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The first reference to the Pectoral cross is
from 461 A.D. The leader of the Catholic Church at that
time was Pope Hilarius and he is often depicted holding
the original Pectoral Cross which contains two crossbars
at the top.After his death, he was canonized as a saint.
Nikephoros I, the Byzantine Emperor who reigned
between 802 A.D. to 811A.D. sent a gold Pectoral cross
to Pope Leo III. The Pectoral cross does not become
widespread beyond the Byzantine Empire until the 14th
The first pope to use the Pectoral cross in the
Roman Rite was Pope Pius V. He was the Roman pontiff
between 1566 and 1572. He is best known for his participation
in the Council of Trent, which defined the teachings
of the Church and condemned heresies. He was canonized
a saint after his death.
Edward King of Lincoln was the first bishop of
the Anglican Church to wear the Pectoral cross. His
years as bishop were between 1885 and 1910.
Different Styles of a Pectoral cross
Roman Catholic Pectoral Cross - A simple cross
in either gold or silver either worn around the neck
by a colored cord or a chain. It can also be carried
mounted on a long staff.
Anglican Pectoral Cross - A cross that does not
include the image of Jesus. It is sometimes adorned
with amethyst and suspends from a gold chain.
Protestant Pectoral Cross - Prelates wear a gold
cross on a chain and the clergy wear a silver cross
hanging by a black cord.
Church of Sweden Pectoral Cross - A Latin cross
in a simple design is word on a gold chain.
Orthodox Pectoral Cross - Priests wear a silver
cross. The cross has the image of Jesus crucified on
it. INRI is seen at the top of the cross. They symbols
IC XC and NIKA are displayed on the four bars of the
cross. The Pectoral crosses are always silver or gold
and on a chain.
The Coptic Church Pectoral Cross - This cross
is worn by the bishops and the abbots. It is usually
made of leather. Some metal Pectoral crosses are also