The word “PAX” in Latin translates as “Peace”. Peace describes a society or a relationship operating harmoniously, without violent conflict. Peace is commonly thought of as the absence of hostility, or the existence of healthy or newly healed relationships, safety in matters of social or economic welfare, the acknowledgment of equality and fairness. As with many other religions, the concept of peace is accentuated in Christian Theology as an important state of being: the result of Christ’s presence. Christianity focuses on being “Christ-Like” who was the bringer of Peace. “Peace” itself does not refer to “all things immobile” rather it is a state of Blessing and Clarity that begins with the individual and emanates outward to all things; thus being “Christ-like”.
The PAX Amulet
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
As Christianity has been shaped and molded by cultural influences (as with all religions older than the founder) the message of Peace has become lost and other agendas emerge that counter the core idea. Many times religions face problems of being burdened by these agendas and a resurgence of “getting back to basics” arises – often with ill effects: Peace is compromised with new exceptions and excuses as to why it is secondary; yet the core belief of these virtues become evident as cultural measures against it’s own doctrine prove inadequate.
Through out the Christian Churches of the world, the image of “PAX” arise again and again on alter cloths, statues, stained glass and more as the artisans of the religion try to remind the practitioners again and again the message of Peace. My Father (a minister) felt the image of PAX was a better alternative to the cross because it pointed directly to the value of the religion he practiced. Some years ago I created the PAX Amulet for him, an amulet he cherished for the rest of his life.
The PAX Amulet is formed by the capital letter “P” with the smaller case “x” mounted on the main trunk, much like a tree with new branches and roots, giving a sense of stability and new growth. I have added the bail behind the top portion of the “P” so it may be hung by a chain or cord.
After my Father’s passing I decided to add it to my line of jewelry, both to honor him and to help remind others of the message of Peace.
A classic Celtic Cross of Scotland and Ireland.
According to the many sources who all assure us they are true and correct: the circle may represent the circle of God’s Endless love, or a halo of he who was crucified, or it may mean the eternity of God’s commitment by sacrificing his Son. Most Christian sources agree the focus is on the resurrection rather than the Crucifix holding image of the Martyr. The “Empty Cross” concept of the Protestant Faiths: “He is Risen”.
When one looks to the Historical View, there are some very interesting ideas concerning the symbol of the Celtic Cross: the circle represents the Sun God, or the Moon Goddess, or the cycle of death and re-birth. The Equaled Arm Cross represents how Creation is divided in active and passive principals (much like Native-American symbolism) and much is extrapolated for that. When seeing the various Stone Crosses in the countryside, some of the locals say the crosses were carved on them as a way of disguising their original intent: giant stone phalluses symbolizing fertility to bless their crops and live stock. It may well be we are seeing evidence of a social correction in the stone itself.
As an Amulet Maker, I decided to consult with several pastors to get a perspective on what was to be made. And so for this Celtic Cross Amulet I intended the following:
I chose a block with capitols to lean to the more Gothic feel, In a deeply carved cross I placed twisted cord to represent emanations from the center. In the center is a disk representing “the un-nameable”, the circle surrounding the center representing the eternity of Agape: Selfless Love. This is intended to be used by those who wish to wear a cross representing a Faith based on Love and live their lives as Jesus taught them.
Some years ago my Father and Brother visited Russia on a program sponsored by the university there in Moscow to help promote Christian Ethics to their new school. In assistance with the program in the “Christian Psychology” program, they were embraced by the school to assist them in their curriculum.
“Greek” in “Greek Orthodox” refers to the Greek heritage of the Byzantine Empire from the 4th through the 10th century was a center of cultural development unparalleled in Europe. By the end of the first millennium eastern Slavic lands started to come under the cultural influence of the Byzantine Empire. In 863-869, Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius translated parts of the Christian Bible into the Old Church Slavonic language for the first time, paving the way for the Christianization of the Slavs.
By the mid-10th century, there was already a Christian community among Kievan nobility, under the leadership of Greek and Byzantine priests, although paganism remained the dominant religion (many practitioners remain active to this day). In 988, Prince Vladimir I of Kiev officially adopted Byzantine Rite Christianity — the religion of the Eastern Roman Empire — as the state religion of Kievan Rus’. This date is often considered the official birthday of the Russian Orthodox Church. Thus, in 1988, the Church celebrated its millennial anniversary. It therefore traces its apostolic succession through the Patriarch of Constantinople. Even though there was an “interruption” of the faith during the Communist domination of the mid 20th century, the art, architecture, and culture of Greek Orthodox survived as many of the Faithful emerged from practicing in secret.
My brother was particularly entranced with the art, architecture and over all culture. A devout Christian, Craig requested I create a “classic” Greek Cross Amulet for him.
The cross top bar represents the headboard where it is often depicted with various script or a halo in other sects of Christianity. The bottom bar is a slanted line representing the footrest, wrenched loose by Jesus’ struggling in severe anguish. It is raised on the left side of the cross where a criminal who was also being crucified said to Jesus: “remember me when you come into your kingdom”. In the lore of the Greek Orthodox it is said this part of the glyph symbolizes the victory of good over evil.
The cross is small, almost charm-like yet it holds the components of the larger and more complicated versions. Craig was pleased with the amulet and insisted I place this cross in my jewelry line for your pleasure.
One of the last efforts my Father worked on was to return to his favorite project:
the education of young men and women.
A devout Presbyterian Minister,
professor of Philosophy
and a member of the Humanities Department in Cal State Fullerton,
Dr. Robert B McLaren began his quest of promoting virtue
by working with the youth in Boys town of Chicago.
The Fellowship of the Celtic Cross
Designed by the Youth Group at
Morningside Presbyterian Church
In Fullerton California
In each of the churches he served with in Illinois, Montana, Texas and California,
he worked closely with the youth with scholarly lessons of the New Testament,
often focusing on the book of Luke.
His method was to first go over the text,
then re-discover the context by studying the politics, technology
and social conditions of the period to help them understand the milieu of the work.
For a period during the 70 and 80s, Dr. R. B. McLaren took a break from youth fellowship
and focused primarily on his University Efforts,
finishing his Doctorate
and moving ahead in his service with the Academy of Judao, Christian and Islamic Studies,
the World Council of Churches and the Parliament of World Religions.
After his “retirement” he was asked by the local Church
to return to his teaching the Youth of his community.
We had several conversations over the matter
and he decided that it would be helpful to have crosses made for them.
Noting if the cross was to have a special meaning for them
I recommended that the group design the piece.
This experience of creativity would mark the moment in their lives,
help them recall the ideas that they were working with at the time,
empower them and give them the experience of collaboration
both with each other and with their instructor.
The members busily drew a host of images,
then created a composite of the designs.
From the images of the Youth Group,
I created their Cross Amulet. On the completion of their studies,
they were then blessed with a copy of their own design.
In each of his talks,
classes lectures and sermons the main focus of his message was to celebrate life,
each other and joy.
In every conversation his salutation was:
“Be of Good Cheer!”
I find great comfort in knowing I was able to contribute to his legacy.
If you are interested in a specially designed piece for your church, circle, grove or organization,
Please view my How to order custom page