My unusual Pectoral Cross
Folks are always asking about the pectoral cross I wear, of which I'm very proud, so here's the story. The design was first discovered in Sri Lanka during an archaeological dig, and it would appear that it must have been brought to the Indian subcontinent by Persian Christian traders, centuries ago. It is strongly associated with St Thomas, who is the patron saint of the Indian Church. Some see in the shape that surrounds the cross the lotus blossom, whilst others believe that it represents fire, which is a potent symbol of life-force often found in Persian Zoroastrian religion. It became the symbol of the Anglican Church of India, Burma, Pakistan and Ceylon. It ceased to be India’s Anglican provincial symbol when the ecumenical Church of South India was formed, but this cross is seen everywhere in India to this day.
This silver St Thomas' cross was given to me by my dear friend Mr Nadir Dinshaw who grew up in Karachi as a Parsi, but became a Christian later in life. He was a man of considerable intellect and learning who had a great devotion to Our Lady, the mother of Jesus, and extensive knowledge of other faiths. He prayed earnestly that the Church of England should retain and enhance its name for having a broad and welcoming heart. He gave himself to his friends and to the many charities and radical ideas that he espoused. Nadir died in January 2003, leaving a rich international heritage of friends who had been inspired by his insights, wisdom and compassion. It was an honour for me to dedicate one of my books to Nadir.
My Episcopal Ring
As well as the cross, a bishop wears a ring as a sign of his office and mine was designed and made by a good friend of the family - a foremost British silversmith, Michael Bolton. His early death in 2004 brought great sadness. My daughter Rebecca served her apprenticeship with Michael and now makes gold and silver jewellery on commission. You’ll find many examples of her work on www.greenbeejeweller.com. Just click the icon below.