Flaming Cross

A Crux Flamant is the heraldic name given to any cross adorned with flames or burning torches.

What is it about a candle flame that makes it so attractive? Why do we such an innate desire to look directly at the flickering centre of this light? Could it be a vestige of our ancestors' time when they sat around a camp fire and stared into the mysterious flame that produced light and heat?

Flaming Cross

Flaming Cross

She was cross with him for not noticing her new hairstyle. He was cross with her for spending so much money at the hairdressers. They ended up having a flaming row.

'Flaming' is synonymous with anger, as is the word 'Cross', so the meaning of the 'Flaming Cross' needs careful interpretation.


'Flaming' can be used in modern English as an intensifying adjective. But in another context, 'an old flame' refers to a former sweetheart. 'Flaming passion' refers to ecstatic and intense sensual behaviour or even lust. 

Fire can be a destructive force yet can also have a positive role - useful for making things warm, cooking, manufacturing, purifying, etc. The original meaning of 'flame' was from the Latin flammula, a small flame, implying gentleness. Both strength and gentleness are attributes of God, which is why God is often represented as flames in the Bible.

Dr Alexander Roman adds:

The Flaming Cross is a very potent symbol. The saints John of Damascus, Athanasius the Great, John Chrysostom, Gregory the Theologian and Ambrose of Milan, all affirm that in the Burning Bush, God the Word revealed Himself to Moses to forecast His coming Incarnation. God the Word is called the 'Angel of the Lord' because He reveals the Father's Will – God the Word also is the Will of the Father. As Isaiah called the Messiah, He is the 'Angel of Great Counsel' (Isa. 9:5).

The bush was on fire but was not consumed because the Son of God became Man to save man; not to consume him. The Angel also called Himself the 'God of Abraham, the God Isaac and the God of Jacob' thus showing that the Messiah, the Angel of the Lord, is truly God and reveals the Father in Himself. He who sees the Son (symbolized by the Cross in the flames) also sees the Father.

In the closing chapters of the Bible (Rev. 2:18) we see God's eyes are as flames of fire, ready to punish those who choose sin. (See also Godfearing)


Both 'cross', as in crucifix, and 'cross', as in being annoyed, originate from the same source. It's one of those many words in the English language that we recycle and there are several other meanings of the word 'cross': changing sides, switching allegiance, passing through some place, mixing breeds (crossbreeding animals or plants), and so on.

The word originates from the Latin crux, which meant a 'stake' or a 'cross', and for crucifixions one piece of timber transversed (crossed) over another to form '+' or an 'X' shape. 'Cross' in the annoying sense is where something or somebody's behaviour transverses another person's expectations, desires, etc.

Flaming Cross

Taking the original meaning of these two words shows the Flaming Cross represents the Crucifixion of Jesus. Through this symbol we can reflect on the meaning of the Cross and also the meaning of passion.

And when we understand that, we also understand that being flaming cross about a haircut is not so important.

Other Flaming Crosses include the:

Church of South India logo
Church of South India

The original meaning of the word 'passion' was 'intense pain'. This has changed completely to mean 'intense pleasure' or 'intense enthusiasm'.


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