Pectoral Crosses

A pectoral cross (from the Latin pectoralis, of the chest) is a cross, usually large, suspended from the neck by a cord or chain. Most pectoral crosses are made of precious metals (platinum, gold or silver) and some contain precious or semi-precious gems. Historically, many pectoral crosses were (and often still are) reliquaries with alleged fragments of the True Cross.In Orthodox practice, the pectoral cross is worn by all bishops, but not necessarily by all priests. In the Greek tradition, the pectoral cross is given for faithful service; in the Russian tradition, the silver cross is automatically awarded to all priests at their ordination. Further pectoral crosses, in gold or "with decorations" that is, jeweled may also be awarded to higher ranked priests.

The highest award that can be given to a priest is a second pectoral cross (i.e., the priest may wear two pectoral crosses). A priest who has been given the pectoral cross will typically wear it at all times, whether vested or not. All bishops are entitled to wear the pectoral cross with decorations, although most simply wear a Panagia when not vested for services.