Item RNT-ob-0022 - Ethiopian Handheld Coptic Cross

Original Digital object not accessible

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Ethiopian Handheld Coptic Cross

General material designation

  • Object

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Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • ca. [1940-1960] (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

metal cross; 28.7cm x 13.3cm

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Custodial history

Robert N. Thompson acquired these Coptic Crosses from Ethiopia and later donated them. It is understood that Thompson served in Ethiopia between approximately 1945 and 1960, first as a commanding officer in the Ethiopian Air Force and then as a high school headmaster, Superintendent of Schools, Director of Education, and an Advisor in Foreign Affairs, although it is unclear when and how the Coptic Crosses came into his possession.

Scope and content

Object is an Ethiopian handheld Coptic Crosse made of brass with engraved x marks, half circles and dotted lines accentuating the cut out areas of the cross.

Notes area

Physical condition

Object is tarnished and worn.

Immediate source of acquisition

Robert N. Thompson


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Preferred citation Trinity Western University Archives and Special Collections, Robert N. Thompson fonds, RNT-ob-0022.

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General note

The Ethiopian Cross, Abyssinian Cross, or Ethiopian-Eritrean Cross is a grouping of variants of the Christian cross that is a symbol of Christianity in Ethiopia and Eritrea. The Coptic cross is said to be a variation on the Egyptian hieroglyph Ankh, meaning life. Ethiopian crosses are most often made of elaborate lattice work, with intertwined lattices representing eternal life. The crucifix is of the processional type with a socket at the base and can be attached to a staff and carried in church ceremonies or used as a hand-held blessing crucifix used by priests in benediction.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Nov. 2022, MN

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Source used to explain the significance of Coptic Crosses:

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Physical storage

  • Box: B 47 S 2 Box 7