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The Cross: Christian Banner or Pagan Relic?
Onward, Christian soldiers!
Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before.
So reads the chorus to a very popular Christian hymn that churches have sung for many years. The song portrays the cross as the identifying sign of everything for which Christianity stands and around which Christians should rally in their fight against the forces of evil.
Throughout the world, people universally regard the cross as THE symbol of Christianity. Churches have crosses atop their steeples, on their walls, windows and doors. Catholics and Protestants wear crosses on necklaces, bracelets, rings, pendants, keychains and items of clothing. People in some churches "cross" themselves by touching the forehead, breast, and then each shoulder to form a symbolic cross in carrying out certain religious rituals or in blessing themselves or others. Some think the sign of the cross to be effective in warding off evil spirits and for generally protecting believers from harm.
All this seems perfectly natural to most people. After all, Jesus was crucified on a cross, was He not? Have not Christians used the sign of the cross throughout all ages to show to the world their belief in the Savior of mankind? The Bible mentions the cross many times, in both literal and figurative terms, as symbolizing the meaning of true Christianity as well as the sacrifices and trials that a true Christian must endure in this life to be true to the faith. What then could anyone possibly find wrong with the sign of the cross?
What most people do not fully realize is that Satan has deceived this whole world (Revelation 12:9). Many of the comfortable, familiar customs and traditions of this world have, indeed, been borrowed from rank paganism and have nothing at all to do with true Christianity. God tells us to prove all things (I Thessalonians 5:21). Before we accept any practice, we should always inquire into its origins. We must assure ourselves that it does not transgress any of God's laws and that it follows the traditions and practices of the early New Testament church. So, is the sign of the cross really an emblem of true Christianity or is it something far different?
Did the use of the cross as a religious symbol begin with Christianity? Notice this paragraph from The Encyclopedia Britannica:
From its simplicity of form, the cross has been used both as a religious symbol and as an ornament, from the dawn of man's civilization. Various objects, dating from periods long anterior to the Christian era, have been found, marked with crosses of different designs, in almost every part of the old world. India, Syria, Persia and Egypt have all yielded numberless examples, while numerous instances, dating from the later Stone Age to Christian times, have been found in nearly every part of Europe. The use of thecross as a religious symbol in pre-Christian times, and among non-Christian peoples, may probably be regarded as almost universal, and in very many cases it was connected with some form of nature worship. (The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., 1910, Vol. 7, pg. 506. Emphasis ours.)
Clearly, long before the coming of Christ, pagans used the cross as a religious symbol. The ancient world used many variations of the form of the cross. Did the ancients use the type of cross that is generally used as a symbol of Christianity?
Two of the forms of the pre-Christian cross which are perhaps most frequently met with are the tau cross, so named from its resemblance to the Greek capital letter T, and the svastika or fylfot, also called "Gammadion" owing to its form being that of four Greek capital letters gamma G placed together. The tau cross is a common Egyptian device, and is indeed often called the Egyptian cross. (ibid.)
Variations of the tau cross were used extensively by nominal Christians in Egypt. "The ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol of life&mdashthe ankh, a tau cross surmounted by a loop and known as crux ansata&mdashwas adopted and extensively used on Coptic Christian monuments." (The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., 1995, Vol. 3, p. 753). The tau form of the cross had been used as a pagan Egyptian symbol and then adopted by "Christians," called Copts, in Egypt. (A Copt is a member of the traditional Monophysite Christian Church originating and centering in Egypt. A Monophysite is one who adheres to a variation of Gnosticism that teaches that Christ is altogether divine and not human, even though He took on an earthly body.)
Where did the tau cross come from? In the book of Ezekiel, God supernaturally revealed to the prophet some of the secret sins of the nation of Israel. One of these sins was lamenting for a pagan god named Tammuz. "So He brought me to the door of the north gate of the L ORD 'S house and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz" (Ezekiel 8:14). Who was Tammuz and why would women be weeping for him? The New Encyclopedia Britannica writes in the article "Tammuz": ". . . in Mesopotamian religion, god of fertility embodying the powers for new life in nature in the spring" (Vol. 11, p. 532).
This "nature god" was associated with two yearly festivals, one held in late winter and the other in early spring.
The cult of Tammuz centred around two yearly festivals, one celebrating his marriage to the goddess Inanna, the other lamenting his death at the hands of demons from the netherworld. During the 3rd dynasty of Ur (c. 2112-c. 2004 BC ) in the city of Umma (modern Tell Jokha), the marriage of the god was dramatically celebrated in February-March, Umma's Month of the Festival of Tammuz. . . . The celebrations in March-April that marked the death of the god also seem to have been dramatically performed. Many of the laments for the occasion have as a setting a procession out into the desert to the fold of the slain god. (ibid. Emphasis ours.)
What does the worship of Tammuz have to do with the sign of the cross? According to historian Alexander Hislop, Tammuz was intimately associated with the Babylonian mystery religions begun by the worship of Nimrod, Semiramis and her illegitimate son, Horus. The original form of the Babylonian letter T was &dagger, identical to the crosses used today in this world's Christianity. This was the initial of Tammuz. Referring to this sign of Tammuz, Hislop writes:
That mystic Tau was marked in baptism on the foreheads of those initiated into the Mysteries. . . . The Vestal virgins of Pagan Rome wore it suspended from their necklaces, as the nuns do now. . . . There is hardly a Pagan tribe where the cross has not been found. . . . [T]he X which in itself was not an unnatural symbol of Christ, the true Messiah, and which had once been regarded as such, was allowed to go entirely into disuse, and the Tau, "&dagger", the sign of the cross, the indisputable sign of Tammuz, the false Messiah, was everywhere substituted in its stead. (The Two Babylons, 1959, p. 198-199, 204-205)
Adopted by "Christians"
One can easily corroborate from history that nominal Christians adopted this pagan symbol as a sign of their religion, even though it had nothing to do with true Christianity.
