St. Anthony's Cross

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Dew cross

The Antonius Cross , Antoniterkreuz , Tau Cross or Egyptian Cross ( Latin crux commissa , 'joined cross ') has the shape of a T. At least from a heraldic point of view is the cross of St. Anthony, however, no cross , but it is the merger of a pile and a abgeledigt s bar in continuous tincture . When it hovers in the coat of arms , it is also referred to as the flat cross .
If the post is exactly twice as long as the beam, heraldists refer to a crutch instead of a cross .

The name "Tau Cross" is derived from the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet , Tau ( τ ), or the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet , Taw ( ת), from.


Extra-Christian use

The T-shaped cross is an elementary graphic symbol that - undifferentiated in its meaning - can be traced back to the earliest Stone Age rock carvings and paintings. In the mythology of the ancient Orient, the dew cross symbolizes completion. Originally it is a sign of the Assyrian rulers who wore a dew cross on their chest.

Christian symbolism

Tau cross (upper part), England, 8th century
Antoniuskreuz at the former Antoniterkloster in Frankfurt-Höchst
Tau cross of the Franciscans

In the book of Ezekiel in the Old Testament of the Bible, the prophet marks the foreheads of the faithful with a "sign", which is variously translated as a dew-cross ( taw , the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, which in the older scriptures has the shape of a cross (X) Bible commentator John Gill mentioned some views on this and himself said that this letter was chosen only because it was the last letter of the alphabet. The seal with which believers are marked, mentioned in the Book of Revelation , is sometimes associated with this.

It also found its way into Christian symbolism early on through the Coptic cross crowned with a circle . Therefore, this cross shape is also called the Egyptian cross .

Later the form is found in monk's staffs with crossbars. Saint Anthony the Great , also known as Antonius Abbas , is usually represented with this staff. It is his iconographic attribute , hence the name Antonius Cross . The Antonite Order named after Antonius had mainly taken care of the sick, especially the victims of poisoning by the alkaloids, e.g. B. Ergotamine, in ergot . The order operated 350 hospitals in Europe in the 14th century. Therefore, there are attempts to interpret the Antonite Cross as a crutch for those paralyzed by ergot. The order's robe of the Antonites was a black choir dress, over it a black cloak with a light blue tau cross.

The dew cross also became a symbol of the Franciscan order . The founder of the order, Francis of Assisi , took it after various declarations as a sign of blessing as well as a sign of humility and redemption and signed with this symbol.

In Christian doctrine, the dew cross is a sign of penance, among other things. Pope Innocent III opened the IV Lateran Council in 1215, in which he called for a crusade, in this sense. In the depiction of the crucifixion scene , the crosses of the two thieves on either side of the crucified one are often shown either as forked crosses (thief crosses ) or as crosses of St. Anthony.



In the tradition of the Antonite monastery in Grünberg, the University of Gießen has had a blue Antonite cross on a silver background as a coat of arms since 1736. Since 1957, the district of Gießen has therefore also had the Antonius Cross in its coat of arms, albeit in the opposite color.

The municipality of Hartenfels in the Westerwald carries the Antoniterkreuz with attached bells in the coat of arms. Mohrkirch in fishing leads the Antonierkreuz in succession to the Mohrkirchharde that was established in 1778 on the land of the former Mohrkirchen monastery.

The municipality of Trub in the Oberemmental, Canton of Bern, Switzerland bears the coat of arms of the Benedictine monastery Trub, founded around 1125 and abolished in 1532 .


Roughan Hill Tau Cross (Replica)

In Ireland there are still eight T-shaped high crosses , including the Cross Inneenboy (Tau Cross from Roughan Hill) , the Tau Cross from Church Island and the Tau Cross from Tory Island .

See also

Web links

Commons : Tau-Kreuz  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Antoniuskreuz  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Curt O. Querfurt: Critical Dictionary of Heraldic Terminology. CH Beck'sche Buchhandlung, Nördlingen 1872, p. 6; 76 .
  2. Ez 9,4  EU
    See footnote to verse 4 , New World Translation study edition
  3. Jump up ↑ John Gill: Exposition of the Bible , Ezekiel 9: 4
  4. Rev 7 : 2 ff.  EU ; 9.4 EU
  5. a b c Inge Schwarz-Winklhofer, Hans Biedermann: The book of signs and symbols. Verlag für Collectors, Graz 1972, ISBN 3-85365-011-2 , No. 364, 347.
  6. The coat of arms of the university - FB 11 - Medicine. Retrieved October 31, 2017 .
  7. ^ City of Tönisvorst - coat of arms and logo. Retrieved July 21, 2019 .