Despite What Many Believe, the Crescent Moon on Russian Crosses Not about Christianity Defeating Islam
October 29 – Many Russians are surprised that some Orthodox church crosses
feature a crescent moon, given the long association in their minds of Orthodoxy
with the cross and Islam with the crescent, and are even inclined to conclude
that because the crescent is shown impaled by the cross, this symbolizes the victory
of Christianity over Islam.
than that, the article continues, the cross and the crescent were often shown
together before either of these faiths arose, representing respectively the Sun
and the Moon, something mentioned in many places in the Bible’s Old Testament,
including Malachi, Chapter 4, versus 2.
crescent which in the Orthodox tradition is called tsat “symbolizes several
things: the cradle of Jesus in Bethlehem, the eucharistic cup, the baptismal
font and even the anchor which the Apostle Paul called the hope given by faith,”
as he put it in his letter to the Hebrews (chapter 6, verses 18-19), the
is noteworthy, it says, that the tsata is often worn as a necklace and that
many view the eight-pointed Orthodox star with it as forming “’an anchor.’” And it is also significant that sometimes the
Orthodox cross is shown with 12 rays at the end of each is a star, a symbol
straight out of the Apocalypse of St. John.
number 12 also links the cross to the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles,
the article says. Some theologians see this as also being linked to the Mother
of God, while others suggest that it is “a metaphorical description of the Church.
The latter view is why the crescent is featured on many church crosses but not
on crosses worn on one’s chest.