The death of Christ on a cross necessarily conferred a new significance on the figure [of the cross], which had hitherto been associated with a conception of religion not merely non-Christian, but in its essence often directly opposed to it. The Christians of early times were wont to trace, in things around them, hidden prophetical allusions to the truth of their faith, and such a testimony they seem to have readily recognized in the use of the cross as a religious emblem by those whose employment of it betokened a belief most repugnant to their own. The adoption by them of such forms, for example, as the tau cross and the svastika or fylfot was no doubt influenced by the idea of the occult Christian significance which they thought they recognized in those forms and which they could use with a special meaning among themselves, without at the same time arousing the ill-feeling or shocking the sentiment of those among whom they lived. (The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., 1910, Vol. 7, p. 506. Emphasis ours.)
When did "Christians" first begin using the cross as a sign of their religion? Did the apostles use it?
It was not till the time of Constantine that the cross was publicly used as the symbol of the Christian religion. Till then its employment had been restricted, and private among the Christians themselves. Under Constantine it became the acknowledged symbol of Christianity. . . . Constantine's action was no doubt influenced by the vision which he believed he saw of the cross in the sky with the accompanying words en toutw nika [by this conquer], as well as by the story of the discovery of the true cross by his mother St. Helena in the year 326. (ibid. Emphasis ours.)
As we have seen, an enormous body of evidence proves that the cross is not a Christian symbol but has its roots in rank paganism. Some will argue, however, that we may use the sign of the cross because 1) it represents the manner in which Jesus Christ died, and 2) we are not using it today to worship a pagan deity. However, its use as a Christian symbol is a product of syncretism, that is, the blending of pagan traditions and methods of worship with the true worship of God, something God strongly condemns.
Before entering the land of Canaan, God told the Israelites,
. . . take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, "How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise." You shall not worship the L ORD your God in that way for every abomination to the L ORD which He hates they have done to their gods for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. (Deuteronomy 12:30-31)
Crucifixion and the Cross
Does the cross, the sign of Tammuz, truly represent the manner in which Jesus Christ died? The word "cross" appears 28 times in the New Testament, and in all cases, it is translated from the Greek word stauros. The original meaning of this word was not "a cross" but "an upright stake."
Originally Gk. staurós designated a pointed, vertical wooden stake firmly fixed in the ground. Such stakes were commonly used in two ways. They were positioned side by side in rows to form fencing or defensive palisades around settlements, or singly they were set up as instruments of torture on which serious offenders of law were publicly suspended to die (or, if already killed, to have their corpses thoroughly dishonored). (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 825)
Commonly, crucifixion was carried out in one of two ways:
Two methods were followed in the infliction of the punishment of crucifixion. In both of these the criminal was first of all usually stripped naked, and bound to an upright stake, where he was so cruelly scourged with an implement, formed of strips of leather having pieces of iron, or some other hard material, at their ends, that not merely was the flesh often stripped from the bones, but even the entrails partly protruded, and the anatomy of the body was disclosed. In this pitiable state he was reclothed, and, if able to do so, was made to drag the stake to the place of execution, where he was either fastened to it, or impaled upon it, and left to die. (The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., 1910, Vol. 7, p. 506)
The second method of crucifixion involved a stake with a crossbar to which the condemned individual's hands were tied or nailed.
In such a case, after the scourging at the stake, the criminal was made to carry a gibbet, formed of two transverse bars of wood, to the place of execution, and he was then fastened to it by iron nails driven through the outstretched arms and through the ankles. Sometimes this was done as the cross lay on the ground, and it was then lifted into position. In other cases the criminal was made to ascend by a ladder, and was then fastened to the cross. (ibid.)
The Bible does not specifically state which method the Romans used in the crucifixion of Christ. Most other sources suppose that they used a crossbar because they nailed an inscription above Jesus' head and that both His hands had been pierced by nails (John 20:25-27). However, this is far from conclusive proof it cannot be proven how Christ was crucified because the biblical account gives insufficient evidence. Thus, we do not know how to represent properly the stake upon which Jesus died.
Does it matter? We must also consider if it is even appropriate to use the very tool that was used to kill our Savior as an emblem of our faith. If Jesus Christ had been killed by hanging, would we use a gallows or a noose as a symbol of our faith? If He had been beheaded, would we use a guillotine? Why should we parade the instrument of shame and death before the world and be proud of it? The New Testament shows that the fact that Christ was killed by crucifixion was an offense to some. "But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness" (I Corinthians 1:23).
But did Paul not state that he gloried in the cross of Christ? In Galatians 6:14 Paul writes, "But God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." In this scripture, Paul addresses the same issue that the entire book of Galatians is all about, namely, how we are justified.
The Galatians had been led away from faith in Christ and had begun trusting in various physical works, like circumcision, for justification. Paul underscores his point that we cannot boast about any works of the flesh. We can only boast in Christ paying the penalty for our sins by giving Himself to be crucified. Because of His voluntary sacrifice, God has imputed Jesus' righteousness to those who have faith in that sacrifice. Paul in no way glories in a pagan symbol, but rather in what Christ's death accomplished!
Satan the devil knew long before Jesus was born that He would die by crucifixion (Numbers 21:4-9 John 3:14 Psalm 22:16). In an attempt to deceive the world and lead people into worshipping a false Christ, the Devil made the cross a popular symbol of worship.
God instructs His true followers to worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23). When He called us, God told us to forsake all of this world's false religions, rituals and false, pagan symbols of worship including the cross. As we look forward to the soon coming, glorious return of our Savior to this earth, those who are true "Christian soldiers" must divest themselves from anything that is impure or unclean. God desires Christ's Bride, His true church, to be found "not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:27) at His coming.
Five myths about the cross
An image of Jesus Christ is carried by devotees taking part in the Jesus of Nazareth Merced procession during Holy Week in Guatemala. (Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images)
Christians worldwide are commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus in Good Friday worship services, followed by celebration of his resurrection on Easter Sunday. But as often as the cross appears in Christian artwork and Western culture at large, misunderstandings and myths persist as to its history, origins and image. Here are five of the most stubborn misconceptions about Christianity’s most prominent symbol.
The iconic image of the Christian cross tends to feature a central vertical beam transected by a perpendicular beam about a third of the way down. This version of the cross is visible everywhere from emoji (which include both the two-beam Latin cross and the Orthodox cross, also known as the Suppedaneum cross, which has another bar near the bottom) to roadside memorials and, of course, church steeples.
