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The Franciscan Cross

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The Franciscan cross is also known as the Tau cross, and it comes from the Hebrew spiritual interpretation proper of the letters from their alphabet. The last letter of the Hebrew alphabet represented the Word of God and this letter was called the Tau and would usually be written ^X+T. the last letter of the modern Hebrew language is no longer cross shaped and the early Christians commenting on the Bible would have used it’s Greek version and in this version the tau was written as a T. for Christians, the T eventually came to represent the cross of Christ.


During the middle ages, when Saint Francis was popular he was involved in the care of lepers and the religious community would use Christ’s cross shaped as the Greek letter T for an amulet used for warding off skin diseases and the plague. Saint Francis worked with these religions in the Assisi area and Saint Francis eventually adapted the T as his own crest which is now known ad the Franciscan cross. Followers of Saint Francis would wear the tau or Franciscan cross as a seal of their own commitments and in remembrance of the victory of Christ over evil and this sign has become a sign of hope and fidelity until the end of our lives.


The Franciscan cross comes in many different sizes and designs and can be worn around the neck as a piece of jewelry or is can be placed on the wall as a sign of your faith in God and in Saint Francis. The Tau cross usually has a traditional picture of Saint Francis on it and has a prayer which says;

‘The Lord bless and keep you

The Lord show his face to you and have mercy

The Lord look upon you and give you peace

The Lord bless you.

The Franciscan cross is usually made from hand carved wood and is worn as a sign of hope and it can be used for prayer and to show your faith. The Franciscan cross is a unique design and it is a very attractive cross which would make a great addition to your religious jewelry collection or a brilliant piece of décor to your home for your friends and family to admire.


Saint Francis was the patron saint of nature, animal welfare, birds, catholic action, fire, needle workers, zoos and solitary death and by wearing or owning a Franciscan cross you will be showing your support for what this saint did in life, how he was a lover of nature and was a good man. You can show your own love of nature by wearing his symbol or crest.


You can get your own Franciscan cross from all good Catholic stores; you can also search on the internet for websites which sell various designs of this particular cross. You can also learn more about the origin of the tau as well as information about Saint Francis who developed the tau symbol into his own crest, the Franciscan cross.

This article was published on Monday 21 September, 2009.

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