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Who uses this cross?

(Puzzle 010)

The source of this symbol puzzled us for a long time. Then somebody kindly told us the answer

Mystery cross
(Click image to enlarge)

This symbol is very similar to the Woden's Wheel, sometimes also refered to as Odin's Wheel or Woden's / Odin's Cross. And since this image was spotted in the obituary column of a Swedish newspaper, we thought it might have had some old Norse connection.

But what do the five 'spots' relate to? The original newspaper image was not so crisp but the five spots appear to be hemispherical, like rivets in a Norseman's battle shield. Whilst recognising there are some pretty active historical societies in Sweden, who take their interest most seriously, it seems unlikely that many Swedes would go to the extreme of requesting a Viking symbol to appear with their obituary.

So we consider a Christian angle:

  • Is this symbol a form of Celtic Cross with five studs representing the five wounds of Christ? (See Fusils Cross)
  • Another explanation might be the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, with Christ in the centre. (See Evangelists' Cross)
  • Or the 'wheel' may represent the world, with Christianity (central spot) to be broadcast to the points north, south, east and west.

Well, we now know the answer. Somebody very kindly confirmed our first guess was pretty close, by saying that the symbol is used by the Brigittine Order of the Most Holy Saviour (O.Ss.S: Ordo Sanctissimi Salvatoris).

Mystery cross
Bridgettine nuns at the 2009 March For Life in Washington, DC. January 2009
photo by John Stephen Dwyer
(Click image to enlarge)

"The Saint Birgitta Cross for the nuns in O.Ss.S It is white with the five red Christ wound marks: On the nuns head it makes a crown consisting of a white greek cross on a white brow-band where the crossings are marked with five black circle wound marks. Please see www.birgittaskloster.se

The largest branch of the Bridgettines today is in Sweden. Other branches are based in England, Germany, Netherlands and Spain, and their monasteries dotted around the globe: Asia, Europe, Central America and the US.

Mystery solved!

A new page has been added for this logo of the O.Ss.S: St. Birgitta's Cross.


If you have more information about this symbol, feel free to email us with your thoughts.

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