The Double Meaning of the Cross

Fr. Steven Bigham is a retired Orthodox priest in Québec specializing in iconology. He is the founder of the French language parish in Montréal and has taught Orthodox theology at the Université de Sherbrooke, Longueuil. He is married with two grown children.

The Cross has a double meaning: it is, on the one hand, a symbol of disgrace, torture, death, and, on the other, it symbolizes victory, joy and resurrection. It was the electric chair, the noose, the guillotine of its time, the most dishonorable and painful way to execute criminals. It is what the Roman authorities reserved for Jesus the “troublemaker.” Nonetheless, the Lord offered himself in sacrifice on the Cross, destroying the power of the devil and death on it, and through it and his resurrection, he opened to us the gates of the Kingdom of God. According to its first meaning, it symbolizes our own struggle and martyrdom, but according to the second, it is the sign of our own personal victory over sin, hell, and death.