The Fleury Cross

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TIS A HARSH WORLD

IN WHICH AFFECTION KNOWS

NO PLACE TO TREASURE

UP ITS LOVED AND LOST

BUT THE LONE GRAVE.

The cross is one of the most common symbols found in cemeteries. It is a Christian symbol that comes in many different designs with separate meanings often with ancient origins. The cross on this white marble gravestone in the Laurel Hill Cemetery at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is called a fleury or floriated cross. What distinguishes this cross are the three-petaled tips at the end of the arms of the cross representing the petals of the lily.

The number three also has significance in Christianity and represents the Holy Trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. This type of cross was also used in the symbolism of heraldry to represent the virtues of wisdom, faith, and chivalry.

This elaborate version of the fleury cross also has ivy leaves twinning around the gravestone. The ivy traditionally represents friendship. The epitaph coupled with the symbolism of the ivy on this tombstone speaks to the loss of a loved one in word and art.

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