It is difficult to find a more widespread symbol in world culture than a cross. For the Christian religion, the cross is the main relic associated with the life and death of Jesus Christ.
However, different branches of Christianity since the beginning of the origin and to this day are arguing about the form and essence of the cross as the main object of worship.
Meanwhile, the symbol of the cross was used in differentPagan beliefs long before the advent of Christianity. This is confirmed by archaeological finds throughout Europe, in Persia, Syria, India, Egypt. In Ancient Egypt, a cross with a ring at the top, ankh, was a symbol of life and rebirth after death. The cross of the ancient Celts, where the equal rays go beyond the boundaries of the circle, personified an alliance of earthly and heavenly, male and female principles. In ancient India, the cross was depicted in the hands of the god Krishna, and in North America, the Indians of the Muiski tribe believed that he expelled evil spirits.
Execution on Calvary
Despite the fact that the cross in Christianity, tooIs a symbol of rebirth and eternal life after death, his first appearance in religion was associated with the execution of Jesus Christ. Crucifixion on the pillory was widely used as an execution in ancient Rome. The cross was used to punish the most dangerous criminals: traitors, rioters, robbers.
By order of the Roman procurator Pontius PilateJesus was crucified on the cross with two robbers, one of whom repented before his death, and the other continued to curse his executioners to the last breath. Immediately after the death of Christ, his cross became the main shrine of the new religion and received the name of the Life-Creating Cross.
Branch from the Tree of Knowledge
There are many theories about the origin of the tree,From which the Life-Creating Cross was made. One of the legends tells us that a dry branch from the Tree of Knowledge grew through the body of Adam and became a huge tree.
After several millennia this tree orderedCut down King Solomon, to use in the construction of the Jerusalem Temple. But the log did not fit the size and a bridge was made from it. When the Queen of Sheba, known for her wisdom, visited Solomon, she refused to walk on the bridge, foretelling that the savior of the world would be hanged in this tree. Solomon ordered to bury the log as deep as possible, and after a while a bath with healing water appeared on this place.
Before the Execution of Jesus, a log emerged from the watersBaths, and from it they decided to make the main, vertical pillar for the cross. The rest of the cross was made from other trees, also symbolic - cedar, olive, cypress.
The Crucifixion in Christianity
The form of the crucifix is still the subjectTheological and philosophical disputes. The traditional cross, consisting of two perpendicular beams, is called the Latin cross and is used in the Catholic branch of Christianity along with the sculptural depiction of the crucified Christ on it.
In the Orthodox tradition, apart from the crossbar forHands, there is still a lower oblique crossbeam, to which the feet of Christ were nailed, and the upper one in the form of a tablet on which is written INSCI ("Jesus the Nazarene, King of Judah"). The slanting crossbar symbolizes two robbers who accepted death with Jesus: the end that looks upwards - that repentant and ascended to heaven, lowered down - that which persisted in sin and got to hell.
In addition, there is a version that execution throughThe crucifixion was not carried out at the cross, but at the usual pillar. As a consequence, many religious movements generally deny the existence of the cross or deny worshiping it as relics: Cathars, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses.
The symbol of the cross from the religious tradition is strongEntered into everyday life with a lot of established expressions. For example, "carrying your cross" means "enduring difficulties," but to say that there is no cross on a man means to call him unscrupulous.