A Celtic cross (Irish: cros Cheilteach) is a symbol that combines a cross with a ring surrounding the intersection. The early Celtic stone high cross is generally in the form of a normal cross with a ring joining the arms for structural strength, often with an extended rectangular or cubic base that is mounted on the ground. Early groups have broad undecorated front faces with many animal scenes in relief. Later groups have narratives upon them.
The different meanings of the Celtic cross
The Celtic cross is widely used as Christian symbol, but as we can tell from its name, the cross has a history stretching further back than Christianity. For example, its four arms are interpreted as the four elements (earth, air, fire, water), the four directions of the compass (north, south, east, west) or the four parts of man (mind, soul, heart, body), in various cultures and traditions.
The Celtic cross is said to have derived from the Chi Rho symbol, as popularised by the Roman emperor, Constantine. "Chi" and "Rho" are the first letters of the word "Christ" in the Greek alphabet, and when these letters are interlinked, they appear similar to the cross at the centre of a Celtic cross.
But where does the cross's distinctive circle come from? The truth is, no one is sure, but among ancient races, circles were used to represent the moon and a cross and circle conjoined symbolised the sun. So, it's likely that the Celtic cross was originally a Pagan sun or moon representation, later used by the Romans in order to try to convert the Pagans of Britain to Christianity. According to Irish legend, St Patrick created the cross by drawing a circle around a Latin cross to represent the Pagan moon goddess. But to Irish Catholics, the circle can represent Christ's halo, or as eternity and the endlessness of God's love