La Croix de Lorraine, de Jérusalem à l’Elysée

Par le 24 septembre 2018

De Gaulle l’avait refusé, les Gaullistes s’en étaient abstenus, Macron l’a fait ! A l’occasion de l’ouverture de la boutique en ligne de l’Elysée, les yeux attentifs ont remarqué une modification singulière dans les armoiries de la Présidence, l’apparition d’une Croix de Lorraine. De Byzance à Paris, de l’Occupation à l’Elysée, l’Histoire de cette croix chrétienne devenue un symbole de la Résistance se poursuit aujourd’hui au sommet d’un état laïque.
D’où vient cette croix ? Pourquoi est-elle devenue le symbole de la Résistance ? Vous saurez tout le nécessaire sur cette croix qui, depuis peu, domine les armoiries du 55 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.

Aux origines du symbole

Si on trouve des symboles de celle-ci dès la préhistoire, on peut fixer clairement les premiers origines connus de la Croix de Lorraine au IVe siècle de notre ère, à Jérusalem. C’est là que Sainte-Hélène, mère de l’Empereur Romain Constantin, aurait découvert des reliques de la Croix du Christ (du moins selon la Propagande Impériale Chrétienne) et ce sous les fondations du temple que l’Empereur Hadrien avait fait dresser en l’honneur de Vénus. C’est l’apparition de ce qu’on appelle la Vraie Croix.

Constantin et sa mère, Sainte-Hélène (crédit photo: radio-Bulgarie)

De Jérusalem à la Lorraine

Le mythe installé, il commença à se diffuser en Europe Orientale, tout d’abord dans la Russie, où elle prendra le nom de Croix de Russie, puis en Hongrie où elle deviendra mimétiquement Croix de Hongrie (elle figure d’ailleurs toujours sur les armoiries du pays), avant d’arrivée au VIe siècle dans le Royaume des Francs. A partir de là, en dehors de quelques apparitions pendant la période du “Trafic de Reliques”, le mythe se fait plus discret.

Puis, à l’arrivée des Croisades, cette Vraie Croix, symbole des Patriarche de Jérusalem, revient comme symbole pour la libération de la Terre Sainte. Elle devient le symbole de plusieurs ordres de chevalerie chrétiens et s’implante durablement dans la culture médiéval comme une marque de légitimité. C’est dans ce tournant que se trouve toute l’Histoire future de la Croix.

Pour comprendre la suite de l’Histoire de la Vraie Croix, il est nécessaire de raconter l’Histoire de la Croix d’Anjou. Grèce. 1241. Jean de Allay, chevalier venant de Terre Sainte retournant au pays, reçoit de Thomas, évêque de Crète, une Sainte Relique de la Vraie Croix, qu’il avait lui-même reçu de Gervais de Comène, Patriarche de Constantinople. Par la suite, le Chevalier fait don de cette relique à l’Abbaye de la boissière en Anjou.
L’Histoire de la Croix semble ici prendre un tournant paisible, mais quand, en 1379, la Guerre de Cent Ans menace la relique, le Duc d’Anjou, Louis Ier, fait mettre le précieux trésor en sécurité dans son château, créant au passage l’Ordre de la Croix d’Anjou, qui devint ainsi le symbole dudit duché. La Guerre de Cent Ans finie, la croix revint en l’Abbaye, mais l’Anjou conserva cette marque sur son blason, pour affirmer sa grande chrétienté.
Il faut attendre le XVe siècle pour que René Ier d’Anjou, Duc consort (par mariage) de Lorraine, finisse par ramener l’héraldique dans la région de l’époque; puis que son petit-fils, René II, en fasse le symbole de sa légitimité: la Croix de Lorraine était née.

Monnaie du temps de René II duc de Lorraine (Crédit photo: dumez-numismatique.com)

Jusqu’en 1940

Entre le XVIe et le XXe siècle, l’activité de la Croix de Lorraine est relativement faible en France, bien qu’elle soit un symbole important pour la Religion Orthodoxe. On notera cependant trois apparitions importantes du symbole au XXe siècle.

