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Christian Symbol - ICXC NIKA surrounding a double-barred cross.

Free Bible study on the Patriarchal Cross:

Read Romans 3.27-31. According to this passage, is God the Lord of the Jews or Gentiles?

Consider the phrase "We hold that a person is justified by faith." In your mind, who would be included in "we" or "us?" On the other hand, who would fit into the category of "them?" Is this division one of your own making? What would it take for "them" to become "us?"

Read I Corinthians 1.18-28. For whom is the message of the cross difficult to receive? For whom is it a stumbling block? For whom is it foolishness? For whom is it wisdom?

How to preach with the Christian Symbol of the Patriarchal Cross:

This image does not lend itself to preaching as easily as others, in part due to the reasons cited above. Nonetheless, the symbolism suggested above makes it a powerful symbol when preaching about social justice or evangelism, or when encouraging people to connect with others who are different from them.

When would this symbol fit in the liturgical calendar?

This symbol could easily work into ordinary time, when preaching about the day-to-day experience of faith and life in community. It could also work in occasions of bringing diverse groups together.

Christian Symbol: Patriarchal Cross

What does this Christian symbol mean? 

There is some debate about the history of this style of cross. Some call it a Lorraine cross. One interpretation of its symbolism is that the two bars are a reminder that Christ died for both the Jews (the descendants of Abraham) and the Gentiles (everyone else).

Where can I find this Christian symbol?

This cross is not seen frequently, perhaps due to two different uses throughout history. In some traditions, this kind of cross is reserved for high-ranking religious authorities. This designation limits its use, making it more rare. Others have drawn connections between this cross and the Crusades. Such an association with religious warfare may dissuade frequent use.

Nonetheless, this kind of cross can sometimes be found as a standing cross or a processional cross. It may also appear in art as a designation authority for various characters.