The author of the following article appreciates the fact that that the world today is very different from the world of the Byzantine crosses. The author of the following article belongs to an interfaith organization. Her organization could never identify itself with a symbol that contained only Byzantine gold crosses. The symbol of an interfaith organization should have symbols that represent Judaism, Islam, the Buddhist religion, the Hindu religion, the Sikh religion, the Baha’i Faith., and perhaps even the Native American religions. Today, some artists have chosen to combine all of those symbols in one unique mixture of religious symbols.
When archaeologists want to learn more about Byzantine gold crosses, they dig down to a layer of soil that is filled with relics of the 4th Century. During that time period, Emperor Constantine made the city of Byzantium the capital of the Byzantine Empire. Four hundred years after the death of Christ, the Byzantine Empire extended up into what is now known as the British Isles.
If someone were to ride a time machine back to Constantine’s Byzantine Empire, he or she would not find a great many Byzantine gold cross jewelry on display. Christianity was still a minority religion in that long-ago society. Yet archaeologists have uncovered proof that some residents of those Isles did indeed recognize the beliefs espoused in the early Christian doctrines.
One group of archaeologists decided to look for Byzantine relics in the village named Prittleville. Those same archaeologists knew that the history of Prittleville extended back to the time of the 4th Century. They hoped to learn more about that century by digging in the soil of Prittleville.
One day those archaeologists discovered some gold objects in the area soil. They had unearthed a few Byzantine gold crosses and crucifixes. Through further study, the same archeologists learned that a man of great status had once resided in Prittleville. Moreover, the archaeologists discovered that the same, respected Prittleville resident had been a Christian Perhaps further digging will provide details concerning the extent to which that Prittleville resident tried to hide his Christian beliefs. Perhaps he had a special locked box in which he kept his Byzantine gold crosses. He must have rejoined when he first heard that the Christian Constantine would be the new ruler of Byzantium.
How his prayers must have changed, following that announcement. No doubt he prayed that his children and grandchildren would live under a ruler with Christian beliefs. Prior to the introduction of Christianity, the residents of the Isles north of the European mainland practiced a pagan religion.
They saw no difference between their pagan symbols and the Byzantine gold crosses held by the Christian residents. A number of centuries would pass before the rulers of the British Isles had adopted the Christian beliefs. Eventually, those same rulers make the Episcopal Church the official Church of England.
Today the use of the Christian cross is evident in any English church service. Indeed the whole world saw the cross on the casket of Princess Diana, when England paused for her funeral, back in the late summer of 1997.
Perhaps some British citizen who watched that televised funeral procession was related to the Prittleville resident with the golden Byzantine crosses. Perhaps that current British citizen prayed then with a fervor that mirrored the fervor of his or her distant relative.