But the actual crosses Romans used for executions probably took a different shape. The Greek and Latin words for “cross” — “stauros” and “crux” — do not necessarily describe what most people imagine as a cross. They refer to an upright stake upon which the condemned could be bound with hands above their heads. Most historians surmise that Jesus’ cross was more likely to have been T-shaped, with the vertical element notched to allow executioners to tie the victim to the crossbeam, then raise it and set it securely into the top. The Tau cross, named for its resemblance to the Greek letter, has been adopted over time by various Christian orders and sects, and it probably bears a stronger resemblance to the object upon which Jesus died on than those crosses more commonly depicted in Christian art.
Nearly every depiction of Jesus’ crucifixion — including masterpieces such as Sandro Botticelli’s “Mystic Crucifixion” and Diego Velázquez’s “Christ Crucified” — shows Him attached to the cross by nails through his palms and his feet.
The New Testament Gospels do not, however, directly say that Jesus was nailed to the cross. In fact, the only reference to such nails in the Gospels comes from the book of John and the story of doubting Thomas, who asks to see the marks of the nails in Jesus’ hands to confirm that he is really encountering the resurrected Christ (John 20:25). The tradition that Jesus was nailed to the cross may also derive from the passage in some translations of Psalm 21:16 that says, “They pierce my hands and feet.”
Yet, while some physical evidence for nailing the feet of crucifixion victims has been found by archaeologists, it would have been impossible to fix the condemned to a cross by nails alone, since the bones in the hands or wrists would not have supported the weight of the body. Rather, Romans would have at least also tied victims’ wrists to the crossbeam, or perhaps draped their arms over the back of the beam and secured them with ropes. Suffocation, rather than loss of blood, would be the cause of death.
The Gospel of John states that Jesus bore the cross by himself (John 19:17) to a hill called Golgotha, while the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke claim that authorities compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, to carry the cross for Him, presumably because the flogging He had received had left Him too weak to carry it. In either case, most depictions in Christian art (including renditions by Michelangelo, El Greco and Titian) show either man carrying a large, wooden cross with both a vertical and a horizontal beam.
Yet Romans generally had the upright beam already set up at the place of execution. To the extent that the condemned carried their own crosses, they would have been given only the horizontal piece, according to historians of ancient execution methods, including LaGrange College professor John Granger Cook.
“For almost 1,000 years, the Christian church emphasized paradise, not Crucifixion,” two authors wrote in UU World magazine in Slate, scholar Larry Hurtado claimed that “there was, in short, little to be gained in proclaiming a crucified saviour in that setting in which crucifixion was a grisly reality,” noting that “some early Christians tried to avoid reference to Jesus’ crucifixion.”
It is true that crosses were extremely rare symbols for Christians to use before the mid-4th century. Moreover, the first images of crosses portray them more as slender, gemmed staffs than as sturdy instruments of execution. Depictions of Jesus’ crucifixion were even more rare, not occurring with any regularity until the 6th century.
Yet there’s a reason this is surprising: Christian authors, poets and preachers wrote and spoke at great length about the significance and meaning of Jesus’ death on the cross. In the 2nd century, Christian thinker Justin Martyr wrote that “when they crucified Him, driving in the nails, they pierced His hands and feet and those who crucified Him parted His garments among themselves,” emphasizing the humiliation and suffering of Jesus’ execution in a long dialogue with a non-Christian interlocutor. Tertullian, another prolific early Christian writer, also meditated at length on the crucifixion and its theological meaning.
While explaining the cross or crucifix’s absence from visual art may be difficult, timing its appearance with the rise of pilgrimage to the Holy Land and the sites of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection provides helpful clues. By the end of the 4th century, pilgrims were traveling to Jerusalem, where they could visit Golgotha and venerate a relic of the “true cross,” supposedly discovered by the Roman Empress Helena. Some even were privileged to receive a fragment of the holy wood. The image of the cross and the crucifix may be linked with pilgrims’ desire to re-create the scene in its historical setting, and the proliferation of cross images in the West may have to do with the cross-related souvenirs some pilgrims brought back.
This idea has some convinced followers. According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, various authorities “have linked the cross with nature worship and pagan sex rites.” The Church of the Great God, another denomination, likewise claims that “long before the coming of Christ, pagans used the cross as a religious symbol.”
Yet there is no evidence that Christians intentionally borrowed the cross from pre-Christian cultic symbols.
While it is true that many ancient religions used symbols similar to the cross (and that Egyptian Christians even adapted the ankh, a hieroglyph for “life”), two intersecting lines are a simple and very common figure. This makes it difficult to assert that early Christians consciously adopted a particular sign rather than inventing one specifically referring to their unique story of Jesus’ death upon a cross. While it is easy to see similarities in religious artwork from various traditions, it is also easy enough to locate distinctions among them. The Christian cross, with all its associated symbols (anchors, letters, ploughs and more), is a distinct feature of Christian art.
Five myths is a weekly feature challenging everything you think you know. You can check out previous myths, read more from Outlook or follow our updates on Facebook and Twitter.
The cross is one of the earliest and most widely used Christian symbol. In the most broad sense it symbolizes the religion of Christianity. More specifically, it represents and memorializes Christ's death by crucifixion on a cross.
A great variety of crosses has developed throughout Christian history, some with specific symbolic meaning and others that have simply become culturally associated with certain groups.
The simplest and most common cross is the Latin cross. It may not have come into use until the 2nd or 3rd century. The empty cross, usually favored by Protestants, reminds Christians of the resurrection, while the crucifix, with Jesus on it, favored by Catholic and Orthodox churches, is a reminder of Christ's sacrifice.
George Bennard: The Early Years
In 1910, stepping out in faith, Bennard resigned and began his own itinerant ministry. He traveled throughout the Midwest, holding revivals until his retirement in Reed City, Michigan, more than 30 years later.
Loved for its lilting melody and words of personal trust in the cross of Christ, "The Old Rugged Cross" remains one of the most cherished hymns of the Christian faith. It has since been included in numerous hymnals and recordings by contemporary artists.
One of the most popular symbols associated with the Celtic cross is the Celtic knot, composed of seven strands, with each strand representing something important in Celtic culture.
