Crucifix

(Lat. crux, “cross”; figo, “I fix”). A figure of Christ attached to a cross. The earliest known crucifixes appear to date from the sixth century, not in the form of a suffering Christ, but as a victorious Christ, reigning from the tree. He is shown alive, standing, head erect, clothed, and crowned. The Lamb may be taken to be the earliest visual representation of Christ's humanity and sufferings. Realism in Christian art began to replace symbolism from about the tenth century, culminating in a stress on the realistic aspects of Christ's suffering and death from the thirteenth century. In the Eastern Church, the Iconoclastic Controversy represented the aversion from sculptural portrayals in the round and restricted itself to the icon.* In the pre-Reformation West, the crucifix became an object of personal and public devotion, sometimes idolatrous. It was the central feature of the rood (alternate English name for crucifix) screen. Protestants in general, with the exception of Lutherans, make little use of it, but now tend to view it with greater tolerance.