Hands? Wrists? Stigmata?

Was Christ crucified through the hands or wrists? And also in relation to that question, what about Padre Pio’s and St. Francis’ stigmatas? If they had the wounds of Christ in their hands and Christ really was crucified through the wrists would that prove their stigmatas false? How does all this reconcile?

Thank You

to add to this, i always wondered if it was one nail or two for his feet, ive always heard one, but at my parish the crucifixion has one nail per foot.

Modern forensics have proven that a person crucified through hands and feet will not fall off a cross by their hands ripping. Therefore it is unlikely that Christ and others were nailed through the wrists.

Recommended reading: THE CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS: A forensic enquiry by Dr. Frederick Zugibe.

ok but now another problem arises. The Shroud of Turin has the wounds on the wrist of the person believed to be Christ…Now either the shroud is disproved or the stigmatas of the saints are disproved.

It looks to me like the pool of blood starts at the bottom of the hand (back) - and flows down the wrist. According to Blessed Sr. Anne Catherine Emmerich, Christ was nailed through the palms of His hands, arms tied to the crossbeam, and feet on a footrest nailed with one nail (left over right). All the evidence seems consistent to me.

Through the hands/palms. I believe this because of, as you said, the saints’ stigmatas and Psalm 22:16.

A three-part article on my blog about crucifixion may help you a bit:


In popular depictions of crucifixion, the condemned is shown with nails in the palm of their hands. Although historical documents refer to the nails being in the hands, the word usually translated as hand, “χείρ” (cheir) in Greek, referred to arm and hand together, so that, words are added to denote the hand as distinct from the arm, as “ἄκρην οὔτασε χεῖρα” (Akrin outase cheira, “he wounded the end of the ‘cheir’”, i.e. he wounded her hand).

A possibility that does not require tying is that the nails were inserted just above the wrist, between the two bones of the forearm (the radius and the ulna). The nails could also be driven through the wrist, in a space between four carpal bones. The word χείρ, translated as “hand”, can include everything below the mid-forearm: Acts 12:7 uses this word to report chains falling off from Peter’s ‘hands’, although the chains would be around what we would call wrists. This shows that the semantic range of χείρ is wider than the English hand, and can be used of nails through the wrist.

An experiment that was the subject of National Geographic Channel’s documentary entitled Quest For Truth: The Crucifixion, and of a brief news article, showed that a person can be suspended by the palm of their hand. Nailing the feet (or the ankles) to the side of the cross relieves strain on the wrists by placing most of the weight on the lower body.

Another possibility, suggested by Frederick Zugibe, is that the nails may have been driven in at an angle, entering in the palm in the crease that delineates the bulky region at the base of the thumb, and exiting in the wrist, passing through the carpal tunnel.

A footrest attached to the cross, perhaps for the purpose of taking the man’s weight off the wrists, is sometimes included in representations of the crucifixion of Jesus, but is not mentioned in ancient sources. These, however, do mention the sedile (a small piece or block of wood attached to the front of the cross, about halfway down, where the victim could rest) which could have served that purpose.

And no, I don’t think that these are contradictory. After all, God may have provided the wounds on the palms since that is where it was popularly believed that the nails went. Ever since Dr. Pierre Barbet put out the wrist-arm theory and became widespread, stigmatists who were wounded on the wrists have also began to appear.

From my aforementioned article (this part is mostly based on Catholic Encyclopedia):


The question has long been debated whether Jesus was crucified with three or with four nails.

The treatment of the Crucifixion in art during the earlier Middle Ages strongly supports the tradition of four nails, and the language of certain historical writers (none, however, earlier than Gregory of Tours, “De Gloria Martyrum”, vi), favors the same view. The earliest depictions of the subject (such as this graffito found in Puzzuoli, a 2nd-century gem found in Syria, another magical gem, and still another 4th-6th century gem) might also favor this view, as they generally depict the feet of the victim as being separate from each other.

On the other hand, in the thirteenth century, most of Western art (with a few exceptions) began to represent the feet of Jesus as placed one over the other and pierced with a single nail. This accords with the language of Nonnus and Socrates and with the poem “Christus Patiens” attributed to St. Gregory Nazianzus, which speaks of three nails.

This depiction of three nails had actually caused some controversy when it was first introduced. For example, in the latter part of the 13th century the bishop of Tuy in Iberia wrote in horror about the ‘heretics’ who carve ‘ill-shapen’ images of the crucified Jesus ‘with one foot laid over the other, so that both are pierced by a single nail, thus striving to annul or render doubtful men’s faith in the Holy Cross and the traditions of the sainted Fathers.

Archaeological criticism has pointed out however not only that two of the earliest representations of the Crucifixion (the Palatine graffito does not here come into account), viz., the carved door of the Santa Sabina in Rome, and the ivory panel of the British Museum, show no signs of nails in the feet, but that St. Ambrose (“De obitu Theodosii” in P.L., XVI, 1402) and other early writers distinctly imply that there were only two nails. However, this does not answer why in Luke 24:39-40 Jesus is said to have shown ‘his hands and his feet’ to his disciples, unless there was some distinguishing mark located there.