Throughout history, these knots have been etched on Celtic crosses and woven into a popular Celtic jewelry piece known as the Trinitarian knot, symbolizing the Trinity.
These knots had origins as far back as the Roman Empire and played a huge role in artistic decoration in the Byzantine era.
The Compass Rose was another symbol associated with the Celtic cross, used by sailors and later translated into popular jewelry pieces.
Christian Cross - History
That the cross is a Christian symbol is accepted without question by practically every professing Christian. It is revered and all but worshiped by nearly everyone. But no one ever stops to wonder why they reverence the cross. No one asks where the practice originated, or wonders if they should wear crosses around their necks and have them scattered around their homes. Everyone just takes it for granted that this is what Jesus wants us to do. But is it? Does the Bible encourage that practice? For that matter, did Jesus even die on a cross? What does the Bible say?
DID JESUS DIE ON A CROSS?
The word “cross” in your Bible is translated from the Greek word “stauros”. So when you read the phrase “the cross of Christ” in your Bible, the original phrase is “the stauros of Christ”. What does that phrase mean – is “the stauros of Christ” a T-shaped cross like we are familiar with today… or was it something else?
“Both the noun and the verb stauroo, ‘to fasten to a stake or pale,’ are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed ‘cross.’ The shape of the latter had its origin in ancient Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz… the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the ‘cross’ of Christ.” (Vine)
So according to this respected authority, the original instrument of Jesus’ death is DIFFERENT from the popular image of the two-beamed cross shaped like a T! In fact, the cross is a symbol of one of the enemies of God – Tammuz, a Babylonian sun-god. The ancient letter Tau, the initial of Tammuz, looks like the English lower-case ‘t’, which makes a very clear cross. It was this cross that was brought by pagans into the church and was later ADOPTED to stand for the “cross” of Christ. According to that quote, the Tau cross revered by so many today had its origin in ancient Chaldea – Babylon!
“What the ancients used to signify when they used the word stauros, can easily be seen by referring to either the Iliad or the Odyssey. It will there be found to clearly signify an ordinary pole or stake without any cross-bar. And it is as thus signifying a single piece of wood that the word in question is used throughout the old Greek classics.” (Parsons)
So when the classical Greek writers used the word stauroo or stauros, they never meant a T-shaped cross, but rather a simple pole – a straight piece of wood or stake WITHOUT A CROSS BAR!
“The side light thrown upon the question by Lucian is also worth noting. This writer, referring to Jesus, alludes to ‘That sophist of theirs who was fastened to a skolops’ which word signified a single piece of wood, and not two pieces joined together.” (Parsons)
The ancient historians agree that the instrument of Jesus’ death was a single piece of wood, an upright pole or stake. THIS is the instrument Jesus died upon – NOT the two-beamed cross seen in every church! This is why Peter says that Jesus “bare our sins in his own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24), a strange statement if Jesus was nailed to a two-beamed cross, but fitting perfectly with the true meaning of the Greek word stauros – a single pole!
Another Biblical picture of what the so-called “cross” looked like is revealed in
John 3:14. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.
So Jesus was to be lifted up in the same fashion as Moses lifted up the brass serpent. What was that brass serpent lifted up on? Was it a cross?
Numbers 21:9. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole…
And in the exact same way, Jesus was lifted up – not on a cross, but on a stauros… a POLE or STAKE!
THE MANY FORMS OF THE CROSS
The cross takes many forms today. All denominations, including completely non-Christian religions, have their own preferred form. Surely, Jesus died only once even if it were on a cross, it could only have been on one type of cross so what do all these other crosses represent? Surely Jesus wasn’t crucified on an Eastern Orthodox or a Maltese cross so why do Christians revere them today?
“In their temples, in their houses, on their images, etc., the worshippers [of pagan gods] were accustomed to see the peculiar Cross, or Crosses, dedicated to each [individual deity]. Bacchus had his, Serapis his, and so forth.” (Brock)
In ancient times, each false god had his own cross. And just like ancient times, each Catholic saint, in addition to the Pope and Mary, has his own form of the cross. These crosses don’t commemorate Jesus! They were devoted to Catholic saints!
Surely, Jesus could not have died on ALL of the crosses you see in modern Christianity! He died only once and on one specific instrument, but no one seems to care which of these forms you wear around your neck! None of those crosses commemorate Christ because Christ died on a stake! Instead, they all commemorate ancient false gods!
THE ANTIQUITY OF THE CROSS
The Catholic Encyclopedia admits that “the sign of the cross, represented in its simplest form by a crossing of two lines at right angles, greatly antedates, in both the East and the West, the introduction of Christianity. It goes back to a very remote period of human civilization.”
The Catholic Church – which is THE authority on the history of mainstream Christianity – admits that the very symbol of their religion antedates the founding of their religion.
“Only, do not let the Christians be selfish, and in their use of it exclude the Heathen, as the Heathen had the Cross at any rate 1,000 years before them.” (Brock)
So what exactly did the cross that was revered by ancient pagans at least 1,000 years before the birth of Christ look like?
Pre-Columbian crosses found in Colombia. Both of these artifacts picture a cross superimposed on the sun! This is very likely what Emperor Constantine saw in his vision.
Pre-Columbian swastikas found on a clay vase from Colombia. To the Hindus and other cultures, the swastika was used to represent the sun, life, power, strength, good luck, etc.
Hieroglyphs in an ancient Ptolemaic Egyptian frieze. The Ptolemaic period extends from 305 to 30 B.C., so obviously this cross cannot possibly commemorate Christ. The enlargement on the right shows that it is exactly like the Latin cross so commonly seen today.
Latin-styled cross on the head of a bull. From Belarus, dated 400 to 300 B.C.
Latin-styled cross and Greek (mathematician’s) crosses from Belarus, dated between 700 and 500 B.C.
Etruscan pendant with swastika symbols. From Italy, dated between 700 and 650 B.C.
Symbol of the Chinese wu (“shaman witch, wizard magician”). These figurines, which are dated circa 8th century BC, were worn on the top of the head, identifying the person as a wu. Note the connection between this symbol for “shaman” (a cross with potents) with the Western heraldic symbol of magicians, the cross potent (picture on the right).
