Cross necklace

A man wearing three different cross necklaces.
A man with three different cross necklaces.

A cross necklace is any necklace featuring a Christian cross or crucifix worn by Christians and others.[1][2] They are often purchased at stores,[3] or received as gifts for rites such as baptism and confirmation.[4][5]

Crosses are often worn as an indication of commitment to the Christian faith.[6][7][8] In addition, some Christians believe that the wearing of a cross offers the wearer protection from evil.[9][10] Individuals, including Christians and some non-Christians, may also wear cross necklaces as a fashion accessory.[2] For adherents of some Christian denominations, such as the Eastern Orthodox Church, cross necklaces are always worn and never removed.[11][12]

Cassie Ventura wearing a cross necklace.

Most adherents of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church will wear a cross attached to either a chain or a matäb, a silk cord.[13] The matäb is tied about the neck at the time of baptism, and the recipient is expected to wear the matäb at all times.[14] Women will often affix a cross or other pendant to the matäb, but this is not considered essential.[14]

In some nations, such as the People's Socialist Republic of Albania, an atheist state, the wearing of cross necklaces was historically banned.[15][16] Many Christian bishops of several denominations, such as the Anglican Church, wear the pectoral cross as a sign of their order.[17]

In two highly publicised British cases, nurse Shirley Chaplin and British Airways flight attendant Nadia Eweida were disciplined for wearing a cross necklace at work, in breach of their employment terms. Both took their cases to the European Court of Human Rights,[18][19][20] but ultimately lost. In light of such cases, in 2012 the former Archbishop of Canterbury of the Anglican Communion, Lord Carey, and then head of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, have urged all Christians to wear cross necklaces regularly.[21][22][23]