Elle est, tout d’abord, un symbole de la lutte contre la tuberculose, dont il reste une trace sur le logo de la American Lung Association, association fondée en 1904 sous le nom de National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis.

Le deuxième exemple est fondamentale dans la compréhension de l’importance de ce symbole pour la France Libre. Après la Guerre de 1870, l’Alsace-Lorraine est annexée par l’Allemagne mais celle-ci ne traite pas cette nouvelle région comme un état allemand mais véritablement comme une conquête. Ainsi, la région est directement administré par l’Empereur, et le Landtag (forme de conseil régional) n’a pas de pouvoir reconnu. Cependant celui-ci, pour montrer l’importance qu’il souhaite avoir, adopte son propre drapeau sur lequel trône, vous l’aurez deviné, une croix de Lorraine. Le drapeau n’étant jamais reconnu par l’occupant allemand, il devient symbole de résistance à l’Empire, amorçant le sens qu’il possédera plus tard.

Le troisième exemple est bien plus proche de nous, elle est le symbole de la 507e division de char de combat que dirige De Gaulle au grade de Colonel.

La France Libre, De Gaulle et de nos jours

L’adoption de la Croix de Lorraine en tant que symbole de la France Libre est le fait de deux hommes, Georges Thierry d’Argenlieu et Emile Muselier.
Le premier, Amiral, écrivit une lettre au Général en lui conseillant d’adopter une insigne qui permettrait à tout les Français Libre de se reconnaître et de s’unir dans le combat; le second établit le pavillon, le modifia pour l’éclaircir, puis en fit une série de déclinaison pour orner tout les hommes de la France Libre.
Par la suite, la Croix trônera sur tout ce qui symbolise la France Libre (médailles, drapeaux, monuments commémoratifs…), De Gaulle (partis, portraits, mouvements…) et tout ce qui sera, de près ou de loin, associer à eux.

Si aujourd’hui on peut la retrouver sur un grand nombre de monuments en l’hommage de la Résistance, il existe deux croix de Lorraine immenses qui inscrivent ce symbole dans la postérité, la Croix du Mémorial de De Gaulle à Colombey-Les-Deux-Églises et la grande croix de Nouméa.

La dernière actualité de la Croix de Lorraine est la controverse sur le drapeau de la Résistance en Gironde. Le Drapeau, symbole de la Résistance, portait-il un message gênant “maintenant que les allemands sont partis” comme l’affirmait la Mairie ? Ou le drapeau était-il seulement un symbole d’attachement à son pays et à sa culture comme l’affirmait l’intéressé ? Le Conseil Départemental a tranché en permettant à l’habitant en question de laisser son drapeau, malgré les complaintes de la Mairie.

Armoiries de la République

Logo de la boutique officielle de l’Elysée (Crédit photo: boutique.elysee.fr)

Du moins, cet histoire de drapeau était la dernière nouvelle sur la Croix jusqu’à l’annonce de la mise en ligne de la boutique de l’Elysée, servant à financer la restauration du palais vieux de 300 ans.
C’est là que les yeux les plus avisés découvrirent l’apparition d’une croix de Lorraine dans les armoiries de la Présidence de la République, depuis visible sur les pupitres de tout les discours d’Emmanuel Macron. Ce rajout est pour certains un symbole de l’hyper-présidentialisation que pratique le Président de la République, en se comparant à De Gaulle, quand d’autres le voit comme un symbole de respect ou de mémoire envers son illustre prédécesseur.

Religieuse puis laïque, monarchique puis républicaine, la croix de Lorraine est aujourd’hui un symbole ancré dans la culture Française de la Résistance, du Général De Gaulle mais également, et c’est peut-être le plus important, d’unité nationale.

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