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"Coptic crosses" are often shown with arms dividing into three points each (also called "Ethiopian cross" or "Axum cross"; Liungman (2004) shows a symmetrical cross fleury. Bertran de la Farge (in La Croix occitane)[year needed] identifies a cross crosslet as "croix copte (4ème siècle)" and cites it as a predecessor of the Occitan cross somewhere in the marquisate of Provence, probably Venasque. Old Coptic crosses often incorporate a circle, as in the form called a "Coptic cross" by Rudolf Koch in his The Book of Signs (1933). Sometimes the arms of the cross extend through the circle (dividing it into four quadrants), as in the "Celtic cross". The circle cross was also used by the early Gnostic sects.
The form used in the Coptic Church and defined as the Coptic cross is made up of two bold lines of equal length that intersect at the middle at right angles. At each angle are three points, representing the Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. All together, the cross has 12 points symbolizing the Apostles whose mission it was to spread the Gospel message throughout the world.
The Coptic cross is widely used in the Coptic church and the Ethiopian and Eritrean churches. Many Copts have the cross tattooed as a sign of faith on the inside of their right arm at the wrist. The Coptic cross in its modern and ancient forms is considered a sign of faith and pride to the Copts The Ethiopians Christians wear it as a symbol of faith.
In 1984, a Coptic Cross was given as a gift by the Coptic Orthodox Church and mounted on the top of the All Africa Conference of Churches building, since the Coptic Church is considered to be the mother church in Africa.
Original Coptic/Gnostic cross
A "Coptic cross" according to Rudolf Koch, The Book of Signs (1933)
Illuminated early form of Coptic Cross at the end of the 4th-5th century Coptic Codex Glazier.
Coptic cross from the Ancient Egyptian Temple of Philae.
Processional cross from Amhara Region, Ethiopia (mid 20th century)
"Coptic Coat of Arms with Coptic Crosses on top (2005 design).
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- Carl G. Liungman, Encyclopedia of Western Signs and Ideograms, 2004, p. 228.
- La croix occitane, dossier réalisé par O.Lamarque et C.Pujol, d’après un texte de Bertran de la Farge[clarification needed]
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