More information about Altar- & Processional Crosses  

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Processional Cross

A processional cross is simply a crucifix which is carried at the head of a procession, and which, that it may be more easily seen, is usually mounted upon a long staff or handle.

From an archaeological point of view this subject has already been briefly dealt with under Cross. It will suffice to note here that the processional cross does not essentially differ from what may be called the cross of jurisdiction which is borne before the pope, his legates, and metropolitans or archbishops. The pope is entitled to have the cross borne before him wherever he may be; a legate s cross is used only in the territory for which he has been appointed, and that of an archbishop within the limits of his province. All these crosses, including that of the pope, have in practice only one bar.The double-barried cross is a sort of heraldic fiction which is unknown in the ceremonial of the Church.It is supposed that everey parish possesses a cross of its own an that behind this, as a sort of standard, the parishioners are marshalled when they have to take part in some general procession. It is usual also for cathedral chapters and similar collegiate bodies to possess a processional cross which precedes them in their corporate capacity; and the same is true of religious orders, confraternities,etc. It is usual in Italy to attach streamers to a sort of penthouse over the crucifix, or to the knob underneath it. When these crosses are carried in the procession the figure of Chist faces the direction ini which the procession is moving, but in the case of the papal, legatine, and archiepiscopal crosses the figure of our Saviour is always turned towards the prelate to whom it belongs. In England, during the Middle Ages, a special processional cross was used during Lent. It was of wood, Painted red and had no figure of Christ upon it. It seems probable that is identical with the "vexellim cinericium" of which we read in the Sarum Processional.

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