Among modern church paraphernalia, a lot of things seem to ordinary people not quite clear. For example, the question often arises: “Why do priests wear gold, in particular, chest crosses made of precious metal? After all, Jesus preached non-possessiveness, and, in general, gold in the Christian tradition is strongly associated with the devil. " Indeed, what about the words of the opera Mephistopheles “Satan rules the ball - people die for metal” if the clergy themselves adorn themselves with golden crosses ?
What is the meaning of the pectoral cross?
According to the Bible, neither Jesus himself nor his apostles carried crosses, which is not surprising: before, crucifixion on the cross served as a way of executing the most notorious villains . And only after the Son of God accepted martyrdom, did the cross gain a sacred meaning for all Christians. The whole point of wearing the breast cross is explained in the Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Galileans: “I have been crucified with Christ, ” that is, I became like him, fully accepted his teachings. Of all Christian denominations, only Orthodox and Catholics wear crosses.
According to the Orthodox tradition, the pectoral (breast) cross is a symbol of belonging to the faith, protection from the wiles of the devil . According to some theologians, the cross itself, without sincere faith, is not able to protect from the unclean. He is only a reminder of the suffering of Christ, "the material evidence of redemption." Regarding the material for making the cross, not one holy scripture says. It can be any material, including gold .
Is gold the metal of the devil?
But at the same time, in Christianity, gold in itself does not symbolize something bad, evil . Since this religion is inherently not material, but spiritual, the focus of sin in it is human thoughts and actions . Inanimate objects in the Christian faith have a purely symbolic meaning and are not independent "actors."
Therefore, religion, condemning in people an unbridled desire to possess gold, does not at all consider metal itself as a receptacle or an embodiment of the devil. In Orthodoxy, gold is associated with the brilliant glory of Christ, the dazzling purity of heaven, where the Lord dwells . The Bible also mentions that the magi brought a gift to the baby Jesus, among other things, gold. For his magnificent sermons, the theologian John, Archbishop of Constantinople, was called the “Chrysostom”.
A bit about the energy of gold
The issue of the energy of gold has long been the subject of fierce debate. Some believed that this yellow metal gains mystical power over its owner, making him greedy and unprincipled . As an example, numerous cases were cited when the thirst for possession of gold became the cause of the most terrible crimes, in which even close relatives found themselves involved.
At the same time, gold was endowed with noble properties . So, in the ancient world it was believed that it was able to neutralize poisons . Gold was also used for medicinal purposes: from cardiovascular diseases, colds and epilepsy. Taoist monks approached the issue of the energy effect of gold on a person, his body, psyche, and moral qualities in a purely dialectical way: it affects some people well and badly others.
According to ancient Chinese philosophy, the power of gold rejuvenates the body, makes a person's character more fun and kinder. But this only applies to people predisposed to positive. For people with low spiritual development, prone to anger and laziness, this metal has the opposite effect. It awakens in their souls the worst, base manifestations of nature. Gold is considered the conductor of solar energy in many nations . Even the ancient Egyptians, American Incas, Aztecs and Mayans, called this metal solar, believing that the sun itself also consists of gold.
What explains the fact that priests wear golden crosses?
Many people who attend church services only on television on special occasions — Easter, Christmas, — turn their attention to the unusually lavish vestments of priests. To explain this is quite simple:
- a holiday - it is a holiday;
- in solemn services, especially those broadcast on TV, the main characters are not the last persons in the church hierarchy.
Actually, the pectoral cross can be expressed in army language as a part of the uniform, a sign of the difference in rank and length of service . Therefore, not every priest is supposed to wear a yellow pectoral cross. Each priest receives his cross from the hands of the bishop who heads the territorial diocese, as a sign that he is allowed to conduct services. In the event of serious misconduct, the bishop has the right to punish the negligent priest by removing the cross from his neck and imposing a ban on his worship.
The yellow pectoral (breast) cross is relied upon to be worn only for certain services to the church, or for long service in the parish . Young priests who only recently entered the service wear white crosses. Thus, yellow crosses are not a luxury item or decoration, but are a kind of award, a mark of distinction in the Russian Orthodox Church .
In the days of Great Lent, preceding Easter, all clergy without exception wear wooden pectoral crosses, dressing in solemn dresses only on the occasion of the Resurrection of the Lord. This is the "formal uniform" and viewers see on TV during broadcasts, marveling at the inappropriate, according to the layman, luxury outfits of church figures.
The price of the cross as a tribute to God or as contempt for a cheap tree?
In the church tradition, crosses are not called “gold” or “silver, ” namely, yellow and white . Moreover, they are not made at all of these precious metals . The yellow crosses of ordinary priests are made of brass, and they cost 10 thousand rubles from the force, of which the main cost is the work of the master manufacturer. White crosses are made mainly from cupronickel, and they cost about 5 thousand rubles. For solemn services, brass and cupronickel crosses are polished by their owners to such an extent that it is almost impossible to distinguish them in terms of brilliance from works of real precious metal from the side.
And only the crosses of the highest church hierarchs, from the bishop and above, are made using gold . But, again, they do not cast from a single piece of precious metal, but apply the technology of spraying, gilding. Real gold on such a cross will be typed from the strength of 2-3 grams .
According to the internal church charter, each clergyman must appear at official receptions for the higher clergy with his cross indicating his status.
And finally, it should be noted that the crosses, even brass and cupronickel, are not the personal property of the priest, but are issued to him for the duration of his service, so to speak, “on an account” . Taking off his priesthood, the clergyman returns to the bishop the once issued cross to him.