Today’s topic follows yesterday’s nicely, because the staff has historically had two connotations – an instrument of support, like a shepherd’s staff, and an instrument of punishment.  Cirlot suggests that the staff “exemplifies an elementary principle of symbolism: the correlation and interchangeability of the material and spiritual aspects of a given situation”.  Tonight I will be at St. Nicholas in Clinton for their annual vespers service.  His Eminence will be there so I will get a chance to see his staff or crozier.  The top of his staff has a cross on top of two serpents facing each other.  This represents both Moses’s bronze serpent and the triumph of the cross over the serpent of Eden.  Most importantly, the staff never goes beyond the altar table, because the powers of the Metropolitan (and indeed any of us) end right there – Christ takes over from that point.

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