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The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia
The cross surmounting the Altar, made usually of polished brass or of some precious metal. The Altar Cross is handed down to us from the Primitive Church, so that to-day wheresoever the English or the American flag waves there "the Altar and the Cross" are set up. The Cross is placed over the middle of the Altar, in the most sacred and prominent part of the Church, "in order that the holy symbol of our Faith may be constantly before the eyes of all who worship therein, to shine through the gloom of this world and point them to the skies."
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Miller, William James. Entry for 'Altar Cross'. The American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/acd/a/altar-cross.html. 1901.