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Like I asked in the title, what's the name and origin of a staff with a cross on top? Like the one depicted in the picture.

enter image description here

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Hey, do you really mean the Pope's cross-stick or do you mean the one you commonly see in church services, and that's just a picture you found that looks somewhat similar? – mxyzplk Sep 4 '11 at 13:03
@mxyzplk: You are entirely correct, actually. Thing is, I couldn't really find a picture of it at all because any keywords I could use don't generate useful results. – El'endia Starman Sep 4 '11 at 16:49
up vote 8 down vote accepted

That, in fact is the Papal Cross or Ferula.

It has been used since Pope Paul VI, designed by the Italian artist Lello Scorzelli. It is used in the same manner as a crozier. However, the cross bar is bent much like the paterissa.

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Those are crosiers, which have their origin in a shepherd's crook and are a symbol of a bishop being a "shepherd of men." Many have become more ornate than just a simple shepherd's crook and have crosses or other stuff on them; check out the pictures on the wikipedia article on crosier. Here, you can buy one yourself and smite some heathen. The one in the picture is specifically the Papal Cross, which is, like, the Pope's one of those.

[Edit] Actually, unless you really are rubbing shoulders with bishops a lot, it came to me as I lay in bed last night that you might mean the "cross on a staff" that Catholics and other high church denominations commonly use in church services. This is a "processional cross" and are available from church supply stores everywhere. They were used very early in the church's history to head up processions, it being the equivalent of a flag or banner (which similarly, you put on a big stick for visibility and because it's a pain to carry a big ol' cross or flag in your paws for long). Here's the Catholic Encyclopedia article on them. Today, they are regularly used to precede the priests and Bible down the aisle to the altar to kick off a church service, and similarly out during the recessional. Episcopalians use them, Lutherans might too I believe. I'm not Catholic but stick to the high church end of the spectrum and see them a lot.

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