The cross is most widely interpreted as representing the five wounds of Christ.
The five-fold cross that is the official emblem of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, and bears a resemblance to the national flag of Georgia, has a rich and ancient history.
Many scholars believe the symbol dates back to the 11th century, and was originally developed for the coat of arms of the Jerusalem Kingdom. The same symbol was later adopted by the Crusaders going to the Holy Land in the Middle Ages, and for this reason it is sometimes called the “Crusader’s Cross.”
What does the IHS monogram mean?
The cross is most widely interpreted as representing the five wounds of Christ. The smaller crosses symbolize the wounds on Jesus’ hands and feet, while the large central cross is the wound from the soldier’s spear.
Another common interpretation is that the four crosses represent the four evangelists with Christ being the center cross.
The Jerusalem Cross has strong ties to the Holy Land and for this reason was chosen as the flag of the country of Georgia. According to the Georgian ambassador to the Vatican, “For the Georgian identity it has enormous significance. We believe that this flag existed before the Crusades’ epoch, it is described in the 10th century Georgian text as the national flag. Christianity in Georgia, as you justly noted, has a long history of relationship with the Holy Land. A few Georgian monastic settlements and manuscripts are found in the Holy Land from the early ages of the Christianity in Georgia.”
The symbol is also used in other instances in the Holy Land and is a popular cross among many Christians for its rich meaning.
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