The Celtic cross meaning seems obvious – it is a symbol of religious faith. However, there is quite a history behind it. There are many different versions that have slightly different meanings. Many of these crosses closely associate with specific Irish Saints.
The earliest Celtic cross is just a simple cross with a circle. This was possibly a variation of the Sun cross, which goes back to an even earlier era. It is clear that pagans used the cross as a symbol. Christians converted it into a Christian symbol as missionaries introduced Christianity to Ireland. Once it became more of a Christian symbol, the lines of the cross extended beyond the circle. Also, they lengthened the bottom line to make it more like a Christian cross.
Another kind of Celtic cross is the kind with Celtic knots and interwoven patterns on it. This kind of cross frequently appears on gravestones, churches, or other religious sites. It definitely appeared after the conversion towards Christianity began. There are several historic monuments which use this kind of cross, such as the Ardboe High Cross and the Monasterboice ruins. Yet another variation of Celtic cross is the round kind, or “shield” type. Some refer to this as the Celtic warrior shield or symbol. There are different types of this one as well. One version of a round cross is at the St. Brynach church yard in Wales. St. Brynach was a 6th century Welsh saint who spread Christianity and built a monastery. It is also used on headstones and other religious settings.
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