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date: 16 September 2019

Cross footlocked

  • Peter Springer


Device for supporting a cross on the altar; by extension, any device for supporting or fixing a cross at or near the altar. The eastward-facing position of the priest at the altar is a prerequisite but not the actual cause of the placing of the cross on the altar table; it is rather that the characteristic affinity of the cross foot with the iconography of the altar (of the cross or the lay altar) generally makes it seem like a continuation of it. As far back as the 5th and 6th centuries there is evidence in Byzantine art of partly combined crosses and candlesticks, which are the precursors of the cross foot as it developed in the later Middle Ages. Images showing altar crosses suggest that by the Carolingian period (if not earlier), cross stands close to those in use in the high Middle Ages were in existence, alongside combinations of the cross foot and the reliquary. The most famous example of this is associated with ...

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