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The Crucifix

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 974
  • Category: Christian

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           Crucifix originated from Latin word ‘crux’, meaning “cross”. The modern crucifix is a simple cross bearing the likeness of the body of Christ on it. The crucifixes are always of different sizes depending on whom to wear it and why they wear it. The small ones are the ones worn around the neck suspended on a chain or a necklace. However there are larger crucifixes, which are not worn but are meant for church altars, walls or at the gates. The striking feature on these crucifixes is the image of Jesus hanging on the cross with his head dropped to the right, his arms nailed on the cross, in some larger and detailed crucifixes one might see signs of blood trickling from his hands and right side ribs.

          The crucifix is associated with the strong adherents of Roman Catholic faith and morals. The believers will wear small crucifix with little details, just the image of Jesus Christ on a silver cross, which is suspended to a rosary or simple necklace. However the Holy Fathers or the Pope will wear the larger and more detailed crucifix. Holy Fathers use this as a cruiser and Shepard’s staff. The crucifix is also used to represent the Bishop’s pastoral authority. Roman Catholics all over the world must therefore wear the crucifix as a symbol of their Christian belief. This is purposed to show openly that they belong to catholic religion and believe in the persecution, death, resurrection, his eternity and ability to save them from sin and other problems.

              According to Frieser (2001) the crucifix was worn by students to as a symbol of Georgetown’s catholic identity. This was aimed at reminding them of the tragic event of Jesus crucifixion and makes them believe in the great sacrifice he made. More elaborate symbolism of the crucifix is put forward by Jude Miller (2005) when he describes the Byzantine crucifix. When looking at this particular crucifix the most striking element in it is the figure of Jesus Christ hanging on the cross. Miller explains that this is not a body of dead Jesus but of a living God, incorruptible unto eternity and as the source of life and radiating the diminishing hope of resurrection. Jesus is seen to be hanging on the cross, which is not true, but he is rather supporting the cross. His hands are spread out in mercy and serenity in a clear attitude of supplication but not cramped through nailing as they may appear. The whole body on the cross is not expressing the horror of death but it’s expressing the nobility, gentleness and the promises of eternal life. This is a clear indication that the lord suffered voluntarily in his passion because most of the times he was the master of life and death.

      Catholics wear the crucifix to show their commitment to their religion and desire to express their faith openly. The catholic adherents believe that praying to God through the holy Mary and while holding the crucifix their prayers will be answered. Some strongly believe that talking to the crucifix alone is already a solution to their problems. Others also believe that it protects them from demonic powers.

              Petrovina (2006) points out that the sign of the cross adopted by Christians does not exclusively belong to them. The cross is a kabalistic sign and symbolizes a quaternary equilibrium of the pagan element. She links this paganism to the falsification during translation of some words from the bible. For example translation of the word “Azabytha-ni” from the Hebrew words of psalms xxii to the word “sabachthani” in Mathew. This was the falsification of the then fathers involved in bible translation. Sabachthani belonged to the true believers of pagan temple rites that they pronounced during terrible trials and tribulations of initiation that involved the cross.

Other forms of the cross like the Egyptian cross (Tau) were used in the Eleusinian and the Bacchic mysteries to symbolize a dual generative power. However the Latin cross of perfect Christian shape was found aligned upon granite slabs of adytum of stierapeum. The then monks claimed that the cross had been hallowed (given) by the pagans in a spirit of prophecy. This cross was placed there as a symbol of eternal life. Christians through Gnostics and kabalists who were using it as germ testimony then adopted the cross. The main aim of wearing the cross was to protect them against epilepsy and demonial possession and as sign of living God in them. The present day Roman Catholics wear the crucifix as a symbol of faith and commitment to God.

              Catholics have strong codes of moral ethics guiding them. In catholic way of life one must undergo several ordinations to be a full member of the religious group. The most important one is the teachings of catechism, which contains all the doctrines of catholic faith. The individual is then baptized and at this time considered member of the culture who is legible to wear the crucifix. The crucifix then becomes the identity symbol to be worn by Catholics.

              Just as the Catholics are proud of wearing the crucifix as a Shikh I will be proud to wear my dastaar. Dastaar is important in maintaining the kesh (my uncut hair).To be forced to abandon my Dastaar is like being forced to abandon the Shikh code of conduct and discipline.


Helene, P. (2001), The Secrete Doctrine: Synthesis of Science, Religion And Philosophy

Part 5, Kessinger Publishing Press.

Ilse, E.F, (2001), The Female Crucifix: Images Of St. Wigetortis Since Middle Age,

Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Vincent, J. M, (2005), Consuming Religion: Christian Faith And Practice In Consumer

Culture, Continuum International Publishing House.

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