History of crucifixes

Happy New Year everyone. I read somewhere that crucifixes first became popular when the Black Death hit Europe, hinting there may be a link between the two. Does anyone know when crucifixes started to be used and if this is correct? Thanks


The ‘Corpus Cross’, as it is properly called, dates back to the early Church.

There was a thread some time ago asking why Jesus looks to the right. Someone stated that that is how He was portrayed in the earliest representations of the suffering Christ. They dated that to the 5th or 6th century. Before that representations were always of the Risen Christ.

I don’t know how accurate that is, but no one disputed it, and I have seen no evidence to indicate that it is wrong.

In antiquity crucifixion was considered one of the most brutal and shameful modes of death. Probably originating with the Assyrians and Babylonians, it was used systematically by the Persians in the 6th century BC. Alexander the Great brought it from there to the eastern Mediterranean countries in the 4th century BC, and the Phoenicians introduced it to Rome in the 3rd century BC. It was virtually never used in pre-Hellenic Greece. The Romans perfected crucifion for 500 years until it was abolished by Constantine I in the 4th century AD.

Thanks Joe, I never noticed that detail before. 5th/6th century is quite early. If this was the case the connection of the plague with the crucifix rise would seem to be incorrect, although I could see how the crucifix, emphasising Christ’s experience of suffering could have particular comfort during times of prevalent pain and death.

It’s interesting to note that free church protestants began to appreciate crucifixes during the Great War

Good that Constantine did that!

Our parochial vicar is a biblical scholar.

He told us one time during Lent that the early Christians could not look at Christ on the Cross…because of deep memory in witness of crucifixions, a most terrible way to die.

yes, early representations of Christ was the Risen Lord, later with a crown on His head.

The Staurogram: The earliest images of Jesus on the cross


How and when did Christians start to depict images of Jesus on the cross? Some believe the early church avoided images of Jesus on the cross until the fourth or fifth century. In “The Staurogram: Earliest Depiction of Jesus’ Crucifixion” the March/April 2013 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Larry Hurtado highlights an early Christian crucifixion symbol that sets the date back by 150–200 years.
Larry Hurtado describes how a symbol known as a staurogram is created out of the Greek letters tau-rho: “In Greek, the language of the early church, the capital tau, or T, looks pretty much like our T. The capital rho, or R, however, is written like our P. …

The Staurogram is a symbol; not a depiction of Jesus.

I’m not trying to be argumentative, but did you read the entire article?

The tau-rho staurogram is one of several christograms, or monogram-like devices used by ancient Christians, to refer to Jesus. However, Larry Hurtado points out that the staurogram only refers to the crucifixion, unlike others, which mention Jesus’ other characteristics. Also, the staurogram is visual—the tau-rho combinations create images of Jesus on the cross, making the staurogram the earliest Christian images of Jesus on the cross.

Okay, I give up.
Stop ths doubt I have about history.
Just tell us what you clearly are bursting to bring to bring to our collective attention.


: to represent by or as if by a picture <a mural depict**ing a famous battle>

: describe 1
de·pic·ter noun
de·pic·tion noun

Examples of DEPICT

*]The wall was painted with a large mural depicting famous scenes from American history.
*]Several of the architect’s most famous buildings will soon be depicted on postage stamps.
*]The photograph depicts the two brothers standing in front of a store.
*]Angels are usually depicted with wings.
*]In the drawing, the magic cap was depicted as a soft, black hat.
*]The movie depicts the life of early settlers.
*]I like the way she depicts the characters in her novels.

I don’t agree that a monogram is a depiction.

Which of these is a depiction and which is a symbol?



If I were an uneducated ancient Christian hiding from Roman persecution? Hmmm…

Nevertheless, Christ depicted on the cross is a familiar early Christian idea, not something that arose during medieval times.

Exactly. :thumbsup:

Sign of the Cross


Chi Rho -catacombs


Prudentius 348-AD “The sign of the Cross on the forehead and heart banishes all evil”


Well, it seems to be conclusive! Thanks :thumbsup:

I really hate to do this but,
I encounter so many evolution denialists here that I have to ask them and only them,

Where you there?

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