40 Peace Crosses
(& Some Other Notable Crosses)
Around the World
Right click image to enlarge.
After 1241 - Crosses on Earth Fort, Muhi (Hungary). Mark the graves of military men who died in the Battle of Mohi (the main battle between the Mongol Empire & the Kingdom of Hungary during the Mongol invasion of Europe) on April 11, 1241.
October 23, 1898 - Peace Cross, at Washington National Cathedral, Massachusetts & Wisconsin Avenues, Cleveland Park, Washington, DC (USA). "Dedicated by President McKinley to mark the coming end of the Spanish-American War. It is located near the former location of the residence where the first meetings were held to plan Washington National Cathedral" (constructed 1907-1990). Also known as "Stone Cross."
March 13, 1904 - Cristo Redentor de los Andes / Christ the Redeemer of the Andes, Uspalla Pass, Andes Mountains (Argentina/Chile). Celebrates the Peace of King Edward VII [1841-1910] of England. The statue was cast from melted military armaments, and hauled up to the 13,000 foot pass by the armies of both nations. It was on the cover of Time Magazine, December 17, 1928.
August 28, 1913 - "Cristo Redentor de los Andes / Christ the Redeemer of the Andes," Vredespaleis / Peace Palace, Carnegieplein 2, The Hague (Netherlands). On marble railing at top of the grand staircase. Overlooks "Peace Through Justice" (qv). A two-meter replica of the larger statue between Argentina & Chile (qv). Gift of Argentina. Inscribed "Crux lux mundi / The cross is the light of the world." Left image from Peace Palace website (from front but reversed!). Middle image by EWL (from rear but accurate). Right image from http://robertk.asia/ (also from rear). Note that Christ is holding the Cross with His left hand.
Comment: It is very difficult to photograph Christ the Redeemer in the Peace Palace since the lighting is dim, the statue is high on the railing, and Christ faces the void of the staircase (overlooking "Peace Through Justice" on the landing below). /// The very best photo of Christ the Redeemer was published on page 14 of the small 48-page Peace Palace guide book (2004), on-line (see above) & again in the huge 520-page anniversary book "The Building of Peace: A Hundred Years of Work on Peace Through Law. The Peace Palace 1913-2013" (2013). This photo was taken from the level of "Peace Through Justice," looks up at Christ the Redeemer & also looks down the grand staircase all the way to the main entrance (described above). Unfortunately, the photo is reversed in both books (& on-line). (Note that the reception desk incorrectly appears to the right of the main entrance, as seen from inside.) This makes it appear either that Christ is looking away from "Peace Through Justice" or that He has switched the Cross from His left to His right hand. /// IMO, it's inappropriate for an international organization to display any such religious symbolism, but various web pages indicate that Peace Palace guides deny that Christ & the Christian Cross are religious!
May 1919 - Grave of Edith Cavell, Life’s Green, South Wall, Norwich Cathedral, Norwich, Norfolk (England). Edith Cavell [1865-1915] was "quite the most famous woman to be killed in World War I." As a British nurse, she "treated friend and foe alike and helped allied soldiers to escape, for which she was executed by the Germans" in Brussels (Belgium) on October 12, 1915. Buried after a memorial service at Westminster Abbey on May 15, 1919. Lower image shows graveside ceremony on October 9, 2004. Upper image copyright © Martin Edwards 2003. Click here for more Cavell monuments.
May 18, 1920, Peace Cross Memorial, Cathedral of the Incarnation (Episcopal), Baltimore, Maryland (USA). Celtic-style cross. Just north of Hopkins Homewood Campus. Also known as Victory Cross. Dedicated to the memory of lives lost in WW-I. Across the street is the Confederate Women’s monument. Date? - Peace Memorial, Fair Oak Square, Fair Oak Village, Eastleigh Borough, Hampshire (England). Also called "Hampshire War Memorial." Related to World War I?
July 13, 1925 - Peace Cross, US Highway 1, Bladensburg, Maryland (USA). Forty foot cross of cement and marble constructed by the Snyder-Farmer Post of the American Legion to recall the 49 men of Prince George’s County who died in World War I. Towers above the convergence of Baltimore Avenue, Bladensburg Road, and Annapolis Road (a primary entrance to Washington, DC, before the construction of interstate highways).
