St. Chad's Cross

Imagine this cross as four nails being driven into a square. As they are hammered in, the overall cross shape reduces in size.

Chad is similarly contracting.

St. Chad's Cross

St. Chad's Cross
St. Chad's Cross
St. Chad's Cross on top of the Chapel of Industry in Coventry Cathedral

The cross is a combination of a Potent Cross and Quadrate Cross, which appears in the arms of the episcopal see of Lichfield & Coventry.

St. Ceadda was from Northumbria, England and in 664 became the Abbot of Lastingham, North Yorkshire. Later, he became Bishop of York and then Lichfield. He died three years later in 672.

It is from Lichfield that we get the design of the St. Chad's Cross. (You can read much more about St. Chad from the Lichfield Parish Church website:

Republic of Chad

Apart from the usual band of Christian missionaries who were sent to Africa to lubricate European colonialism, there is no link between Saint Chad and the name of the country. Chad derives its name from its once vast lake; Lake Chad. The Bornu word for 'lake' is tsade and when the French took control of the area, they changed the pronunciation to Tchad. In English, this became Chad.

Lake Chad is disappearing at an alarming rate. Six thousand years ago it was an inland sea, estimated to have covered an area of 300,000 km2; about the size of Italy. Two hundred years ago it had contracted but was still one of the largest lakes in the world. By the 1960s however, it had shrunk to just one tenth and by 2000, climatic changes and increased demands for water reduced it to an area the size of Rome.

Soon it will be a dessert, but like St. Chad, the name will live on.


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