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Rhode Island Congregational Church device

10th August 2015
Posted by S Taylor

R I Cross

An interesting example of the Gammadion or Fylfot-Cross is to be found in the Central Congregational Church, Providence, Rhode Island.  Records show that the windows were installed about 1893 at the time of the church’s dedication.

The dome of the church has eight stained glass oculi.   While four of them depict the Chi-Rho monogram, the other four contain the Gammadion or Fylfot-Cross.  An oculus (plural oculi, from Latin oculus, ‘eye’) is a circular opening in a dome or wall.  Originating in antiquity, it was a standard feature of Byzantine and Neoclassical architecture.

The Gammadion became a well-used element in early Christian iconography and features in the Roman catacombs and elsewhere in the early centuries of the Common Era.   This and other correlative devices were used in the catacombs to create an atmosphere of hope that Christ was alive.  The Gammadion sometimes incorporates the Chi-Rho and Alpha and Omega monograms.  Appropriately enough and according to the church archives the ‘bent cross’ in their church represents the broken power of death.

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