The Cross of Lorraine is a version of the two-barred cross that has been used by religious orders such as the Knights Templar and is considered to be a Crusader’s Cross. The Jesuits carried this cross during their missions in colonial American, because it helped the Native Americans relate to the symbolism. I believe this was probably what led to the artifact ending up in Arizona many years ago and it remains today.
What makes this cross so unusual are the Latin letters that are listed in some type of code or formula. On the right side of the cross it has the letters from the St Benedict Medal, although the layout seems to be encoded for some reason.
Notice that CSS is found diagonal on the top, then ML-NDSMD going down from right center.
When you put the letters together, C S S M L – N D S M D are the initials of the words Crux sacra sit mihi lux! Non draco sit mihi dux! (“May the holy cross be my light! May the dragon (devil) never be my overlord!”)
Then these letters are found on the crossbars (just to the right of the vertical phrase mentioned above)
V R S N S M V – S M Q L I V B, in reference to Vade retro satana: Vade retro Satana! Nunquam suade mihi vana! Sunt mala quae libas. Ipse venena bibas! (“Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself!”)
At the bottom is CSPB, listed left to right and top down.
C S P B in reference to Crux Sancti Patris Benedicti (“The Cross of [our] Holy Father Benedict”).
At the corners of the woodcut we find the following letters, surrounding a Maltese cross:
QVD – Latin: Quis vt Deus? English: Who is like unto God? This is the inscription on the shield carried by the Archangel St. Michael
CMB – Latin: Christus Mansionem Benedicat English: May Christ Bless This House
VCPI – Unkown?
INRI – Latin: Iēsus Nazarēnus, Rēx Iūdaeōrum English: Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews
The formula used for the left side of the cross is still a mystery to me. It seems to use the same method of using the Maltese cross to delineate how the letters should be assembled, but their meaning still eludes me.
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated.