The meaning of the cross is no mystery1, but what puzzled us was the significance of the twenty-six gold beads on this cross2. In Judaism, 26 is the gematric number of the name of the God of Israel (YHWH) but we were not aware of any other Christian association and could find no biblical reference to 'one-score and six'.
Luckily for us, however, Alex Roman could see the significance quite easily and we share his explanation here:
The numerical significance of 26 is 2 times 13, where the number 2 refers to the two Natures of Christ, and 13 to the number of Christ and His 12 Apostles. In addition; 2 plus 6 equals 8, which is the numerical significance of the Name of Jesus in Hebrew.
But the use of the beads in the decoration of this cross illustrates a completely different significance. There are actually five Greek crosses, each made up of five beads on the larger Latin cross, with three Greek crosses on the three smaller arms and two on the longer beam.
In each case, the five beads in the Greek crosses signify the Five Wounds of Christ with the centre Bead signifying the Pierced Heart/Side of Christ. The three Greek crosses on either side and at the top of the main cross celebrate the Holy Trinity and the two below signify the two Natures of the One Christ. That there are five such Greek crosses with five beads each is simply a play on the number of the main Wounds of Christ, i.e., five times five.
But to make up the number eight, the number of the Name of Jesus, an additional bead is added, i.e., 26 or 2 + 6 in the centre - which in itself represents the pierced Side/Heart of Christ on the Latin form of the cross.