Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Cross of Saint James

St. James Conquering The Moors 
by Giovanbattista Tiepolo, 1749-1750

The cross of St. James, or "cross fleury" is the emblem of the Knights of Santiago, also know as the Order of Santiago de Compostela, which was founded in the 12th century in Northern Spain.  The bottom of the cross is sword-shaped in reference to the military aspect of the order and is considered a cross of a warrior - symbolizing taking up the sword in the name of Christ.

The order, which owes it's name to St. James the Great, patron saint of Spain,  received its first rule in 1171 from Cardinal Jacinto (later Pope Celestine lll); and, was recognized as religious by Alexander III.  The order was originally established to provide protection to pilgrims visiting the tomb of St. James at Compostela, who were frequently harassed by the Moors.

The Order of Santiago is still in existence today under the Spanish crown.  It currently exists of 35 knights and 30 novices.  Candidates must be practicing Catholics and admission is determined upon noble ancestry.

 Rosary of St. James the Great in red mountain jade by Unbreakable Rosaries.

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Links to learn more about the Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela and the Royal Knights of Santiago:
Mary Pages
Chivalric Orders
Wikipedia - Cross of St. James
Wikipedia - The Knights of Santiago
New Advent
Royal Knights of Santiago

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