November 11, 1927 - Canadian Cross of Sacrifice, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia (USA). "A bronze sword adorning a 24-foot gray granite cross designed by Canadian architect Sir Reginald Bloomfield [1856-1942]." From cemetery website: "Few countries enjoy the bonds of goodwill & friendship that the US & Canada share. Our common border remains the longest unguarded frontier on earth, and our nations have shared triumphs and tragedies throughout history. It was in this spirit of friendship that in 1925 Canadian PM MacKenzie King [1874-1950] first proposed a memorial to the large number of US citizens who enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces, and lost their lives during WW-I. Because Canada entered the war long before the USA, many Americans enlisted in Canada to join the fighting in Europe." /// Lower image shows Cross of Sacrifice, Bayeux War Cemetery (France). Also by Canadian architect Sir Reginald Bloomfield [1856-1942]. "Usually present in Commonwealth war cemeteries containing 40 or more graves. It is normally a freestanding four point limestone Latin cross in one of three sizes ranging in height from 18 to 32 feet."
1929 - Charles Lindbergh Good Will Window, Trinity Methodist Church, Springfield, Massachusetts (USA). "Commemorates Charles Lindbergh's famous flight across the world [sic]. The window depicts Lindbergh standing, dressed in aviation clothing. The words 'Good Will' appear in a banner behind his head. Circular insets in the two upper corners of the window show, respectively, a map of the world marked with latitude and longitude lines and a flying airplane, which casts a shadow on the ground in the form of a cross."
1930 - IJzertoren Museum of War, Peace & Flemish Emancipation, IJzerdijk 49, Diksmuide / Dixmude, Flanders (Belgium). IJzertoren / Yser Tower is is named after the Yser River which formed the frontline during most of World War I. The 84-meter tower was iIllegally demolished the night of March 15-16, 1946. The perpetrators were never caught but were thought to involve Belgian military and former resistance fighters in an atmosphere of post WW-II repression. Site of 4th International Conference of the International Network of Museums for Peace (INMP). Images show the rebuilt tower. Upper left image is 1929 poster. Upper right image is brochure for the 4th INMP conference in 2003.
October 12, 1931 - O Cristo Redentor / Christ the Redeemer, Corcovado Mountain, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Formerly Christo redemptor. Statue of Jesus Christ resembling a cross. "Considered the largest Art Deco statue in the world -- 39.6 metres (130 ft) tall, including its 9.5 meter (31 feet) pedestal, and 30 metres (98 ft) wide. Weighs 635 tons (700 short tons). At peak of 700 metre (2,300 ft) mountain overlooking the city."
1934 - Mojave Memorial Cross, Sunrise Rock, Mojave National Preserve, California (USA). "Erected to honor Americans who died in World War I. Maintained by volunteers and was reconstructed after being destroyed. A park visitor sued in 2001. Boarded up [as shown in right image] after a federal judge ruled that it violated the First Amendment’s establishment clause because it conveyed “a message of endorsement of religion.” Congress passed a law that transferred the land under it to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, who would maintain it. The same park visitor challenged the land transfer. A trial court ruled that it was invalid because it was simply an attempt by the government to keep the cross. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, agreed. But, on April 28, 2010, the US Supreme Court voted 5-4 (& issued six separate opinons) overturning the lower court & permitting the cross to remain.
1939 - Granite Cross, Skogskyrkogården Cemetry, Stockholm (Sweden). "The only thing to break up the horizon when visitors come through the main entrance and look out over the rolling, open landscape. Since Skogskyrkogården is a multi-ethnic cemetery serving faiths other than Protestant Christianity, the cross is not intended to represent a symbol of faith, but rather a symbol of the circle of life and death."
1940 - "Cross of Nails," Coventry Cathedral, Coventry (England). "Shortly after the destruction [on 14 November 1940], the cathedral stonemason, Jock Forbes, noticed that two of the charred medieval roof timbers had fallen in the shape of a cross. He set them up in the ruins where they were later placed on an altar of rubble with the moving words ‘Father Forgive’ inscribed on the Sanctuary wall. Another cross was fashioned from three medieval nails by local priest, the Revd Arthur Wales. The Cross of Nails has become the symbol of Coventry’s ministry of reconciliation." /// Right image is "an abstract interpretation of the Charred Cross in the old cathedral ruins." /// "In post conflict Europe of the 1950's & 1960's, the presentation of a Cross of Nails to churches in Kiel, Dresden, Berlin & other cities destroyed by Allied bombing, symbolized peace & the growing trust & partnership that developed." See Nikolaikirche (Hamburg), Chapel of Reconciliation (Berlin Wall Memorial, Berlin), Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (Berlin), Friedenszeichen / Coventry Peace Monument (Lindau), and elsewhere.
