Skull & Crossbones at the foot of Christ on Pectoral Cross?

I bought this very old pectoral cross on Ebay and it has a Skull & crossbones at the foot of Christ crucified. Can anyone explain the significance?

It’s a fairly common device on older crucifixes.

Firstly it’s a play on the name of the place Christ was crucified - Golgotha (Place of the Skull).

Secondly if memory serves me right there is an old tradition that the bones of Adam the first man were buried where Christ was crucified. Kind of fitting that the place where the first man succumbed to death was the site of Christ the new Adam’s triumph over it.

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Interesting! “Place of the Skull”, Golgotha. I wonder if that is why Golgotha got its name. The burial place of Adam. And fittingly the Crucifixion place of Christ, the second Adam.

Anyone else have an explanation?

Yes I’ve read that also, that the bones of Adam were buried where Christ was crucified.

What is a pectoral cross?

A pectoral cross is a metal cross worn about the neck by Bishops (and Abbots) as a sign of their authority. It is usually jewelled and made of precious metals, although some more simple ones may be seen nowadays.


Thank you.

This is a common symbol of Christ’s trampling down on death.
Basically his victory over death. Very common resurectional theme in the Orthodox church.

Indeed, an earlier thread: [thread=103319]Significance of skull in Crucifixtion scene[/thread]


Does anybody have any links to pictures of this? I have never seen a crucifix or painting of the crucifixion with the skull & crossbones.

Here is an icon:

And here what appears to be a woodcut:

I could have sworn there is a skull at the base of the Franciscans’ San Damiano crucifix, but I couldn’t find an image clearly showing such – I may be mistaken.


I really like the pictures, especially this one. It especially looks like Jesus is being crucified over a grave, which fits the explanation that it was the grave of Adam.

One should qualify all this, to be very modern about it, that there was really no Adam and Eve. In the modern era of skepticism, not only is a lot about Jesus in the gospels in doubt, but the early bible stories like the garden of eden are pure myth.

It’s not that I subscribe to all of this, you see, but a lot of priests today are pushy about stuff like fundamentalism and what the Pontifical Biblical Institute called “naive literalism” (or something like that) about the Bible.

So, the paintings and other depictions reflect the spiritual sense of the scriptures, if not actual historical events.

I’m way out of my league here, too in saying this: I would think that the Jews would consider such a place where skulls may be lying around as unclean. So, this reflects how Jesus emptied himself of divinity, by dying on the cross. I am reminded of those parabolic sayings such as He became unclean so that we could be made clean.

Yeah, that scared me a kid, to see the skull and crossbones.

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

Yes, I’m aware of some of the “so-called” modern priests that are poo-pooing the Bible. In fact, one priest that I know said to his congregation "They might as well have started the Bible with’ once upon a time’ ".

And this is a Catholic priest.(?)

Sounds like heresy to me.

New Idea:

Saw a Perry Stone program on Inspiration TV and he has apparently rediscovered the meaning of Golgotha.

Every Catholic should have a Strong’s concordance,unless a better Catholic version comes along.

Golgotha in the gospels is based on a Hebrew word something like gulgetha which is derived from the word Goliath.

Perry has tied this together for us.

You can watch tonight’s episode called Manna-Fest Part 9 at this link (was current as of 3/18/07)

There’s a book on this subject, too, that he’s offering.


Jesus was brought to the Sanhedrin for trial on the charge of blasphemy. The punishment would have been death.

Goliath was killed about twenty miles away, and David brought the skull here. Why? Stone says this would be a monument of David’s triumph. It would also be the place that retribution would be conducted for anyone else that attacked the kingdom of Israel. So, that’s why Jesus was crucified there, to die on this symbolic location, because of the crime of blasphemy, of which he was accused.

But, as Stone points out, Jesus dies there alright, but the symbolism is extended. Back in Genesis around 3:15, it talks about ‘crushing the skull’ of the serpent and his seed.

Well, here is the fulfillment of the prophecy in Genesis, that Jesus is, on the cross, standing over the skull of this giant, who is a descendent of the devil’s seed from Genesis.

Aside from Stone’s insights, I looked up Golgotha in Strong’s and found the connection to the name of Goliath.

So, for you fundamentalists and (like me) fundamentalist sympathizers, there is this more-than-imagination link between Jesus death and the prophecy in Genesis.

I have to revise and retract my earlier remarks. Hope this inspires you as it does me. It’s a pretty strong idea here. Amen.

You can watch tonight’s episode called Manna-Fest Part 9 at this link (was current as of 3/18/07)

There’s a book on this subject, too, that he’s offering.

Thanks for that information. I had never heard that before, but it makes a lot of sense. I’ll look it up in my Strong’s.

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