Fragments of a Faith Forgotten

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Fragments of a Faith Forgotten

By G.R.S. Mead

From The Acts of Andrew

FROM The Acts of Andrew the following Address Address to the the Cross is of great interest, when compared with what has been already quoted from The Acts of John and with the rest of the Gnostic ideas on the subject. For the Gnostics the Cross was a symbol of cosmic processes as well as of the crucifixion of the soul in matter and of its regeneration, and it is to be regretted that our information is so fragmentary. The following Address put into the mouth of Andrew has been worked over by Catholic scribes, but the underlying material is plainly to be derived from the Gnostic circle of ideas.

"Rejoicing I come to thee, thou Cross, the life-giver, Cross whom I now know to be mine; I know thy mystery, for thou hast been planted in the world to make fast things unstable.

"Thy head stretcheth up into heaven, that thou mayest symbol forth the heavenly Logos, the head of all things. Thy middle parts are stretched forth, as it were hands to right and left, to put to flight the envious and hostile power of the evil one, that thou mayest gather together into one them [sci., the limbs] that are scattered abroad. Thy foot is set in the earth, sunk in the deep, that thou mayest draw up those that lie beneath the earth and are held fast in the regions beneath it, and mayest join them to those in heaven.

"O Cross, engine, most skilfully devised, of salvation given unto men by the Highest; O Cross, invincible trophy of the conquest of Christ o’er His foes; O Cross, thou life-giving tree, roots planted on earth, fruit treasured in heaven; O Cross most venerable, sweet thing and sweet name; O Cross most worshipful, who bearest as grapes the Master, the true vine, who dost bear too the Thief as thy fruit, fruitage of faith through confession; thou who bringest the worthy to God through the Gnosis and summonest sinners home through repentance!"



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