1944 - All Nations Cross, Fields of the Wood Bible Park, Murphy, North Carolina (USA). Horizontal crosss about 115 feet in width & 150 feet in height. "The World's Largest Ten Commandments are just one of a roster of religious landmarks at The Fields of the Wood:... from a replica Golgotha to a cartoon-style Star of Bethlehem atop a metal tower. There's an Empty Tomb & a baptismal pool big enough to hold a busload of sinners...The highest point in the park is 'All Nations Cross,' a prone display optimized for angelic viewing. 150 feet long, the Cross is outlined by poles flying flags of the nations where The Church of God of Prophecy is established. The Cross only has room for 86 flags even though the church now operates in 140 counties. The gift shop guidebook apologizes if your country's flag isn't flying on the day that you visit." /// According to the "Marker at Entrance," the cross "is displayed along with flags of the other nations which have accepted the truth. This Cross is a Gift of the State of Georgia--1944 A.D."
1948 - Peace Monument, Potter's Field, Hart Island, East River, Bronx, New York City, New York (USA). "The inmates on the island who spent long hours digging graves petitioned for permission to build a monument for those interred on the island. With permission granted, both prisoners and staff cooperated to create the thirty-foot memorial... The word "peace" is inscribed on one side and a simple cross on the other."
1950 - United Nations Memorial Cross, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, Kyushu Island (Japan). "Standing faced Korea, the soldier of the Allied Forces killed in the Korean War is commemorated." Inscription: "In honor of the fallen heroes of the United Nations erected in 1950 by members of the Kokura General Depot Camp Kokura Kyushu Japan." (Kitakyushu was created in 1963 and includes the old city of Kokura.)
1952 - Gräbenfeld X / Cemetery X, Tübingen (Germany). Has military sections for WW-I and WW-II. Also "served as the cemetery for the anatomical institute of Tübingen University from 1849 to 1963. People who had donated their bodies to science were buried here. But the 1077 people who were buried here from 1933 to 1945 died as victims of the Nazi regime -- starved or killed in POW camps, in hospitals, in concentration camps, work camps, etc. More than 70 were hanged or beheaded by military courts for resistance or openly doubting military victory in the war. 44 of the people here were murdered by the German secret police without trial. 156 were POWs or forced laborers who died of various diseases or of exposure and exhaustion in their camps and were buried here after use by the anatomical institute." "The three crosses were the first indication of a memorial at this site. They were added in 1952. It is hardly visible on the photo, but they read '1939-1945,' giving the impression that this is a war memorial." Visited by EWL.
1956 - Mount Soledad Cross, on top of Mount Soledad, La Jolla, San Diego. California (USA). "A prominent landmark. The third cross in this location, the first having been put up in 1913. Architect Donald Campbell designed the present Latin cross in recessed concrete. It is 29 feet (8.8 m) tall (43 feet tall including the base) with a 12-foot (3.7 m) arm spread. Beginning in 1989, almost ten years before the immediate area around the cross was turned into a war memorial, and ongoing to the present, the Mt. Soledad Cross had been involved in a continuous litigation regarding its legal status." /// On December 12, 2013, US District Judge Larry Burns ruled that the cross is unconstitutional & ordered that it be emoved within 90 days, then stayed his own order until all appeals have been exhausted. The case is likely to be sent back to the US Supreme Court which declined to hear the case last year but said it could reconsider once a lower court enters a final judgment.
1956 - Peace Cross, Holy Land U.S.A., Pine Hill, Waterbury, Connecticut (USA). Photos show the original steel cross. It was replaced 12 years later by a larger, illuminated cross, and the illuminated cross was replaced in 2008."
1957? - Birkenkopf / Rubble Hill, south west of Stuttgart (Germany). Plaque says, "raised 40.2 meters from 1953 to 1957 / by piling up 1.5 million cubic meters of rubble from Stuttgart which had been 45% destroyed by 53 air attacks during WW-II." There is a path going up to the cross at the top. Now a popular area for short hikes. Refered to locally as "Monte Scherbelino," a jocular Italian-sounding name based on the German word Scherbe, meaning "shard" - "Mountain of shards." Info & Image from Mark Hatlie.
