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Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions

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Author Topic: Irish Druids And Old Irish Religions  (Read 5750 times)
Crissy Herrell
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« Reply #225 on: February 22, 2009, 12:43:27 am »

its use in their day. Processions in its honour were known in the fifth century. Cyprian records its use on the brow in baptism. The first Protestant Prayer-book (Edward VI.) ordered its mark on the infant's breast and forehead. The whole Christian world has either bowed to it, or raised but a feeble voice against its use.

Ireland has been, and is, the very land of crosses. Long before St. Patrick came to its shores, wise men from the East had brought it in Mediterranean galleys.

What did the Irish think of the Cross? What elevating ideas did it convey to them? Was the Pre-Christian emblem anything to the mass of the natives, or pertaining only to the foreign settlers encamped upon their coast? Did Irish Druids, mixing more with the people, adore the Cross, as was the custom with British Druids?

To the Christianized Irish, whether Culdees or not, it was the symbol of the once suffering but now exalted One. In bowing to it they beheld the image of their Saviour, and indulged the hope of a happier Home Beyond. If the heathen cross came to them from the East, it was from the East it afterwards approached them with a higher and nobler faith.

The pagan crosses being just the same in appearance as those subsequently introduced by Christian missionaries, we may reasonably be puzzled to distinguish one class from the other. Dr. Graves, Bishop of Limerick, compared Irish and Coptic crosses. "These," said he," were brought into both Egypt and Ireland from Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, Byzantium." He found oriental crosses with or without circles on Ogham Irish monuments.

Wakeman, in his Irish Inscribed Crosses, believes they "were used by the people of Erin as a symbol of some significance, at a period long antecedent to the mission of St. Patrick." Rubbings from the stones on the Island of

p. 250

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