At first sight, this cross looks simply a voided patty.
'Patty' is the term used to describe a cross with arms which are narrow in the centre and broad at the ends (see Pattée Cross). When only the edges of the arms are traced, it is termed 'voided'. A Voided Cross is usually shown with a border completely surrounding the cross, but in this case, the arms ends are open.
Open-ended arms are not especially rare. Examples include the logos for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Church of the Brethren (COB), shown on the right.
If the lower arm was shorter, so that all four arms have equal length (quadrate), then it could be interpreted as an arrangement of four 'L' shapes, forming a Gamma Cross.
So much for heraldry. But what does this cross mean?
Well, in a Christian context, the meaning of the cross is well understood. And there is little doubt that the cross featured on this page is Christian. A Voided Cross reminds us that Christ rose from death on the cross to proclaim His victory over sin, death, and the Devil (see Voided Cross.)
Describing this cross is easy. What is eluding us is the origin of this particular design. The image was spotted in the obituary column of a Swedish newspaper, which initially led us to speculate the design may be the symbol of a Nordic church or society.
A kind email from Christopher in the UK pointed out that a quadrate version of this cross is found in the emblem of De Haan, a hamlet on the Belgian coast, which for a short time was the home of Albert Einstein. (See http://www.dehaan.be/)
The red/white/green bands of this flag represent the three former municipalities which merged to form De Haan in 1976. All three municipalities had a Templar Cross in their coats of arms, and the red cross in the centre of the flag is representative of all three. The cross is officially described as a 'voided pommety', that is, there are eight small discs at the arm ends (see Pommee Cross) rather than the triangular tips of the Mystery Cross we introduce above.
But given the relatively close proximity of Belgium and Sweden, it is quite possible that the cross in the obituary column has some connection with the cross of De Haan. We're not entirely convinced about this, but for somebody who died in Northern Europe, that is more likely than a similar design related to a death in Brazil. See Thugsta Cross
If you know which organisation uses this symbol, please tell us (using the box below). If possible, please also tell us the website of that organisation.
Puzzling symbols index