Assurnasiripal II from ancient Nimrud he reigned from 883 to 859 B.C. Above his rod is a “ring with wings” or “winged disk” which has a Maltese cross in the middle of it. The cross was associated with the sun, and more specifically, the total eclipse of the sun.
Maltese cross on a necklace worn by the Assyrian king Shamshi-Adad V. This stele is dated 824 B.C. What we now call the Maltese cross was very prominent during the Assyrian period.
A tablet from around 900 B.C. depicting the Babylonian sun-god Shamash (seated on the right) holding emblems of his authority, a staff and ring, and the king with two attendants on the left. In the center, on an altar, is a large 4-point sun image, with additional small wavy rays between the points.
An artifact unearthed in the holy of holies of the pagan temple in the Canaanite city of Hazor (also spelled Hatzor), in northern Israel, that dates to 1,400 B.C. It is described as follows: “a basalt offering table, pillar-shaped, with a carved symbol of the storm god Baal on its side. That symbol was a circle with a cross in the center”. The symbol of Baal was the circle with a cross in the center!! Notice that this artifact’s design matches perfectly the first two images you saw of a cross superimposed on a sun!
From Estonia, dated to be from the Iron Age. Regardless of the dates of the Iron Age, it can safely be said that they are pre-Christian crosses.
From Bulgaria, dated to the Neolithic Age. Regardless of the exact dates of the Neolithic Age, the pottery here is definitely pre-Christian.
Found in northern Afghanistan, dated to be between 2,000 and 1,500 B.C. Again, this is a cross inscribed in a circle (which represents the sun).
Ritual vessel from Egypt during the First Dynasty, circa 3,000 B.C. This is a representation of the ankh, a sign of life, power, strength, and good luck to the Egyptians. The ankh is acknowledged by most historians to be a precursor to the so-called “Christian” cross, which as you’re starting to see, has nothing whatsoever to do with Christ!
The Djed pillar (middle symbol in the left image) is “one of the more ancient and commonly found symbols in Egyptian mythology. It is a pillar-like symbol in hieroglyphics representing stability [or power, strength]. It is associated with Osiris [i.e., Nimrod], the Egyptian god of the afterlife, the underworld, and the dead. It is commonly understood to represent his spine” (Wikipedia, “Djed”). The Djed was often used in representations with the Pharaohs as staffs and head dresses. Here it is shown in a representation of Nimrod (note the leopard print dress and Negroid facial features). The Djed could be the earliest form of the cross, since Babel was constructed under Nimrod circa 2,200 B.C.
Historians all agree that these crosses have a common origin. They are all signs of life, rebirth, or the death of that pagan religion’s messiah. They all predate Christ, being used at least 15 centuries before Christ! Then the Catholic Church adopted them, simply renaming these common pagan idols and calling them Christian symbols, and treating them in the same manner as the heathens had treated them under the old names.
WHAT DOES THE CROSS MEAN?
To non-Christian people, the cross does not symbolize the death of Christ. To them it symbolizes something entirely different: it is a sign of life to them. The cross is a type of fertility symbol, representing not only physical life but also a “future life”.
“The cross represents the Tree of Life, the age-old fertility symbol, combining the vertical male and horizontal female principles, especially in Egypt….” (Koster)
The cross is a fertility symbol, well-known in ancient Egypt and in other cultures. The cross is found even in the “cradle of European civilization”:
“Leaving the land of Shem and passing to the tents of Japhet, we are welcomed at the very cradle of European art and civilization [Greece] by the cross. It may have been brought with other traditions by those who wandered into Greece after the dispersion of Babel, or it may have been transmitted from Egypt, or Phoenicia, but the same promise of ‘future life’ was symbolized.” (Seymour)
The cross, regardless of its form, “is an emblem of great antiquity, and it is sometimes called ‘the sign of life.’” (Maurice)
The cross is a sign of life throughout the world, and everywhere it is used as a charm, to ward off “evil” spirits.
“The sign of the cross has been a symbol of great antiquity, present in nearly every known culture. Its meaning has eluded anthropologists, though its use in funerary art could well point to a defense against evil.” (Snyder)
The pagan historian Cicero wrote a tract defending a victim condemned to death by a cross he considered the cross such a vile instrument of execution, that the very word “cross” should not be mentioned by decent people!
“…the very word ‘cross’ should be far removed not only from the person of a Roman citizen but from his thoughts, his eyes and his ears. For it is not only the actual occurrence of these things or the endurance of them, but… the mere mention of them, that is unworthy of a Roman citizen and a free man.” (Cicero)
So how can billions of Christians exalt this instrument of horrible torture as a sign of life? The only person it truly honors is the person who murdered Christ – Satan the devil. This is the symbol of his one and only success over God… or so he thinks.
“In Heathen China, as in Christian Europe, [the cross] is used as a charm.” (Brock)
The Christians interpreted it as a defense against evil – a purpose for which this symbol had already been used for thousands of years by the enemies of God. To them it was a lucky charm – no different than a rabbit’s foot, four-leaf clover, or horseshoe – for warding off evil spirits. These people were full of superstitions! And they brought those superstitions into Christianity with them!
“Over and over again, Christians who sign themselves with the sign of the Cross, prove to be victorious over the evil one, and the evil pseudo-powers which still operate in our broken and divided world, under the attack of the evil one. Whenever and wherever you feel the presence of evil, just sign yourself with the sign of the Cross: the pseudo-power of evil will disappear on the spot.” (The Illuminator)
Brock says that the cross was interpreted and used in Christian Europe JUST LIKE it was in heathen China! There was NO DIFFERENCE in how it was used between these two continents! In both places, by heathen people and by supposedly “Christian” people, it was used as a charm to ward off evil. Priests today hold out the cross during exorcism to make the evil spirit leave, just as you see in horror films people forming a cross using both index fingers to signify to their attacker, “Stay away! Don’t harm me!”
“[The sign of the cross], referred to as theirs by the Christian writers of the second and third centuries, is said to have had a place before our era in the rites of those who worshiped Mithras, if not also of those who worshiped certain other conceptions of the Sun-God….” (Parsons)
The sign of the cross comes from antiquity when people worshiped the Persian sun-god Mithras and other sun-gods. Even then it was used to ward off unwanted spirits and defend against evil of all kinds.
The Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics says, “With the 4th century magical belief began to take a firmer hold within the Church.” As with a magic charm, simply making the sign of the cross was thought to be “the surest defence against demons, and the remedy for all diseases”. Superstitious use of the cross continues to this day. How many times have I seen people cross themselves multiple times when walking past a church or a monument of a saint or when simply driving on a dangerous road!
“The salutary trophy of Jesus, the cross, which to this day heals diseases, to this day drives away devils, overthrows juggleries of drugs and charms.” (Cyril)
This really is not the trophy of Jesus, but it is the trophy of Satan! Further proof of its pagan origin is the recorded evidence of the Vestal Virgins (Koster) of pagan Rome having the cross hanging on a necklace, and the Egyptians doing it too, as early as the 15th century B.C.! The Buddhists, and numerous other sects of India, also used the sign of the cross as a mark on their followers’ heads.
“The Shari were another Eastern or Northern people, against whom the Egyptians waged a successful war, principally in the reigns of Osirei and his son, the great Rameses [born circa 1,300 B.C.]…. They frequently had a small cross suspended to a necklace, or to the collar of their dress. The adoption of this last was not peculiar to them it was also appended to, or figured upon, the robes of the Rot-n-no and traces of it may be seen in the fancy ornaments of the Rebo, showing that it was already in use as early as the 15th century before the Christian Era.” (Wilkinson)
FIFTEEN CENTURIES BEFORE CHRIST!! The cross cannot represent Christ because it existed before He lived on Earth! If a company today registers a logo, it is theirs. It represents them. Anyone who sports it supports that company’s work and ideals. If another company tries to use it, they will be charged with plagiarism, which is theft! That logo can NEVER represent the second company, because it was already registered and used by the first. It is THEIR accepted and recognized symbol. Its meaning CANNOT be transferred to another company!
Similarly, the cross was a pagan symbol, used LONG before Christ, to represent the sun-god, life, power, etc. It was used by pagans in their rituals which God hates, used to honor false gods whom God considers ABOMINATIONS. It has ALWAYS represented these things, and people who try to use it to represent Christ are falling into the same trap that Ancient Israel fell into – revering the symbols of pagan gods just because it was the “popular” thing to do! And anyone who learns this and doesn’t change will be treated just as God has always treated idolators.
THE CROSS IS AN IDOL!
“The cross was widely known in pre-Christian times as an emblem that was a well-known Heathen Sign.” (Unger’s Bible Dictionary)
Would God want you to use this “well-known heathen sign” to remember Him? This symbol that commemorates Tammuz, Chronos, Bacchus, and other sun-gods? Think about it! Would HE want to be in the same category as these false gods?
Deuteronomy 12:30-31 (BBE). After their destruction take care that you do not go in their ways, and that you do not give thought to their gods, saying, How did these nations give worship to their gods? I will do as they did. Do not so to the Lord your God: for everything which is disgusting to the Lord and hated by him they have done in honour of their gods: even burning their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.
God said NOT to do as the heathen do! He wants people to worship Him in a DIFFERENT way! He commanded you NOT to learn the way of the heathen (Jeremiah 10:2), but instead to LEARN the difference between the holy and the unholy, between the clean and the unclean, between Him and false gods!
Ezekiel 44:23 (BBE). And they [the priests] are to make clear to my people the division between what is holy and what is common, and to give them the knowledge of what is clean and what is unclean.
God does not want you to follow the heathen or worship Him the way they worship their gods. The heathen have made images of their gods, and God says that He HATES that! You have seen many proofs in this article that the cross is an idol! It has always been one, and even though it has been renamed,it is still an image of a false god and a false religion!
“What is now called the Christian religion has existed among the ancients, and was not absent from the beginning of the human race until Christ came in the flesh, from which time the true religion, which existed already, began to be called Christian.” (St. Augustine)
Read that again! What St. Augustine called the true religion, which existed ALREADY, began to be called Christian after Christ came in the flesh!! Modern Christianity is simply a RENAMING or RELABELING of an ancient pagan religion! This is Satan’s best trick – he perverts the truth and puts God’s name on it to give it credibility so people will be deceived and believe lies. But it’s time YOU learned the truth!
Think about that. If you took a sun-worshiping temple with its priests who were performing human sacrifices, and painted them white, put a cross on top, and called them Christian, would it make them Christian? What about taking the devil and painting him white so that he looked like Christ – would that make him Christ? Would that make him even the least bit righteous? NO! Of course not! The devil by any other name or image is still the devil. Even so, a pagan church by any other name is still a pagan church, and a pagan idol is still a pagan idol even if you call it the cross of Christ!
What Augustine called “the true religion” – the religion from which all religions (except the religion of the Bible) have descended – is the worship of the sun-god. And this religion has been in existence since the beginning of the human race. Modern Christianity has adopted this religion and its practices, often changing them no more than by replacing the pagan names with Christian-sounding names, but the true God is not the center of this religion!
“The cross thus widely worshiped, or regarded as a ‘sacred emblem’ [by Modern Christianity], was the unequivocal symbol of Bacchus, the Babylonian Messiah, for he was represented with a head-band covered with crosses.” (Seymour)
Bacchus is simply another name for Tammuz. Bacchus is the Greek name, and Tammuz is the Tyrian or Canaanite name. Each culture has its own name for him.
“The symbol for Tammuz is what the mystery religions call the mystic ‘T.’” (Maurice)
Tammuz was supposedly a resurrected sun-god. “Tammuz… in Mesopotamian religion, god of fertility embodying the powers for new life in nature in the spring.” (Encyclopedia Britannica)
Thus, adoring the cross is worshiping fertility gods. And if you have a cross, you are telling God that you would rather worship the gods of fertility than the True God who made the earth and seas and all that is in them! Plain and simple – having a cross is honoring Tammuz!
Ezekiel 8:14-15 (BBE). Then he took me to the door of the way into the Lord’s house [or, temple] looking to the north and there women were seated weeping for Tammuz. Then he said to me, ‘Have you seen this, O son of man? you will see even more disgusting things [abominations] than these.’
