The history of the Cross and Crown emblem

March 9, 2012

Cross and Crown emblem

The Cross and Crown emblem today.

[Updated January 2022]

Since 1915, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, has used a cross and crown as a legally protected trademark. The design is surrounded by the biblical text of Matthew chapter 10, verse 8.  Mary Baker Eddy first used this design decades earlier.

The combination of a cross and a crown is not unique to Christian Science; many Christian churches have used it. For example, a cross and crown was printed on the cover of the church rule book published by the Congregational Church in Concord, New Hampshire. Perhaps it was through this publication that Eddy first encountered the symbol.

Decades later, in 1875 or 1876, Eddy used the design on a sign at her home at 8 Broad Street in Lynn, Massachusetts. Advertising “Mary B. Glover’s Christian Scientists’ Home,” it was framed with an image of a cross and crown, along with an open book. However this was not the same emblem that would later appear on Eddy’s books; the crown was placed above the cross and was not encircled with biblical text.

Sign on 12 Borad St. Lynn Mass. with early Cross and Crown: P071

This 1870s sign is the earliest known use of a cross and crown design by Mary Baker Eddy. P07111.

Eddy first used a cross and crown encircled with text on the cover of the third edition of Science and Health, her textbook on Christian Science, issued in 1881. We have not located anything that explains her reason for choosing this particular design. The wording of the scriptural passage from Matthew is quoted from the Revised Version of the Bible. However, the word demons comes from the marginal notes of the Revised Version, which show it as the Greek word for “devils.” Commissioned by the Church of England, the New Testament (Revised Version) was published in 1881, a few months before Eddy added the Cross and Crown to Science and Health.

An 1881 incarnation of the Cross and Crown logo.

The 1881 incarnation of the Cross and Crown.

In 1908 the crown in the image was changed to a celestial, or “Christian’s crown,” after it was found that the crown used in the original emblem was actually a coronet, with no religious significance.1 The design was slightly modernized in 1971.

Cross and Crown on cover of 1908 Science and Health

This was the emblem used from 1908 until 1971, when the design was modernized.

In 1915, about five years after Eddy’s passing, the Christian Science Board of Directors registered the Cross and Crown as a legal trademark of The First Church of Christ, Scientist. Today this trademark is included on all of Eddy’s books published by the Directors. Although Eddy’s original writings in English are no longer under copyright, the Cross and Crown trademark identifies authorized editions of those writings.

While we don’t know why Eddy chose this emblem, her love of its symbolism is evident in her writings. Here are two examples:

If you launch your bark upon the ever-agitated but healthful waters of truth, you will encounter storms. Your good will be evil spoken of. This is the cross. Take it up and bear it, for through it you win and wear the crown.2

Building on the rock of Christ’s teachings, we have a superstructure eternal in the heavens, omnipotent on earth, encompassing time and eternity. The stone which the builders reject is apt to be the cross, which they reject and whereby is won the crown and the head of the corner.3

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  1. See Archibald McLellan, “The Cross and Crown,” Christian Science Sentinel, 30 May 1908, 770.
  2. Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (Boston: The Christian Science Board of Directors), 254.
  3. Mary Baker Eddy, Message to The Mother Church for 1901 (Boston: The Christian Science Board of Directors), 25.