See also


  1. John Renard (1 August 2001). The Handy Religion Answer Book. Visible Ink Press. ISBN 1578591252. Individuals wearing or displaying either a cross or the fish symbol might belong to any of a number of Christian denominations or communities.
  2. 1 2 Reader, John; Baker, Chris (7 May 2009). Entering the New Theological Space. Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 0754663396. A cross necklace is a Christian symbol, but it is also common enough in secular style that it may be worn by those for whom it has little or no meaning beyond the cultural or fashionable.
  3. Vicki Lopez-Kaley (4 March 2011). Celebrating the Lectionary. Liturgy Training Publications. ISBN 156854958X. Do family members have or wear a cross necklace or pins often? If not, purchase one at a local Catholic or Christian bookstore.
  4. Jordan, Anne (5 April 2000). Christianity. Nelson Thornes. ISBN 9780748753208. Most Orthodox Christians wear this cross for the rest of their lives.
  5. On Wearing the Cross. Greek Orthodox Church. 2012. At holy Baptism, every Orthodox Christian receives an image of the Precious Cross to be worn around the neck. From the moment of Baptism until the moment of death, every Orthodox Christian should wear the Cross at every moment.
  6. Liz James (30 April 2008). Supernaturalism in Christianity: Its Growth and Cure. Mercer University Press. ISBN 9780881460940. Most Christians who have worn crosses have probably not trivialized a core teaching of Jesus about renouncing self-centeredness, figuratively described as carrying one's cross. For them the symbol is perceived not as powerful magic, or as a lovely decoration to impress others, but as a reminder primarily to themselves of their commitment to one who laid down His life in love for friends and enemies.
  7. William E. Phipps (4 May 2010). A Companion to Byzantium. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781405126540. In fact cross-wearers, and those depositing icons and other valuables in the graves of loved ones, probably considered themselves true to Christ and His Cross.
  8. Mark U. Edwards (17 September 2006). Religion on Our Campuses. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1403972109. Consider, for example, dress and jewelry. An Orthodox Jewish male student may wear a yarmulke or a Moslem female student a headscarf, and Christian students of both sexes may wear crosses.
  9. Liz James (30 April 2008). Supernaturalism in Christianity: Its Growth and Cure. Mercer University Press. ISBN 9780881460940. From the fifth century onward, the cross has been widely worn as an amulet, and the novel Dracula treats it as a protection against vampires. Many Christians continue to hang polished miniatures of the cross around their necks. Ironically, some treat the representation of an ancient torture device as a protecting charm.
  10. Michael Symmons Roberts (2011-09-12). "The Cross". British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The belief that the cross can ward off evil and protect the wearer goes back a long way.
  11. Acello, Barbara (30 August 2004). Nursing Assisting: Essentials For Long-Term Care. Cengage Learning. ISBN 9781401827526. Russian Orthodox Practice prayer, Communion, and Last Rites by priest. Many wear a cross necklace, which should not be removed if at all possible. After death the arms are crossed, and fingers set in the form of a cross.
  12. Louise Simmers; Karen Simmers-Nartker; Sharon Simmers-Kobelak (7 April 2008). Introduction to Health Science Technology. Cengage Learning. ISBN 9781418021221. Russian Orthodox (Christian) may wear a cross necklace that should not be removed unless absolutely necessary.
  13. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church (2003) [1970]. Aymero W. and Joachim M, eds. "The Sacramental: The cross and the crucifix". The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Addis Ababa: Ethiopian Orthodox mission. Archived from the original on 22 March 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2015 via Attached to a cord or fine chain [the cross] is worn around the neck of nearly all Christians right from childhood until death.
  14. 1 2 Siegbert Uhlig (2007). Encyclopædia Aethiopica: He-N. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 9783447056076. The Matäb, an emblem of Christianity in Ethiopia, is a blue (sometimes black) silk cord tied around the neck of a child during the baptism ceremony.… Women may later append various elements on the M., though a simple cord is already considered a fully valuable M. The possible pendants include a cross…. They can be freely combined, none of them being essential.
  15. Edwin E. Jacques (1995). The Albanians: An Ethnic History from Prehistoric Times to the Present. McFarland. ISBN 9780899509327. Citizens were forbidden to wear a cross or other religious symbols, but some tourists sought to identify themselves as Christians and made contact with others by wearing a cross on the lapel or as a necklace.
  16. Tomko, Jozef (28 February 2007). On Missionary Roads. Ignatius Press. p. 452. ISBN 9781586171650. Retrieved 9 April 2014. In 1967, Hoxha proudly declared Albania to be the first completely atheistic state. It was once a chiefly Muslim country with a Catholic minority and small groups of Greek Orthodox in the south. From the onset of communist rule, all religions had to cut their ties with their centers abroad. practically all the priests who survived the initial persecutions were confined in prisons or work camps. Religious orders were abolished, and all religious rituals, including the celebration of the sacraments, were prohibited and punishable by the death penalty for those officiating. The people were not even allowed to have religious necklaces or to wear such things as small crosses.
  17. Colin Ogilvie Buchanan (2006). Historical dictionary of Anglicanism. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810853270. A pectoral cross is conventional among bishops also.
  18. "Cardinal Keith O'Brien urges Christians to 'proudly' wear cross". British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). 7 April 2012. Former nurse Shirley Chaplin, from Exeter, and Nadia Eweida, from Twickenham, who worked with British Airways, are taking their call for all employees to be able to wear a cross at work to the European Court of Human Rights.
  19. Jonathan Petre (6 April 2012). "Persecuted Christians take Government to European Court so they can express their beliefs at work". Daily Mail. The cases include those of Shirley Chaplin, a Devon nurse banned from working on the wards after she failed to hide a cross she had worn since she was 16, and Gary MacFarlane, who was sacked as a Relate counsellor after suggesting he would refuse to provide sexual therapy to gay couples. The judges will also examine the cases of Nadia Eweida, a check-in clerk for British Airways who was told to remove her small crucifix at work, and registrar Lilian Ladele, who lost her job at Islington town hall, North London, after refusing to officiate at civil partnerships.
  20. "Britain's top Catholic urges all Christians to wear cross". Times of India. 7 April 2012. Two British women are fighting to get their cases heard at the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that they were discriminated against when their employers stopped them from wearing the cross. British Airways employee Nadia Eweida was suspended by the airline for breaching its uniform code in 2006. Shirley Chaplin was barred from working on the wards on a hospital in Exeter, southwest England, after refusing to hide a cross she wore on a necklace chain.
  21. "Christians urged to wear cross after moves to 'sideline' faith". The Daily Telegraph. 6 April 2012. Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the Scottish Roman Catholic leader, are among those urging Christians to demonstrate their beliefs publicly after a series of cases placing religious freedom in the spotlight. Shirley Chaplin, a nurse forced out of her job for refusing to take off a cross, joined them in calling for Christians to “stand up” for their beliefs.
  22. Simon Tomlinson (7 April 2012). "Wear your cross every day with pride: Head of Scottish Catholics wades into crucifix row". Daily Mail. In his Easter Sunday homily, Cardinal Keith O'Brien will urge Christians to 'wear proudly a symbol of the cross of Christ on their garments each and every day of their lives'. Speaking at Edinburgh's St Mary's Cathedral tomorrow, he will quote Pope Benedict XVI, who said Christians 'need to be free to act in accordance with their own principles'.
  23. "'Wear the Cross Proudly,' Urges Catholic Cardinal in Easter Address". The Christian Post. 8 April 2012. The head of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has called for Christians to wear the cross with pride. The appeal was made by Cardinal Keith O'Brien in his Easter Sunday homily in St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh. He encouraged Christians to identify with the cross and make it more prominent in their lives. Christians, he said, should 'wear proudly a symbol of the cross of Christ on their garments each and every day of their lives.'

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