This Tammuz, whose sign is the T, is revered by mainstream Christians today! They have his sign in their Churches and homes, on their Bibles, on their clothing, and around their necks! They carry Tammuz’s sign everywhere with them! AND GOD CALLS IT AN ABOMINATION! It doesn’t matter if this cross has been in your family for generations IT IS STILL AN ABOMINATION!! It doesn’t matter if you wear it to honor Christ even though it’s a pagan symbol IT IS STILL AN ABOMINATION!! No matter what your reason for keeping it in your home – IT IS STILL AN ABOMINATION!!
Luke 6:46. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
If you truly desire to follow God and worship Him in a way that He finds pleasing, you cannot be following the customs of the heathen (Jeremiah 10:2)! Jesus said you are to learn OF HIM (Matthew 11:29), NOT from the people! If you don’t learn from Jesus, then you don’t have the spirit of Christ, and YOU ARE NONE OF HIS (Romans 8:9)!!
“In the Egyptian churches the cross was a pagan symbol of life borrowed by the Christians and interpreted in the pagan manner.” (Encyclopedia Britannica)
Notice this was a pagan symbol borrowed by the Christians and interpreted in the same pagan manner! They understood that it was a pagan symbol – and revered it as such! They completely ignored God’s commandment not to worship Him like the heathen gods were worshiped! They chose to disobey God’s commandment and continue in their rebellion against Him! And this sign is seen today in every so-called Christian Church – be it Catholic or Protestant! And if you own or revere the sign of the cross, you are worshiping God like He is a heathen god – in direct rebellion against the God you claim to serve!
APPENDIX. THE CHI-RHO
The chi-rho cross is a little unique among the forms of the cross because it is the so-called “monogram of Christ” being the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ. It is also called the Labarum in some works.
The chi-rho is an ancient symbol, used millenia before Christ. A few centuries before Christ, it was used by Egyptian King Ptolemy III, who reigned from 246 to 222 B.C. (See the picture at right with the Chi-Rho between the eagle’s legs).
“The Chi-Rho, as a symbol, was in use long before Biblical Christianity entered the scene. The ‘X’ (Chi) represented the Great Fire or Sun and the P (Rho) was for Patah or Pater (Father)…. It is a composition of X and P (Chi and Rho), which means ‘Sun’ or ‘Fire’ and ‘Father’, rendering, ‘Father Sun’ or ‘Great Father Sun’.” (letusreason)
The chi rho cross was a pre-Christian symbol, the name and meaning of which points to a pagan sun-god! It was used by several solar deities as their symbol, but specifically, the Babylonians used it as an emblem of their sky-god, as Cooper states:
“The labarum was also an emblem of the Chaldean (Babylonian) sky-god and in Christianity it was adopted…” (Cooper)
Notice! Christianity ADOPTED this symbol. That means it was already in use, and it represented another god! Usually when someone borrows a name or a symbol, it is because they already agree with and support what that name or symbol represents. People who wear pink ribbons, for example, are showing that they support “The Cure”. A bumper sticker for a sporting goods store shows that the car owner likes what that store sells.
Similarly, Christianity adopted this symbol because they already agreed with the paganism behind the symbol. They had already “bought” the lies paganism offered. They had already rejected the true God, and were supporting Tammuz, so it was only natural that they wear his symbol, too.
Egyptologist Sir Flinders Petrie said that the chi-rho was the emblem of the Egyptian god Horus thousands of years before Christ.
“An identical symbol to the Chi-Rho has been found inscribed on rocks dating from 2,500 B.C. Sumeria, and was interpreted as ‘a combination of the two Sun-symbols’ – symbols of the ancient shining ones.” (Gardiner)
The chi-rho, despite what people claim, has been used thousands of years before Christ to honor sun-gods of many cultures. It has been used to signify “good fortune”, and interestingly, before its adoption by Christianity, it was known as the monogram of Chronos! NOT the monogram of Christ!
“Before it became the monogram of Christ, the chi rho was the monogram of Chronos (whose name also begins with a Chi-rho in the Greek spelling), the god of time, and an emblem of several solar deities…. The chi rho was used in hermetic alchemical texts to denote time.”(Emick)
Calling it the “monogram of Christ” is a lie, for it NEVER was the monogram of the true Christ!
What is the origin of the cross?
The cross was not widely used in mainstream Christianity until the time of the Roman emperor Constantine&mdashabout 300 years after Christ established His Church.
According to the book Babylon Mystery Religion, the cross originated among the ancient Babylonians of Chaldea. From there, it spread to ancient China, India, Mexico, parts of Africa and other places, centuries before Christianity was born.
Notice: &ldquoAges ago in Italy, before the people knew anything of the arts of civilization, they believed in the cross as a religious symbol. It was regarded as a protector and was placed upon tombs. In 46 B.C., Roman coins show Jupiter holding a long scepter terminating in a cross. The Vestal Virgins of pagan Rome wore the cross suspended from their necklaces, as the nuns of the Roman Catholic church do now&rdquo (p. 51).
According to Vine&rsquos Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, the shape of the cross &ldquohad its origin in ancient Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name) in that country and in adjacent lands, including Egypt.
&ldquoBy the middle of the third century A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system, pagans were received into the churches&hellipand were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence, the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the cross of Christ&rdquo (p. 256).
Also notice what the Davis Dictionary of the Bible states about the origin of the cross: &ldquoThe pre-Christian cross of one form or another was in use as a sacred symbol among the Chaldeans, the Phoenicians, the Eqyptians, and many other&hellipnations. The Spaniards in the 16th century found it also among the Indians of Mexico and Peru. But its symbolic teaching was quite different from that which we now associate the cross&rdquo (p. 159).
The pagan cross symbol was &ldquoChristianized&rdquo into mainstream Christianity. But God&rsquos one true Church has never done this. It has always seen the cross symbol for what it is&mdashpagan! The Bible clearly teaches that God&rsquos people must not practice or tolerate any pagan ways, customs, traditions or practices (Deut. 7:1-6 Jer. 10:1-5 Rev. 18:1-4).
While the symbol of the five-fold cross appears to originate in the 11th century, its association with the Kingdom of Jerusalem dates to the second half of the 13th century.
