The Iota Cross (Hand drawn and painted By Dr. George Doss of Our Church)

   The Jesus Prayer is one of the most powerful elements of Orthodoxy. They are like arrows that shake mountains and pierce the heavens.


   Our Orthodox Fathers recognized this great power of the invocation of Christ’s Holy Name. They also have a great love for The Cross in their hearts.


   They found a way to intermingle both passions into their art. Hence, the art of the Iota crosses which characteristically weave and mesh. In fact, these weaves form the Coptic letter Iota which is the first letter of (Jesus, in English).
 

   These crosses in their original form, in manuscripts, present three colors intertwined: green, yellow, and red. Green represents Life that the Orthodox people receive from the Cross. Yellow represents the radiance and glory that Christ renewed in humanity. Red represents the precious Blood that purifies us.


   In recent times, His Holiness Pope Makarious, 114th successor of St. Mark (circa 1948) reintroduced this beautiful art to us. They are currently preserved in illuminated manuscripts in the Patriarchal library. Originally these crosses were in the St. Pishoy monastery library (Wadi El Natron, Egypt), as His Holiness was a monk there before his enthronement.


   More recently, Fr. Angellos El Maraggi (His Grace Metropolitan Maximos of Benha Memory) further perpetuated the flourishing of this art. He learned the art well and tought it to many more monks.


   We have found that our Coptic communities outside Egypt have various services in print; magazines, leaflets, pamphlets, etc to serve their flock. Unfortunately, these have all taken an appearance that is not Coptic. We have posted these pictures to be used by all who would like to adorn their pages with this rich Coptic heritage. We invite all our churches and those who print any Coptic material to feel free to download these crosses and borders onto their pages.


   We ask that the Lord help us to further establish this art through the medium of the internet. Our one request is that you pray for the peace and prosperity of our one Holy, Universal Apostolic Coptic Orthodox Church. We pray that all may benefit through the intercession of our Holy Mother and Theotokos St. Mary and with the prayers of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III and the prayers of the church Fathers.

 

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