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A rood or rood cross, sometimes known as a triumphal cross, is a cross or
crucifix A crucifix (from Latin ''cruci fixus'' meaning "(one) fixed to a cross") is an image of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus on the Christian cross, cross, as distinct from a bare cross. The representation of Jesus himself on the cross is referred to in ...

crucifix
, especially the large
crucifix A crucifix (from Latin ''cruci fixus'' meaning "(one) fixed to a cross") is an image of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus on the Christian cross, cross, as distinct from a bare cross. The representation of Jesus himself on the cross is referred to in ...
set above the entrance to the
chancel 300px, Plan with the broader definition of the chancel highlighted In church architecture Church architecture refers to the architecture of buildings of Christian churches. It has evolved over the two thousand years of the Christian religio ...
of a
medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of w ...

medieval
church. Alternatively, it is a large sculpture or painting of the
crucifixion of Jesus The crucifixion of Jesus occurred in 1st-century Judea (Roman province), Judea, most likely in either AD 30 or AD 33. Jesus' crucifixion is described in the four canonical gospels, referred to in the New Testament epistles, attested to by # ...
.


Derivation

''Rood'' is an archaic word for ''pole'', from
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventu ...
rōd "pole", specifically "
cross A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two intersecting lines or bars, usually perpendicular to each other. The lines usually run vertically and horizontally. A cross of oblique lines, in the shape of the Latin letter X, is also termed ...
", from
Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new ...
''*rodo'', cognate to
Old Saxon Old Saxon, also known as Old Low German, was a Germanic language The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken lan ...
''rōda'',
Old High German Old High German (OHG, german: Althochdeutsch, German abbr. ) is the earliest stage of the German language The German language (, ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or c ...
''ruoda'' "rod". ''Rood'' was originally the only Old English word for the instrument of
Jesus Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity, the Major religious groups, world's largest r ...
's
death (1906) Death is the permanent, Irreversible process, irreversible cessation of all biological process, biological functions that sustain a living organism. Brain death is sometimes used as a legal definition of death. The remains of a previ ...
. The words ''crúc'' and in the North ''cros'' (from either
Old Irish Old Irish (''Goídelc''; ga, Sean-Ghaeilge; gd, Seann Ghàidhlig; gv, Shenn Yernish or ; Old Irish: ᚌᚑᚔᚇᚓᚂᚉ), sometimes called Old Gaelic, is the oldest form of the Goidelic The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha ...
or
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic languages, North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and th ...
) appeared by late Old English; "crucifix" is first recorded in English in the Ancrene Wisse of about 1225. More precisely, the Rood or Holyrood was the
True Cross The True Cross is the name for physical remnants which, by the tradition of some Christian churches, are said to be from the cross A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two intersecting lines or bars, usually perpendicular to each ot ...

True Cross
, the specific wooden cross used in Christ's crucifixion. The word remains in use in some names, such as
Holyrood Palace The Palace of Holyroodhouse ( or ), commonly referred to as Holyrood Palace or Holyroodhouse, is the official residence of the British monarch The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constit ...

Holyrood Palace
and the Old English poem ''
The Dream of the Rood ''The'' () is a grammatical article Article often refers to: * Article (grammar) An article is any member of a class of dedicated words that are used with noun phrases to mark the identifiability of the referents of the noun phrases. The ca ...
''. The phrase "by the rood" was used in
swearing
swearing
, e.g. "No, by the rood, not so" in
Shakespeare William Shakespeare (baptism, bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and one of the world's greatest dramatists. He is often called ...

Shakespeare
's ''
Hamlet ''The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark'', often shortened to ''Hamlet'' (), is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare sometime between 1599 and 1601. It is Shakespeare's longest play, with 29,551 words. Set in Denmark Denmark ...

Hamlet
'' (Act 3, Scene 4). The alternative term ''triumphal cross'' ( la, crux triumphalis, german: Triumphkreuz), which is more usual in Europe, signifies the triumph that the resurrected
Jesus Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity, the Major religious groups, world's largest r ...

Jesus Christ
(''
Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label= Hebrew/ Aramaic ( AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity, the world's largest religion. He was a fir ...
us triumphans'') won over death.


Position

In
church architecture Church architecture refers to the architecture of buildings of Christian churches. It has evolved over the two thousand years of the Christian religion, partly by innovation and partly by imitating other architectural styles as well as respon ...
the rood, or rood cross, is a life-sized crucifix displayed on the central axis of a church, normally at the
chancel 300px, Plan with the broader definition of the chancel highlighted In church architecture Church architecture refers to the architecture of buildings of Christian churches. It has evolved over the two thousand years of the Christian religio ...
arch. The earliest roods hung from the top of the chancel arch (rood arch), or rested on a plain "rood beam" across it, usually at the level of the capitals of the columns. This original arrangement is still found in many churches in Germany and Scandinavia, although many other surviving crosses now hang on walls. If the choir is separated from the church interior by a
rood screen The rood screen (also choir screen, chancel screen, or jubé) is a common feature in late medieval church architecture. It is typically an ornate partition between the chancel and nave, of more or less open tracery constructed of wood, stone, or ...

rood screen
, the rood cross is placed on, or more rarely in front of, the screen. Under the rood is usually the altar of the Holy Cross.


