In the Spotlight: The Greek Baptismal Cross

gold Greek crossMuch like our St. Olga Cross, the Greek Baptismal Cross is a newer, original design inspired by ancient symbols of faith. This piece features an engraved central cross highlighted by the letters IC XC and NIKA at the ends of each arm.

One of the most common Christograms in Orthodoxy, “IC XC” is a prevalent abbreviation derived from first and last letters from the Greek words for “Jesus” (“IHCOYC”) and “Christ” (“XPICTOC”).

It also appears as a hand gesture in numerous icons, with the pinky finger representing the “I,” the thumb and ring finger touching to form a “C”, and middle and pointer fingers positioned to form an “X.”  This gesture has been adopted by clergy when giving blessings.

Interestingly, there is further symbolism hidden within this gesture.  “[T]he three fingers of Christ – [which spell] out “I” and “X” – confess the Tri-unity of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The touching finger and thumb of Jesus not only spell out “C”, but attest to the Incarnation: to the joining of divine and human natures found in the body of Jesus Christ.”

IC XC is often accompanied by the Slavonic letters for the word NIKA, which derives from the Greek word meaning “victory” or “conquer.”  NIKA comes from Greek mythology’s Nike, the goddess of victory.

The general budded cross design of our Greek Baptismal Cross is also an ancient symbol.  The closed buds at the ends of a budded cross signify a beginning – a flower that has yet to bloom or, more symbolically, a new, unexplored faith. For this reason, the budded cross is often used as a baptismal cross to symbolize this new faith.

Seiyaku: Budded Cross –
Nike (Greek Goddess) –
Jesus Christ: The Icon of God –
Christian Symbol: IC XC NIKA –
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