for punishment of serious offenders. Appearance of this symbol in Christian iconography came relatively late, in 3.Century A.D. and has a very interesting history. A Medieval legend of the Cross of Christ says that it was made from wood of the tree of paradise. Seth planted branch of this tree on the grave of Adam. Branches of the tree went from hand to hand, from oldest to youngest. From this timber should be davits, with which Moses lifted up bronze snake, which is interpreted as an archetype of crucifixion. Wood was later, in the time of King Solomon found in Jerusalem, where it served as a bridge over the stream. Later, Queen of Sheba was dreaming about with this wood crucified Christ years before. In Jesus' time, wood of the tree of paradise has long been soaking in the pond Betesdi, water with miraculous healing power.

After the crucifixion, the real cross disappeared for several centuries. At the time of Constantine, when he already assumed power in Roman Empire and established Christianity as the state religion, Jesus' Cross was rediscovered by emperor's mother Helena. She went to Jerusalem and found a Jew, who knew the location of the hidden cross. However, he didn’t want to give the location, and Helena put him in jail. Hunger and thirst forced him to give the information she wanted. So Helena finds not only one, but all three crosses from Calvary (Golgotha). She made a test, to find out if the cross was the right one, it should revive a dead person...and it did. The Cross was transported in Constantinople and been there more than three hundred years before being desecrated. A Part of the cross was taken by the Persian army, which pillaged Constantinople.

A few decades later, the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius defeated the Persian emperor Hosrana II. and returned the lost part of the Cross. It has been finally disposed during the Crusades, when troops from west Christianity invaded Constantinople and robbed it. Then the pieces of the Cross were scattered around and landed in some European churches as relics. One little piece of Jesus' cross is in the Maribor Cathedral.

Poppy head is an old pre-Christian symbol, an attribute of ancient goddess Demetra. Poppy played an important role in rituals, which were carried out in her honour. It is also a symbol of Earth, where ongoing transmutation happen, such as birth, death, oblivion, and resurrection. Poppy also symbolizes sleep and oblivion, which possesses people before death and rebirth.

The next symbol on the tomb appears in three places, the six-pointed star, Star of David. This is the most recognizable symbol of the Jewish faith, and relatively new. It has been popular only for the past 200 years. The star is supposed to be formed by the real shield of King David or a symbol on it, therefore it is also called David's shield. Third name for this symbol is Solomon's seal.

Star of David consists of two intertwined equilateral triangles. It can be drawn in the hexagon, hexagram, therefore, it is marked by symbolism of number six. According to the interpretations in hermetic tradition, it symbolizes seven basic metals, as well as seven planets of the Old world: gold and sun; Silver and Moon, copper and Venus, Mercury, lead and Saturn, tin and Jupiter and iron and Mars. In other interpretations Star of David symbolizes the merging of male and female principles, or Heaven and Earth. This star is also interpreted through the symbolism of number 4, or four elements: fire, water, air, and earth. All united in hexagram, they represent all elements in the universe. The Star of David is thus a synthesis of opposites and an expression of cosmic unity.

star of David
latin cross