A church judge has ruled that ‘X’ kiss symbols are “excessively casual and informal” for headstone messages.
The Church of England’s Consistory Court judge Robert Hopkins made the ruling after being asked to approve a replacement memorial stone for a grave at St Mary’s Church at Great Chart near Ashford in Kent.
Nigel Champion, the son of deceased parents Frederick Edward Champion and Doreen Patricia Champion had asked the court to approve a granite memorial stone complete with carved swans, a dove and a stairway to heaven together with an inscription ending with an “X” to represent a kiss.
A member of the church community challenged the use of the symbol whilst arguing that the swan images were “too big and of no spiritual significance.”
The commissary general refused permission for the kiss despite there being another headstone in the churchyard containing the same symbol.
“While I accept that there is another headstone in this churchyard containing that symbol that is not of itself sufficient,” Hopkins ruled.
Hopkins did allow the inclusion of the swans, noting that other headstones featured “pictorial images chosen for their resonance with the deceased rather than their Christian connotations.”
He concluded that “the symbol is not appropriate”. He added: “In my view, it conveys a tone that is loving, but excessively casual and informal; it befits transitory person-to-person communication, but not a permanent message on consecrated ground that serves future generations as well as the current one.”