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History of the Order of the Cross



Rev. John Todd Ferrier (1855-1943) Founder of the Order of the Cross in 1904, advocate of vegetarianism from a Christian viewpoint.

John Todd Ferrier was born in Greenock, Scotland. For several years he was a minister in the Congregational Church but became increasingly dissatisfied with the traditional Christian attitude towards animals. For this and other reasons he left the Church, and in 1904 founded the Order of the Cross, an informal spiritual fellowship, all of whose members are pacifist and vegetarian or vegan. He frequently spoke in defence of the creatures and affirmed that a true Christian must be vegetarian. His writings (over 40 volumes) illuminate the deep issues of life and present a message of peace and healing, of joy and hope for all creation. The essential unity of all religious aspirations is proclaimed and many of the traditional Christian teachings shown to be allegorical and universal in nature. Quotations from John Todd Ferrier's writings on a variety of themes are presented in the Order's website: www.orderofthecross.org . Some of the quotations are accompanied by illustrations of great beauty, taken from paintings by members of the Order.

A quote from the farewell address given by Rev Ferrier when he left the Congregational Church in 1903:

"I have heard the cry of the animal world, and I leave you that I may in one form of my future work fight the battle of the souls that are down lower than myself in the scale of evolution, but which some day will come up to bless the life that has had compassion upon their helplessness. But I have seen and heard more than that. I have seen it as a vision before me that men will continue to have a thousand diseases with which he is afflicted, and that he will never he healed of them till his vision of life is truer, his ambition higher and less earthly, and his sympathy and love become like the sympathy and love of God and the Christ whom he professes to revere and serve."

In 1908 the Order of the Cross sent a letter of support to the first IVU Congress in Dresden, Germany. The letter was probably sent by Rev.Ferrier. We are not aware of any active involvement in any subsequent Congresses, and they are not on the list of members for the late 1970s.A delegate was present in 1999, possibly at many other Congresses and they are members of IVU today.

One important event for us was the acquisition in 1927 of a property in Kensington which is still our headquarters. - Gabriel Buist

The minutes of the IVU Executive Committee meeting, July 17, 1951 record that the newly appointed secretary had received support from several organisations in opening the new temporary office in London, one of which was the Order of the Cross.

We now have members in N. America, Australia and New Zealand as well as Britain. Many members of the Order have been (and still are) very supportive of the vegetarian movement. For example the late Dr Gordon Latto, a past president of the IVU [Gordon Latton was President of IVU for 19 years from 1971 - 1990]. - Gabriel Buist

The Order of the Cross today is at: www.orderofthecross.org

If you have any more information about anything on this page please contact John Davis - webmaster@ivu.org