On the cover of Charles Hartshorne's Creative Synthesis and Philosophic Method published by SCM Press (London 1970) there is this symbol

enter image description here

A Google image search suggests that this is called a Christus Rex, made up of a crown at the top, the cross and a circle below (my interpretation). Am I correct in saying this? What does each part mean, especially the circle? Does anyone know the origin of this symbol? I could not find any direct documentation of this symbol. Any reference highly appreciated

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    Welcome to C.SE. Good question. From other meaning of circle in conjunction with a cross, it most likely means "the world" where Christ through his death on the cross and his resurrection defeated the previous prince of the world and became the rightful ruler of the kingdom of God in the world (the crown). I just haven't found a reference that supports this. Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 18:55
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    Looks like a variant of the orb and cross, a symbol used by Christian monarchs.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Sep 26, 2022 at 0:01

1 Answer 1


Reportedly there was an earlier spotting of the symbol on the 1960 hardcover edition of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book Ethics. I have not been able to find it.

This source says it probably a much older symbol, possibly of Lutheran Origin. The Latin means "Christ the King".

It depicts a Crown of Thorns on the Cross, which is over the world. The world is partly distorted/unfinished to represent the lack of satisfaction this temporary place brings. In some instances a drop of blood can be seen, representing Christ's blood covering the world in grace.

If so, one might think of it as a vertical rendering this the symbol, below, with the addition of a circle representing the world.:

enter image description here

I cannot vouch for the above, but it makes sense.

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