Mystery cross

(Puzzle 029)

To a marathon runner, 'twenty-six' is a number that bounces in his head with each stride. But in a Christian context, do you know the significance of twenty-six?

One-score and six

mystery cross

mystery cross
(Click photo to enlarge)

The meaning of the cross is no mystery. but what puzzled us was the significance of the twenty-six gold beads on this cross. In Judaism, 26 is the gematric number of the name of the God of Israel (YHWH) but we were not aware of any other Christian association and could find no biblical reference to 'one-score and six'.

Luckily for us, however, Alex Roman could see the significance quite easily and we share his explanation here:

The numerical significance of 26 is 2 times 13, where the number 2 refers to the two Natures of Christ, and 13 to the number of Christ and His 12 Apostles. In addition; 2 plus 6 equals 8, which is the numerical significance of the Name of Jesus in Hebrew.

But the use of the beads in the decoration of this cross illustrates a completely different significance. There are actually five Greek crosses, each made up of five beads on the larger Latin cross, with three Greek crosses on the three smaller arms and two on the longer beam.

In each case, the five beads in the Greek crosses signify the Five Wounds of Christ with the centre Bead signifying the Pierced Heart/Side of Christ. The three Greek crosses on either side and at the top of the main cross celebrate the Holy Trinity and the two below signify the two Natures of the One Christ. That there are five such Greek crosses with five beads each is simply a play on the number of the main Wounds of Christ, i.e., five times five.

But to make up the number eight, the number of the Name of Jesus, an additional bead is added, i.e., 26 or 2 + 6 in the centre - which in itself represents the pierced Side/Heart of Christ on the Latin form of the cross.

Puzzling symbols index

This cross was owned by a lady born in 1832 in the Old Pueblo of Tucson, Arizona. This is only a rough guide to its age because we don't know whether the cross was made after she was born in 1832 or before and handed down to her. It is understood that her family were originally from Barcelona, Spain, and one of the two families who (c. 1725) founded the Santa Cruz Valley south of present day Tucson. Sometime before 1848 her family was massacred, leaving only the young girl and her brother. In about 1854 her brother was killed and she moved to Los Angeles, married and had eight children before she died in 1911.


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