A crucifix is not a mere cross, but a representation of Jesus’ body or corpus. Thus, the latin term corpus christi. Whereas, a cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two lines or bars perpendicular to each other, dividing one or two of the lines in half. The crucifix is crucial to the Christians because it’s the principal symbol of the Christian religion. It is primarily used in the Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox Churches and emphasizes Christ’s sacrifice which is his death by crucifixion.
Prayer in front of a crucifix is often part of devotion for Christians, especially those worshipping in a church, and private devotion in a chapel. The person may sit, stand, or kneel in front of the crucifix, sometimes looking at it in contemplation, or merely in front of it with head bowed or eyes closed. In the Catholic Mass, and Anglican Holy Eucharist, a procession begins Mass in which a crucifix is carried forward into the church followed by lector and servers, the priest, deacon, along with some of the other items used in the service such as the Gospels and the altar candles.
The crucifix is also one of the most effective means of averting or opposing demons, as stated by many exorcists, including the famous exorcist of the Vatican, Father Gabriele Amorth. In folklore, it is considered to ward off vampires, incubus and succubus. “I never witnessed nor even heard about an exorcism without a crucifix, though several students in eighth and ninth grades were prime candidates for such a ritual. ”(Gabriel Amorth) Anglican, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Coptic, and confessional Lutheran Christians generally use the crucifix in public religious services.
The standard, four-pointed Latin crucifix consists of an upright stand and a crosspiece to which the sufferer’s arms were nailed. The Eastern Christian crucifix includes two additional crossbars: the shorter nameplate, to which INRI was affixed; and the shorter stipes, to which the feet were nailed, which is angled upward toward penitent thief St. Dismas and downward toward impenitent thief Gestas. It is thus eight-pointed.
The corpora of Eastern Orthodox crucifixes tend to be two-dimensional icons that show Jesus as already dead, as opposed to the depictions of the still-suffering Jesus that can be found in some other Churches. They believe the crucifix is in keeping with Scripture, which states that “We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness. ”(Rudolph Koch) . Citations: Old Christian Symbols, Rudolf Koch Tree of Jesse Directory, Malcolm Low Crucifix Lane, Kate Mosse Wellness Exorcism, Donald Ardell Jewish Encyclopedia, Kaufmann Kohler