from The Century Dictionary.
- noun A fixed or movable cross, standing upon an altar.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
The altar-cross is also necessary as an indication that the Sacrifice of the Mass is nothing else than the unbloody reproduction of the Sacrifice of the Cross.
In a great number of cases the shaft was removable, and the upper portion could be set in a stand to be used as an altar-cross.
Indeed it seems not impossible that this was the actual origin of the altar-cross employed during Mass (Rohault de Fleury, La Meese, V, 123-140).
The third canon of the Second Council of Tours (567), "ut corpus Domini in altario non in imaginario ordine sed sub crucis titulo componatur", which has sometimes been appealed to prove the early existence of an altar-cross, almost certainly refers to the arrangement of the particles of the Host upon the corporal.
The same city can illustrate other branches of applied art for the orphreys and textile fabrics made for San Giovanni in the fifth century, the sixth-century altar-cross of the archbishop, St. Agnellus (556-659), his processional cross of silver, and portions of his cathedral choir are still preserved in the cathedral, while the art of carving in marble of the same period is exceedingly well exemplified by the splendid stone sarcophagi existing in various churches of the city.