My search for truth behind the Swastika'

PUBLISHED: 07:16 31 August 2006 | UPDATED: 09:49 31 May 2010

Stephen Taylor with a copy of The Fylfot File - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

Stephen Taylor with a copy of The Fylfot File - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

A retired Anglican vicar has spent the last 15 years researching the history of one of the world s most infamous symbols - the Swastika. Stephen Taylor retired from his position as the rector at All Saints Church in Little Shelford 10 years ago to concent

A retired Anglican vicar has spent the last 15 years researching the history of one of the world's most infamous symbols - the Swastika.

Stephen Taylor retired from his position as the rector at All Saints Church in Little Shelford 10 years ago to concentrate on compiling his book about the symbol - otherwise known as the Fylfot Cross - to make people aware of the true meaning behind it.

Mr Taylor from Whittlesford said: "My fascination with the Fylfot Cross started back in the 1960s when I visited a church in Great Canfield and saw five Swastikas carved into the stonework.

"I was naturally puzzled and when the guidebook pointed me in the direction of catacombs in Rome, I was determined to find out more about the symbol.

"It has been hard work, but hugely enjoyable and I have discovered that there are several possible origins for the cross, including being used as a good luck sign and a symbol of peace in ancient India."

The term Swastika originates from a Sanskrit word meaning "be prosperous," and has long been thought to have evolved from sun worship, with the lines depicting the sun's rays.

Mr Taylor hopes his book, The Fylfot File, will go some way to making people see the Fylfot Cross in a positive light.

"Obviously the symbol of the swastika has very negative connotations due to its adoption by Hitler and the Nazis in the 1930s," he said.

"It's hard to overturn people's emotions when they see the swastika, but I think my research can open the curtains and allow them to see the real width and breadth of history which the Fylfot Cross symbolises.

"The swastika has very many significances in Christianity and other religions across Europe and Asia, and it is these which I hope the symbol can come to represent once again."

Tibetan monks have swastikas tattooed onto their bodies, Indians anoint their homes, cows and shrines with it and the Dalai Lama's throne is always decorated with four Swastikas.

"Rudyard Kipling also used tohave the symbol printed on the cover of his books until 1933, because of its ancient Indian use as a peace and good luck sign," the author added.

Jewellery, coins, tombstones and shields have been marked with the cross over the centuries.

Mr Taylor has since discovered that three churches in Cambridge all have the symbol on their stonework and featured in stained glass windows.

"The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the chapel at Westminster College and the King's College Chapel in the city all have the Fylfot Cross inside, whether it be to represent the trinity or as a trademark from the stonemasons," he said.

To buy The Fylfot File, priced at £10 for paperback and £15 for hardback call 01223 830461 or e-mail him at stephen.taylor1935@tiscali.co.uk

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