The symbolism of the five-fold cross is variously given as the Five Wounds of Christ, Christ and the four evangelists, or Christ and the four quarters of the world. The symbolism of five crosses representing the Five Wounds is first recorded in the context of the consecration of the St Brelade's Church under the patronage of Robert of Normandy (before 1035) the crosses are incised in the church's altar stone.
The "cross-and-crosslets" or Tealby pennies minted under Henry II of England during 1158–1180 have the "Jerusalem cross" on the obverse, with the four crosslets depicted as decussate (diagonal).  Similar cross designs on the obverse of coins go back to at least the Anglo-Saxon period. 
As the arms of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the design is traditionally attributed to Godfrey of Bouillon himself.  It was not used, however, by the Christian rulers of Jerusalem during the 12th century. A simple blazon of or, a cross argent is documented by Matthew Paris as the arms of John de Brienne, who had been king of Jerusalem during 1210–1212, upon John's death in 1237.
The emblem used on the seals of the rulers of Jerusalem during the 12th century was a simplified depiction of the city itself, showing the tower of David between the Dome of the Rock and the Holy Sepulchre, surrounded by the city walls. Coins minted under Henry I (r. 1192–1197) show a cross with four dots in the four quarters, but the Jerusalem cross proper appears only on a coin minted under John II (r. 1284/5). 
At about the same time, the cross of Jerusalem in gold on a silver field appears as the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in early armorials such as the Camden Roll. The arms of the King of Jerusalem featured gold on silver (in the case of John de Brienne, silver on gold), a metal on a metal, and thus broke the heraldic Rule of Tincture this was justified by the fact that Jerusalem was so holy, it was above ordinary rules. The gold and silver were also connected to Psalms 68:13, which mentions a "dove covered in silver, and her feathers with yellow gold". 
The Gelre Armorial (14th century) attributes to the "emperors of Constantinople" (the Latin Empire) a variant of the Jerusalem cross with the four crosslets inscribed in circles.  Philip of Courtenay, who held the title of Latin Emperor of Constantinople from 1273–1283 (even though Constantinople had been reinstated to the Byzantine Empire in 1261) used an extended form of the Jerusalem cross, where each of the four crosslets was itself surrounded by four smaller crosslets (a "Jerusalem cross of Jerusalem crosses"). 
In late medieval heraldry the Crusader's cross was used for various Crusader states. The 14th-century Book of All Kingdoms uses it as the flag of Sebasteia. At about the same time, the Pizzigano chart uses it as the flag of Tbilisi (based on the latter example, the Crusader's cross was adopted as the flag of Georgia in 2004).
Carlo Maggi, a Venetian nobleman who visited Jerusalem and was made a knight of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in the early 1570s, included the Jerusalem cross in his coat of arms.
There is a historiographical tradition that Peter the Great flew a flag with a variant of the Jerusalem cross in his campaign in the White Sea in 1693. 
A banner with a variation of the Jerusalem cross was used at the proclamation of the Revolution on Mount Pelion Anthimos Gazis in May 1821 in the Greek War of Independence.  [ unreliable source? ]
The papal Order of the Holy Sepulchre uses the Jerusalem cross as its emblem, in red, which is also used in the arms of the Custodian of the Holy Land, head of the Franciscan friars who serve at the holy Christian sites in Jerusalem, and whose work is supported by the Order.
When Albert, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), visited Jerusalem in 1862, he had a Jerusalem cross tattooed on his arm.  German Emperor Wilhelm II visited Jerusalem in 1898 and awarded the Jerusalem-Erinnerungskreuz (Jerusalem Memorial Cross) order in the shape of a Jerusalem cross to those who accompanied him at the inauguration of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Jerusalem.
In the early 20th century, the Jerusalem cross also came to be used as a symbol of world evangelisation in Protestantism. A derived design known as the "Episcopal Church Service Cross" was first used during World War I by the Anglican Episcopal Church in the United States.  The Jerusalem cross was chosen as the emblem of the Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag (German Evangelical Church Congress) in the 1950s, since the 1960s shown in a simplified form where the central Cross potent is replaced by a simple Greek cross.
The modern Flag of Georgia was introduced in 2004 on the basis of the flag of Tbilisi shown in the Pizzigano chart.
The Jerusalem Cross is also the symbol of Kairos, a four day Jesuit retreat that is held for youth in high schools and parishes around the world. The four crosses are used to symbolize the motto of the retreat "Live the fourth".
The Unicode character set has a character ☩, U+2629 CROSS OF JERUSALEM in the Miscellaneous Symbols table. However, the glyph associated with that character according to the official Unicode character sheet is shown as a simple cross potent, and not a Jerusalem cross.
The Christian Cross
The cross is the most important symbol of Christianity. It stands for the cross on which Jesus was crucified and represents the greatness of God's sacrifice and the spiritual salvation that humans gained as a result.
A Changing Symbol. In the ancient Near East and Mediterranean world, crucifixion was used mainly as a method of execution for political and religious opponents, pirates, and slaves. The condemned were tied or nailed to a cross and died of exhaustion or heart failure.
Early Christians were hesitant to adopt the cross as their symbol. Many could not accept an instrument of death as the symbol of their devotion. Moreover, until the A . D . 300S, when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire and crucifixion was banned, open use of the cross could lead to persecution.
The earliest crosses were empty, emphasizing Christ's triumph over death and the eternal life available to humankind. By the 300s, the figure of a lamb was added over it, symbolizing Christ. Later the human figure of Christ was portrayed on the cross, emphasizing at first his divine nature but later his human suffering.
relics pieces of bone, possessions, or other items belonging to a saint or sacred person
The True Cross. According to legend, the cross on which Jesus had been crucified was found by St. Helena, the mother of the Roman emperor Constantine, during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The story relates that she found three crosses (Jesus had been crucified along with two thieves). To determine which of them belonged to Christ, Helena ordered that a corpse be brought and placed on each cross in turn. When the corpse was laid on one of the crosses, it came to life, thus showing that that was the cross of Christ. Fragments of the cross were later sold as relics and honored in churches throughout Europe.
* See Names and Places at the end of this volume for further information.