Secret Meanings: Symbols of Faith (Part IV)

As we have explored in previous blogs studying various Christian symbols of faith, many symbols intertwine and join together to convey a further meaning.  For example, the Iota Chi and circle come together to remind us that “Christ offers eternal life.”

This week we are looking at how one symbol – the lily – can signify one’s journey through life; both symbolically through their faith, but also more literally from birth to death and beyond.

Want to learn more about these symbols of faith? Explore the stories behind the dove, Crusaders Cross, vines, and sun in Part I, Part II, and Part III of this blog series.


lily, lily cross, latin cross, liliesLilies are a common Christian symbol regularly used during the Easter season.  It is a symbol of the Resurrection, stemming from the Easter Lily flower which, like the resurrected Christ, “…blooms in spring from a seemingly lifeless bulb.”

In addition to serving as a reminder that Christ rose from the dead, lilies are also a symbol of purity.  The presence of a lily has come to represent the Virgin Mary.  “A lily blooming among thorns has been used to represent the Immaculate Conception.”  Thus, according to many interpretations, the lily may also symbolize Christ.

The vine of lilies climbing the arms of our Lily Cross (pictured right) serve as a reminder of life after death.  “As the flowers most often associated with funerals, lilies symbolize that the soul of the departed has received restored innocence after death.”  The lilies on the cross stand in for the crucified Christ, signifying the Resurrection.


Fleury Cross

siroun cross, armenian cross, cross, gold crossAt first glance, the Fleury Cross (also known as the Floriated Cross, Fleuree Cross, Flory Cross, and other related variations) seems to be a standard Latin cross with arms ending in a trident or three-pronged shape.  It is a popular design used throughout both Christianity and heraldry alike (most notably, it serves as a distant relative to the Fleur-de-lis).  Our Siroun Cross (pictured right) evokes and, in its own way, reinterprets the floriated cross design.

The design at the ends of the Fleury Crosses’ arms represent a lily in bloom.  Lilies, as mentioned above, representing the Virgin Mary and/or Resurrection, and the bloom signifying mature faith and openness to His light.  The three petals of the open lilies symbolize the Holy Trinity (they may also “…represent faith, wisdom and chivalry when used in heraldry”).

Budded Cross

symbols of faith, christian symbol, greek baptismal, baptismal cross, budded crossLike its counterpart, the Fleury Cross, the budded cross design has also come to represent the Holy Trinity and the wearer’s faith.

If the blossoms at the ends of the Fleury Cross symbolize a mature faith, then the closed buds at the ends of a budded cross signify a beginning – a flower that has yet to bloom or a new, unexplored faith.  For this reason, the budded cross is often used as a baptismal cross.  Our Greek Baptismal Cross (pictured right) and St. Olga Cross (pictured below) serve as a wonderful examples of the budded cross and its significance to new faith.

Budded crosses, however, do not necessarily have to have three buds at the end of each arm.  Dual-budded crosses are often seen; crosses with quatrefoil ends are rarer.  The three-bud design is probably the most common, with the trefoil ends signifying the Holy Trinity, as in our Antiochian Cross and Birka Cross (both pictured below).

With its four arms, this three-budded cross is also known as the Apostles’ Cross, “…with one bud for each of the twelve budding Christian apostles.”

“A cross with three buds is often an identification mark on signboards and maps for a cathedral…” giving the design a second alternative name of the “Cathedral Cross.”

     Birka Cross | Antiochian Cross | St. Olga Cross

Christian Symbols –
Symbols in Christian Art & Architecture –
Teleflora: Meaning and Symbolism of Lilies –
James Avery: Symbols of Faith –
Seiyaku: Fleury Cross –
Drawn by His Light –
Seiyaku: Budded Cross –
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