Armenian Cross: Symbolism, Meaning and History

armenian cross

The Armenian cross is a beautiful and intricate symbol that holds deep cultural and religious significance. With its unique design and rich history, the Armenian cross has become an iconic symbol of Armenia and the Armenian Apostolic Church. It has played an important role in Armenian art, architecture, and identity, and has been passed down through generations as a cherished symbol of faith and heritage.

In this article, we will explore the history, symbolism, and cultural significance of the Armenian cross, as well as how it is worn, displayed, and collected today. Whether you are of Armenian descent or simply appreciate the beauty and meaning of this ancient symbol, the Armenian cross is a fascinating and important part of human history and spirituality.

What is the Armenian Cross?

The Armenian cross is a unique and intricate symbol that has been used in Armenian culture and religion for centuries. It is characterized by its distinctive shape, which features four arms of equal length that intersect at right angles. The four arms of the cross are often adorned with intricate patterns and designs, such as grapevines, flowers, or geometric shapes.

There are several variations of the Armenian cross, each with its own unique design and meaning. One of the most common variations is the Khachkar, which is a type of Armenian cross that is carved into stone. The Khachkar is often used as a memorial or gravestone and features intricate carvings and designs that tell a story or convey a message. Another variation is the Soorp Khatch, which is the Armenian word for “Holy Cross.” This cross features a round medallion in the center that represents the sun, and is often used in Armenian Apostolic Church ceremonies.

As you can see, the Armenian cross is a beautiful and meaningful symbol that represents the rich history and culture of the Armenian people. Its intricate design and deep religious significance have made it an enduring symbol of faith and heritage.

History of the Armenian Cross

The Armenian cross has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. Its origins are deeply rooted in Armenian culture and religion, and it has played an important role in the country’s history and identity. According to legend, the Armenian cross was first introduced by the apostle Thaddeus, who is said to have brought Christianity to Armenia in the first century AD. The cross quickly became a symbol of the country’s Christian faith, and was often used in art, architecture, and other forms of expression.

Throughout history, there have been several significant events and figures associated with the Armenian cross. One of the most notable is Saint Gregory the Illuminator, who is credited with converting Armenia to Christianity in the early 4th century AD. Saint Gregory is often depicted holding an Armenian cross, and the symbol has become closely associated with his legacy and influence on Armenian history.

Over time, the Armenian cross spread beyond Armenia and began to influence other cultures and religions. For example, the Celtic cross, which is a widely recognized symbol of Ireland, is believed to have been influenced by the Armenian cross. Today, the Armenian cross remains an important symbol of faith and culture, and continues to be used in a variety of settings around the world.

Symbolism of the Armenian Cross

If you haven’t been able to tell yet, the Armenian cross is deeply symbolic and holds significant meaning in both Christianity and the Armenian Apostolic Church. For Christians, the cross represents the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for the salvation of humanity. In the Armenian Apostolic Church, the cross is a symbol of the country’s Christian faith and is used in religious ceremonies and rituals.

The four arms of the Armenian cross also hold important meaning. They are said to represent the four corners of the earth and the spread of Christianity to all parts of the world. Additionally, the four arms are sometimes interpreted as representing the four elements of nature – earth, air, fire, and water – or the four Gospels of the New Testament.

The intricate patterns and designs on the Armenian cross are also significant. They often feature grapevines, flowers, or geometric shapes that represent different aspects of Armenian culture and history.

For example, the grapevine is a common motif on the Armenian cross and is a symbol of the country’s rich agricultural heritage. The intricate designs and patterns also add beauty and complexity to the cross, making it a unique and meaningful symbol of faith and culture.

Cultural Significance of the Armenian Cross

The Armenian cross has played an important role in Armenian art and architecture throughout history. It is often featured in churches, monasteries, and other religious buildings, as well as in decorative objects such as carpets, textiles, and pottery. The cross is also a common motif in Armenian jewelry, with intricate designs and patterns that reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage.

Beyond its role in religious and artistic contexts, the Armenian cross holds significant meaning for Armenian identity and culture. It is a symbol of the country’s Christian faith, which has played a central role in shaping Armenian history and culture. The cross is also a reminder of the country’s resilience in the face of adversity, including centuries of foreign rule and persecution.

For Armenians in the diaspora, the Armenian cross serves as a powerful connection to their cultural roots and heritage. It is often seen as a way to maintain a sense of identity and community in a foreign land, and is used in cultural events and celebrations as a way to honor Armenian traditions and history. The Armenian cross is a symbol of pride and resilience for Armenians around the world and continues to hold significant cultural and historical significance to this day.

Armenian Cross Tattoos: A Symbol of Heritage and Solidarity

Armenian cross tattoos have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. Not only are they visually stunning, but they also hold a deep cultural significance for those of Armenian descent.

At their core, Armenian cross tattoos are a celebration of heritage. Many people choose to get the tattoo as a way to honor their ancestors and carry their legacy with them wherever they go. It’s a powerful way to stay connected to one’s roots and to never forget where you came from, no matter where life takes you.

But Armenian cross tattoos are not just a symbol of personal heritage. They are also a way to show solidarity with Armenia and its people. In recent years, Armenia has faced a number of political and social challenges, and the Armenian cross tattoo has become a powerful symbol of support for those fighting for justice and equality. By getting an Armenian cross tattoo, people are able to show their allegiance to a cause that goes beyond themselves.

Whether you’re getting an Armenian cross tattoo to honor your heritage, show solidarity with Armenia, or simply because you love the design, it’s a powerful and meaningful choice. It’s a way to connect with something bigger than yourself and carry that connection with you for the rest of your life. So if you’re considering getting an Armenian cross tattoo, know that you’re not just getting a piece of body art – you’re getting a symbol of identity, heritage, and solidarity.

How to Wear and Display the Armenian Cross

Many people choose to wear the cross as a necklace or pendant, while others prefer to incorporate it into clothing and accessories such as bracelets, rings, and earrings. The cross can also be used as a decorative element on bags, hats, and other items.

When it comes to displaying the Armenian cross in public and private settings, there are certain etiquette guidelines to follow. In general, it is appropriate to wear the cross in any setting where other religious symbols or jewelry are permitted. However, it is important to be respectful of other people’s beliefs and avoid wearing the cross in settings where it may be considered inappropriate or disrespectful.

In contemporary culture and fashion, the Armenian cross has become a popular design element in clothing, jewelry, and accessories. Many designers and brands incorporate the cross into their designs, often with a modern or trendy twist.


In conclusion, the Armenian cross is a symbol with deep cultural and religious significance. It can be worn in many different ways, from jewelry to clothing accessories (and even tattoos), and can be displayed in public and private settings with care and respect. Whether you choose to wear the Armenian cross as a statement of faith or as a fashion accessory, it is important to remember its origins and honor its historical and cultural significance.

By incorporating the Armenian cross into your personal style, you can help to raise awareness of Armenian culture and history and celebrate the rich traditions of these ancient people. With its intricate design and powerful symbolism, the Armenian cross is a timeless piece that will continue to inspire and captivate people for generations to come.

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