April 1, 1958 - Granite Cross, Basílica de la Santa Cruz / Basilica of the Holy Cross, Valle de los Caídos / Valley of the Fallen, San Lorenzo de El Escorial (Spain). "One of the world's largest basilicas, hewn out of a granite ridge, and the tallest memorial cross in the world, a 152.4-metre-high construction of stone which strongly resembles the ancient stone or granite open air outdoor crosses of Kerala known as Nazraney Sthambas." /// "The most prominent feature of the monument is the towering 150-meter-high (500-feet) cross erected over a granite outcrop 150 meters over the basilica esplanade and visible from over 20 miles away."
1963 - Bald Knob Cross of Peace, Bald Knob, Shawnee National Forest, Alto Pass, Illinois (USA). Largest cross in North America. "111 feet (34 m) tall and is visible, when lit at night, over an area of 7,500 square miles (19,000 km2). Base made of Illinois marble, and upper portion covered by reinforced steel porcelain panels. Use of interior stairway discontinued in 1982." Site of Easter sunrise services since 1937. "In 1963 when our relations with Russia took a turn for the better, [the foundation] thought the cross could have a good effect if known as The Cross Of Peace around which our prayers could center."
October 1966 - The Great Cross, Prince of Peace Church, St. Augustine, Florida (USA). "A free-standing steel cross measuring just over 260 feet tall. Weighs 70 tons and consists of 200 stainless steel panels in various sizes. Erected at the direction of Archbishop Joseph P. Hurley & dedicated by the Archbishop of Madrid. Celebrates the 400th anniversary of the Mission of Nombre de Dios and the City of St. th Car. "World's Tallest Free-Standing Cross... However, there is a granite cross in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain (the Basilica of the Holy Cross of the Valley of the Fallen) which is taller."
October 3, 1969 - Fernsehturm, Berlin (Germany). "Constructed between 1965 & 1969 by the administration of the German Democratic Republic. It was intended as a symbol of Berlin, which it remains today, as it is easily visible throughout the central & some suburban districts of Berlin. With its height of 368 meters, the tower is the tallest structure in Germany." /// "When the sun shines on the Fernsehturm's tiled stainless steel dome, the reflection usually appears in the form of a cross [left image]. This effect was neither predicted nor desired by the planners. Berliners immediately named the luminous cross Rache des Papstes, or 'Pope's Revenge.'"
1971 - Capilla de la Paz / Chapel of Peace, Calle de la Paz, Fraccionamiento Las Brisas, Acapulco, Guerrero (Mexico). Built by Carlos and Millie Hauss Trouyet as a tribute to their sons Carlos and Jorge who died in air accident while returning to Acalpulco from Mexico City in 1967. The cross towers 128 feet (40 meters) above the non-denominational chapel and 1,200 feet above Acalpulco Bay.
1980 - Monument, Gdansk (Poland). "Honors shipyard workers killed in Gdansk, the Baltic sea port, by government troops during unrest in 1970 which was triggered by food prices. The only monument built by a Communist government to victims of its own repression. Note that it consists of three tall crosses on which anchors are crucified."
September 28, 1984 - Trios of Roadside Crosses by Rev. Bernard Coffindaffer, Christian Crosses, Inc., Craigsville, West Virginia (USA). "The Reverend Bernard Coffindaffer [1935-1993] began erecting the crosses in 1984. By the time of his death, 1,842 trios of crosses had been installed in 29 US states and in the Philippines. Coffindaffer spent over 3 million dollars on this project. Notice that the center cross is yellow and the other two, blue. Often, they are installed on heavily wooded mountaintops and we always wondered how on earth the Rev. Coffindaffer reached the upper ridges with them. One day, we saw this set near a gas station on US 19 in West Virginia and stopped to get a first hand look and to snap this photo. As you can see, the crosses are beginning to look worn and in need of a coat of paint." States with more than 50 trios: WV 352, FL 225, MS 156, GA 144, VA 131, NC 106, KY 94, TN 87, IN 80, PA 62 & MD 60.
1986 - Lochnagar Crater, La Boisselle, near Albert (France). "On 1st July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme (the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front), British Royal Engineers dug under German trenches & detonated 27 tons of high explosives, opening a massive crater & killing more than 6,000. The site was purchased in 1978 by Englishman Richard Dunning who erected a memorial cross on the rim of the crater in 1986 using reclaimed timber from a Tyneside church. Dunning explains: “Lochnagar...symbolises the eternal pain, loss & sorrow of millions of grieving people throughout Europe. I urge you to commemorate those who fell there...not simply by remembering them, but by seeking to make the world that they were so cruelly denied a much more peaceful, forgiving & loving place.'" NB: Scottish troops chose "Lochnagar," the name of a town in Scotland, as the code name of the secret tunnel. /// This is "Monday's Monument" #63.
