Ch 9 Octavius - the crucifix

Hello friends, it’s been a while since I’ve posted on here, but I need some help with something.

I have ran into Octavius, allegedly written by Minucius Felix (A 2nd/3rd century christian apologist), Ch 9 which would appear to condemn the worship of a man dieing on a cross for his wickedness. This is apparently used by the mysticism movement and anti-christians as a club over the head for catholics/christians.

I was wondering if someone could bring some light to his wording.

“he who explains their ceremonies by reference to a man punished by extreme suffering for his wickedness, and to the deadly wood of the cross, appropriates fitting altars for reprobate and wicked men, that they may worship what they deserve.”

If you would like to read the full context, you can click here.

This document is an account of a debate between 2 persons and a third who recorded the exchange. The active participants were Cæcilius (non Christian), Octavius (Christian) and Minucius (the writer of the document, witness and friend of Octavius)

The Chapter 9 belongs to the exposition of arguments made by Cæcilius he has some misunderstanging of what the faith teaches. The argumentation from him ends in Chapter 14. Where Octavius rebuke begins.

Octavius is defending Christianity by correcting this false assertion. Not much different from today’s many protestant sects teaching that Catholics “worship Mary”

The Cross was an instrument of torture in the Roman Empire, it was reserved only to non Roman criminals. It was used as a deterrent by leaving a horrifying memory on those who witness it carried out.

Hope this helps you.


As Jerry says, this doesn’t really say what some people think.

But it would not really matter if it did.

The Early Church (and the Early Fathers) were not unanimous in their beliefs. There have long been aniconistic (or iconoclastic) Christians. The Canon36 of the (southern Spanish) Council of Elvira (a local council/synod held at the very start of the Fourth Century) says:

Pictures are not to be placed in churches, so that they do not become objects of worship and adoration.

OK, fine. Aniconistism was alive and well in southern Spain in the early Fourth Century. All this “proves” is that the Church had not made her position on sacred images clear in the early Fourth Century. Lacking such teaching, people came to their own conclusions (which are not guided by the assurance of infallibility or the authority of the full Magesterium, and thus could be in error).

My favorite Early Church Father, St. Cyprian of Carthage, was, um, firmly of the opinion that Baptism by heretics was invalid. He was wrong. It happens.

Individual Christians in the Early Church were no more infallible than modern Christians. There’s no need to defend everything (I’m looking at you, Tertullian!).

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