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Croix camarguaise

20 May 2010

The Croix camarguaise is arguably the symbol of the Camargue, the large delta marshland formed by the two branches of the Rhône that split downriver from Arles, France, and run into the Mediterranean Sea. The cross was designed by Paul Hermann in 1924 at the request of the “Marquis” Falco de Baroncelli-Javon, an influential writer who detailed the life of the Provençal gardian, a sort of cowboy. This cross is all over the place in Arles and the Camargue, especially in religious settings (obviously); I encountered it on the orphrey of the white chasuble of the Church of St. Trophime, the church I went to in Arles, on the first Sunday Mass I went to there–a baptism. I have a special tie with this cross because of the association it holds with my time in Arles, but more importantly because of the conglomeration of symbols that it includes.

The cross has three elements that correspond to the three Theological Virtues:

  • the cross represents the gardians with its tridents — symbol of faith
  • the anchor represents the fishermen of the area — symbol of hope
  • the heart represents the Saints Mary, the patron saints of the Camargue (see my post from Arles here) — symbol of love
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