July 12, 1987 - Cristo de la Concordia, Cochabamba (Bolivia). "Stands at 40.44 metres (132.7 ft) tall with its 6.24 metres (20.5 ft) pedestal and 34.20 metres (112.2 ft) wide."
July 1995 - Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ Ministries, Interstate Highway 40, Groom (east of Amarillo), Texas (USA). "Second Largest Cross in the Western Hemisphere." /// "It's 190 feet tall and can't be missed from I-40. It looks brand spanking new and appears to be made of metal sheeting. It's on the west side of town. The leaning watertower is on the east... Effingham's cross is 8 ft. larger."
February 16, 1998 - Angel of the North, Gateshead (England). Steel sculpture of an angel, standing 66 feet (20 m) tall, with wings measuring 178 feet (54 m) across — making it wider than the Statue of Liberty's height. Designed by Antony Gormley.
1999 - Christmas Truce Cross, Ploegstreert Wood, Ypres (Belgium). The text reads, "1914 The Khaki Chum's Christmas Truce." In 1999, the Christmas Truce of 1914 was commemorated by a small group of re-enactors who, after spending a few nights in makeshift trenches in the area near Ploegstreert Wood, left behind a wooden cross. That cross has since been fortified with a cement base by some of the local people and now stands as the only monument to the Christmas Truce of 1914. This is a sad commentary on how governments build many monuments supposedly to honor military veterans, but somehow seem to do so in ways that glorify war." /// Right image is from an article in the December 27, 2013, issue of "The Week" magazine about the centennial of the Christmas Truce.
2001 - Cruz del Tercer Milenio / Third Millennium Cross," El Vigía Hill, Coquimbo (Chile). Concrete cross 83 metres tall & 40 metres wide. Construction began in 1999 and it was completed in 2001. It sits 197 metres above sea level & is considered the tallest monument in South America.
July 2001 - Cross, Interstate Highways 57 & 70, Effingham, Illinois (USA). "A 198-foot (60 m) steel cross erected by The Cross Foundation which claims that this is the tallest cross in the United States even though The Great Cross (260-foot / 79 m) in St. Augustine, Florida, is believed to be the tallest freestanding cross in the world."
September 11, 2001 - World Trade Center cross, World Trade Center (WTC), New York City, New York (USA). Unintentional monument. Also known as the Ground Zero cross. A group of steel beams which were found amidst the debris of the WTC following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks & which resemble a Christian cross. "Moved to St. Peter's [Roman Catholic] Church on October 5, 2006, where it sat on the Church Street side of the building, between Barclay & Vesey Streets bearing a plaque which read "The Cross at Ground Zero – Founded September 13, 2001; Blessed October 4, 2001; Temporarily Relocated October 15, 2006. Will return to WTC Museum, a sign of comfort for all." On July 23, 2011, the cross was blessed..., moved back to Ground Zero & lowered into the National September 11th Memorial & Museum due to being a large scale artifact, before filling in the rest of the museum displays."
December 12, 2003 - Peace Bell, "Memorial Hall for Compatriots Killed in the Nanjing Massacre," Nanjing, Jiangsu Province (China). Dedicated one day before the 66th anniversary of the Nanking Massacre, dates of which are shown on the cross-shaped pillar.
October 2004-July 5, 2005 - Checkpoint Charlie Monument, Berlin (Germany). Commemorated the 15th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Consisted of over 1,000 crosses adorned with the names of those murdered attempting to escape Communist East Germany for freedom during the Cold War. Torn down on July 5, 2005: "Berlin's Shame: We Will Never Forget! We really don't have much left to say about this outrage. The anger inside all of us right now is simply too much. Even we believed that the city government and the bank would have the good sense to seek a compromise...but they didn't." /// Also called Freiheitsmahnmal / Freedom Memorial."
Future - Place of Reconciliation, Valle de los Caidos (Spain). "The Spanish government has asked the Vatican for help in turming the Valle de los Caidos monument holding the remains of dictator Francisco Franco [1892-1975] into a place of reconciliation, a Vatican spokesman said on Saturday. Ministers made the request during the visit of Pope Benedict to Spain as part of a Roman Catholic World Youth Day which has seen hundreds of thousands of young people travel to Madrid from around the world to take part in religious festivities."
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