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.