St. Ambrose informs us that Empress Helena had one nail converted into a bridle for Constantine’s horse (early commentators quote Zechariah 14:20, in this connection), and that an imperial diadem was made out of the other nail. Gregory of Tours speaks of a nail being thrown (deponi), or possibly dipped into the Adriatic Sea to calm a storm. It is impossible to discuss these problems adequately in brief space, but the information derivable from the general archaeology of the punishment of crucifixion as known to the Romans does not in any way contradict the early Christian tradition of four nails.

If you open your hand, and spread your fingers wide, then, take a line following the second smallest finger, and a line following the thumb, you will find these two lines cross, on the palm, about an inch from the crease where the palm meet the wrist.
If you place your thumb on thic point, and your second finger on the back of your wrist, you will find that both your thumb, and your finger will find a depression, and applying pressure between the thumb, and the finger will naturally home in onto these two depressions.
These depressions mark the junction of the same three major wrist bones.
It was into this junction that the nail was commonly driven by a skilled executioner, and the nails used were sharpened by honing, so that they penetrated this tunnel with the maximum ease, and the minimum of tearing. This was necessary, else, as others have claimed, the flesh of the hand would tear, and the hanging would be ineffective.
So, the entry wound is in the palm, just, but the exit wound is in the wrist.

Actually the “blood” on the Shroud was proven to be Red ochre paint by forensics.

Forensics proved many things, which have since been disproved.

Sorry, but no it hasn’t.

The Shroud is nothing more that a painting of some sort. It simply hasn’t been revealed how.

But of course, the true believers will never believe it no matter what the forensics will say and will always “disprove” the results.

The carbon dating has been proven to be defective, and the material of tye shroud is thouroughly contaminated with ‘modern’ additions and contaminations.
Actually, heme molecular fragments were found in the ‘blood’ stains.
There was a marked lack of pigments found on the shroud.
That the shroud be a forgery represents a greater miracle than it be not.

I’d recommend you to look at these sites: shroudofturin4journalists.com/ and shroud.com/menu.htm. The latter especially has a lot of Shroud-related documents (such as Scientific Papers and Articles) that you can peruse through.

Yes, “true believers” like you don’t care what the evidence is. I, on the other hand, have thoroughly researched it, and prayed to God, and I know for a fact the Shroud of Turin wrapped the body of Jesus Christ, and recorded the greatest miracle in history, and was preserved until now to baffle modern science, and strengthen our faith in an age of skepticism.

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” - Jesus Christ

When miracles like the stigmata exist, it is important not to get too technical with them. For whenever God communicates like this with mankind, He is condescending to our level. For example, at various Marian apparitions, she has had a different nationality specific to the receiver of the vision.

The reason why a stigmata may not appear in the identical spot as actuality is because it is not a duplicate representation. It is a sign, that God enacts on our terms. For example, when Padre Pio would get pains on certain feast days, it did not mean the feast’s occasion had to have happened on that exact day. However, because the pain came on the day Padre Pio understood as a feast day, the event took on meaning related to that feast day. The same way, the Stigmata having come via the hands and feet, which is how the event had historically been presented, thus brought with it mankind’s understanding that this is a participation in the suffering in the cross. But, I wouldn’t be surprised, because of our more modern forensic studies, if a stigmata appeared in the wrists in the coming centuries.

We should also acknowledge, as other historians have speculated, if Jesus was crucified through the hands it could have been possible depending on nail placement or the use of ropes like in the movie The Passion of the Christ.

You can see other examples of God’s condescension to human levels in His very Incarnation, Scripture written in human language, etc… Some Scripture accounts vary from writer to writer, like the 3 different accounts of healing Peter’s mother-in-law.

God’s ultimate representation would be as pure spirit. Yet we can connect with Him as such, being ourselves finite. The point with the language of Scripture, or a miracle, etc…is to determine what God is trying to communicate through our mechanisms of communication.

You are off topic and this can get the thread closed. If you want to discuss the Shroud then please open a new thread. I hope you do because what you said is a load of rubbish.

And no, I don’t think that these are contradictory. After all, God may have provided the wounds on the palms since that is where it was popularly believed that the nails went. Ever since Dr. Pierre Barbet put out the wrist-arm theory and became widespread, stigmatists who were wounded on the wrists have also began to appear.

How is that possible? if Jesus was crucified through His palms and stigmatas from Saints appeared there - that would prove He was crucified through the palms but if later after the idea of being crucified through His wrists came about and people began getting the stigmata there wouldn’t those stigmatas be false ones? or would they not prove that the ones prior were false?

wow nevermind my last post thanks for the answer makes a lot of sense

You’re wrong, Thistle, I spoke the truth. And why is it off topic? The Shroud can provide confirmation that the nails were in Christ’s palms, and also provide confirmation that someone’s stigmata is in the right place. What better evidence do we have? I think we all know that the Bible doesn’t have a separate word for wrist, so we can’t prove it from God’s Word.

And I also mentioned the visions of Blessed Sr. Emmerich, who herself bore the stigmata, and her visions match what we see on the Shroud.

Maybe you don’t accept these things as evidence but there are millions of Catholics who do. So you go ahead and express your opinion, and I’ll tell people the truth. Deal?

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