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Enshrined Cross

Enshrining a cross acknowledges its holiness, symbolically protecting the cross

Enshrined Cross

Rainbow Cross, representing the light after the storm of living in this world

The arc can represent anything we wish. Pre-Christian religions, for example, represented a mystic palm tree with a simple arc, and this symbolised fertility. 

Despite its horseshoe shape, this symbol usually represents a halo or light, like the rainbow after the storm of living in this world.

An enshrined cross atop a Christian tomb in Okinawa
An enshrined cross atop a Christian tomb in Okinawa, Japan

Another interpretation of the hoop is as a capital Omega, meaning everlasting life.

And a further interpretation is that of a grotto, like the tomb used for Jesus' body after his Crucifixion. It is an empty cross showing that Jesus rose from the grave.

To enshrine simply means to encase or to put in a reliquary (shrine is from the Old English scrin: 'a box for relics'). The act of enshrining something doesn't make that object more holy; it is just showing that we acknowledge it is holy.

Sometimes the enshrinement is incidental, where the main function of the covering is to protect the cross from the weather. (See Wayside Cross)

As any shop window dresser knows, drawing a box around something gives more visual focus to that thing. Enshrining a cross brings focus to the cross.

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