Why Christian Jewelry?


A spark of God within humans contributes to our sense of beauty. Humans appreciate beauty, which sets us apart from animals. We can recognize, admire, and try to create it. A spark of God within humans contributes to our sense of beauty. As humans are created in God’s image, beauty helps us understand God’s nature. God is perfect beauty, one of his names according to Dionysius the Areopagite. When we see the beauty of the world, we can sense the presence of God. Religious art is said to be the creation of the spirit. If created by a true artist with love and reflecting that beauty, it can evoke a feeling for God in the viewer’s heart.

The same is true for religious art. Religious art is said to be the creation of the spirit. Religious art is said to be the creation of the spirit. It is believed that this type of art should be made by human hands because humans were created in God’s image and inherited the kingdom of God. Additionally, not everyone can create this art. To do so, one must participate in Church life, have good knowledge of Church traditions and have a strong relationship with God. Only then can the artist’s spiritual inspiration be conveyed to others through their work. While creating, an artist silently appeals to God for help, expressing their heartfelt love for their Creator. The artist’s prayer need not be a specific spoken one, but can be an unconscious entreaty for divine inspiration. This love infuses the art with spiritual meaning, bringing it to life and touching the souls of others.

Moreover, no matter how much we debate which is more important between content and form, it is clear that they are connected. A precise and superior form deepens the expression of its content. This is why a skilled artist who studies religious symbols chooses the best appearance, color, or material for them, and maintains high quality. This helps convey their meaning effectively.

It is important to remember that a piece of religious art can be beautiful or made with costly materials, without disrespecting the symbol or trying to make it secular and devoid of spiritual meaning. In fact, in many ancient sacred cultures, aesthetics were viewed as a manifestation of spirituality, and sensory beauty was no exception. Jewelry was worn not just to look good, but also to understand the world and express its complexity symbolically. This made people feel connected with the universe and spiritually protected. Instead of rejecting this idea, the Church accepted and gave it more spiritual importance. In the Byzantine Empire, people encountered the Holy Cross not just through a massive and elaborate pendant on their chest, but also through the same symbol depicted on other adornments like earrings, belts, and bracelets, as well as on certain household items. This brought a spiritual essence to everyday life. On special days and celebrations, women in olden Russia would sometimes wear ornamented crosses to match their festive attire. It could be valuable to bring back customs like these in our era.

Why should a Christian wear a cross pendant?


The cross is the top Christian symbol, signifying Christ, his death, and the enormous suffering he underwent for our salvation. It also reminds us of the path of the cross that awaits anyone who wants to follow Christ. Above all, a cross worn around the neck is a visible sign of faith that keeps the soul safe, offers vital spiritual assistance and guides our way towards salvation and a deeper understanding of God. St. Ignatius Bryanchaninov believed that the cross is the ultimate source of theological knowledge. The Russian Orthodox Church mandates the wearing of a cross for all its members. A cross is given to each new member during baptism and must be worn at all times. The Holy Baptism symbolizes dying with Christ and being born anew while purified and free from negative influences.

It is customary in the Byzantine Empire and medieval Russia to wear the cross on the chest, as it is considered sacred being the location of the heart. People often hide the cross under their clothes so it can’t be seen, a practice that continues today. This way, the cross is touching the body and seems to blend in with the person, creating a lasting connection between the believer, Christ, and the Holy Church. Additionally, the pectoral serves as a reminder of the individual’s personal journey with Christ. It parallels the cross of Christ with the believer’s own cross, which they’re called to bear according to Jesus’ teachings. If the cross isn’t visible to others, it’ll still have a protective (apotropaic) effect, shielding the wearer from spiritual dangers, depending on their relationship with God.

In the Byzantine Empire and later in Russia, only bishops wore crosses openly on their clothes. Ordinary priests started wearing crosses much later, around the 17th or 18th century. Crosses were also worn publicly by heads of state, such as Byzantine emperors and Russian princes and tsars. They did this to display that their power was granted and sanctioned by God. When someone chooses to wear a cross on their clothing, it highlights the symbolism of Christian ministry. The believer is telling others that they serve Christ, and all their activities are for Christ’s glory. This creates a link between the believer, Christ’s Holy Church, and the world, leading to more responsibility and temptations. However, it should be noted that some members of the Church who were not part of the clergy did wear crosses in plain sight. Women would occasionally sport decorative crosses as part of their festive outfits, recognizing them as both aesthetically pleasing and protective.

In brief, it could be argued that wearing a cross underneath one’s clothes in secret is the best and safest option in any cultural or historical context. However, wearing a cross on top of one’s clothing is also allowed.

What sacred symbols mean and how to choose them?


It’s important to remember that the Church’s symbols go beyond being just artificial signs. They actually aim to express true reality. For Christianity and other traditional cultures that wish to understand a higher truth beyond what the senses can perceive, symbols are essential tools to know the spiritual realm and God. Since early Christians viewed knowledge as a union between the learner (subject) and the thing they sought to know (object), symbols were used to bring them together. Symbols, concrete and tangible representations of spiritual phenomena, were the means to achieve that union. The Greek word ςυμβολον (symbolon) even means a sign that testifies to fusion or union. This is based on the idea that a symbol not only stands for what one wants to understand, but is the thing it represents. According to the Apocryphal Gospel of Philip, “truth did not come into this world without images and symbols, or else the world would not have been able to understand it.” As Dionysius the Areopagite put it, “what we see and experience are actually symbols for things we cannot see or experience directly.” The intricate set of symbols utilized in the Church, conveyed through Holy Sacraments, religious ceremonies and art, assists its followers in seamlessly transcending from the physical world to the spiritual world. This, in turn, cultivates a deeper understanding of spiritual laws and unearths the enigmatic ties between the spiritual and physical domains. As believers gain such knowledge, they experience an ever-growing bond with God, rooted in mutual love and often likened to marriage.

Sacred symbols are thought to be bestowed upon us from a divine source, rather than created by humans. Therefore, they cannot be precisely defined through purely logical means. Rather, their significance can only be discerned through sensory experience or interpretation, although this interpretation will ultimately become another symbol, albeit a fraction more rationalized.

It’s believed that sacred symbols aren’t created by humans, but gifted to us from a higher power. Due to this, they can’t be completely and clearly defined using mere rationality. Rather, we can only feel or understand their meaning. However, any interpretation would be nothing but another symbol, although slightly rationalized.

Because of their supernatural source and significance, sacred symbols can truly impact our souls in a powerful way. Religious symbols create a link between a person and the spiritual world. The nature of the symbol and the individual’s spiritual state or attitude can significantly influence this connection. Thus, it is crucial to exercise care when selecting a symbol. Superficial interest in religious symbols can lead to a greater, more conscious faith. People who start wearing a cross solely for its aesthetic appeal or because of their association with a particular youth culture can subsequently receive encouragement to expand their knowledge of Christianity and potentially become members of the church. For Christians who are overwhelmed by everyday worries and cannot dedicate much time to attending church, wearing a cross or icon all the time could motivate them to pray more frequently, ponder on life’s purpose, take brief respites from routine work or family duties, and contemplate God.