History

Numerous near life-size crucifixes survive from the
Romanesque Romanesque may refer to: In art and architecture *First Romanesque, or Lombard Romanesque architectural style *Pre-Romanesque art and architecture, a term used for the early phase of the style *Romanesque architecture, architecture of Europe wh ...
period or earlier, with the
Gero Cross The Gero Cross or Gero Crucifix (german: Gero-Kreuz, link=no), of around 965–970, is the oldest large sculpture of the crucified Crucifixion is a method of punishment or capital punishment in which the victim is tied or nailed to a large wooden ...
in
Cologne Cathedral Cologne Cathedral (german: Kölner Dom, officially ', English: Cathedral Church of Saint Peter Saint Peter; he, שמעון בר יונה, Šimʿōn bar Yōnāh; ar, سِمعَان بُطرُس, translit=Simʿa̅n Buṭrus; grc-gre, Πέτρ ...

Cologne Cathedral
(AD 965–970) and the Volto Santo of Lucca the best known. The prototype may have been one known to have been set up in
Charlemagne Charlemagne (; ) or Charles the Great or ''Carolus'', whence in English or in German (for this individual, specifically ''Karl der Große''). The French form and the Italian or () come from his nickname ("Charles the Great")., ''Karil' ...

Charlemagne
's
Palatine Chapel in Aachen The Palatine Chapel in Aachen is an early medieval The Early Middle Ages or Early Medieval Period, sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, is typically regarded by historians as lasting from the late 5th or early 6th century A century is a p ...
, apparently in gold foil worked over a wooden core in the manner of the
Golden Madonna of Essen The Golden Madonna of Essen is a sculpture of the Virgin Mary Mary; arc, ܡܪܝܡ, translit=Mariam; la, Maria; he, מִרְיָם, translit=Miriam; cop, Ⲙⲁⲣⲓⲁ, translit=Maria; ar, مريم, translit=Maryam; also known by v ...
, though figureless jeweled gold crosses are recorded in similar positions in
Hagia Sophia Hagia Sophia (; ; la, Sancta Sophia, lit=Holy Wisdom Holy Wisdom (Greek: , la, Sancta Sapientia, russian: Святая София Премудрость Божия, translit=Svyataya Sofiya Premudrost' Bozhiya "Holy Sophia, Divine Wisdom") i ...

Hagia Sophia
in
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse), Tsargrad (Slavs, Slavic), Qustantiniya (Arabic), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopol ...

Constantinople
in the 5th century. Many figures in precious metal are recorded in
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling ...
monastic records, though none now survive. Notables sometimes gave their crowns (
Cnut the Great Cnut the Great (; ang, Cnut cyning; non, Knútr inn ríki; or , no, Knut den mektige, sv, Knut den Store. died 12 November 1035), also known as Canute, was King of Denmark, King of England, England and King of Norway, Norway, often referred t ...
at
Winchester Cathedral The Cathedral Church of the Holy TrinityHistoric England. "Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity (1095509)". ''National Heritage List for England''. Retrieved 8 September 2014., Saint Peter, Saint Paul and Saint Swithun, commonly known as Winchester ...

Winchester Cathedral
), necklaces (
Lady Godiva Lady Godiva (; died between 1066 and 1086), in Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History o ...
to the Virgin accompanying the rood at
Evesham Abbey Evesham Abbey was founded by Saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of Q-D-Š, holiness, likeness, or closeness to God. However, the use of the term "saint" depends on the context and C ...
), or swords ( Tovi the Proud,
Waltham Abbey Waltham Abbey is a market town A market town is a European settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th t ...
) to decorate them. The original location and support for the surviving figures is often unclear but a number of northern European churches preserve the original setting in full – they are known as a ' in German, from the "triumphal arch" (or "chancel arch") of Early Christian architecture. As in later examples the
Virgin Virginity is the state of a person who has never engaged in sexual intercourse. The term ''virgin'' originally only referred to sexually inexperienced women, but has evolved to encompass a range of definitions, as found in traditional, modern a ...
and
Saint John Saint John or St. John sometimes refers to John the Apostle John the Apostle ( arc, ܝܘܚܢܢ ܫܠܝܚܐ, ; he, יוחנן בן זבדי, ; grc, Ἰωάννης; cop, ⲓⲱⲁⲛⲛⲏⲥ or ; la, Ioannes; ) was one of the Twelve Apostles ...
often flank the cross, and
cherubim A cherub (; plural cherubim; he, כְּרוּב ''kərūv'', pl. ''kərūvîm'') is one of the unearthly beings who directly attend to God, according to Abrahamic religions. The numerous depictions of cherubim assign to them many different ro ...
and other figures are sometimes seen. A gilt rood in the 10th-century
Mainz Cathedral , native_name_lang = , image = Mainzer Dom nw.jpg , imagesize = , imagelink = , imagealt = , caption = , pushpin map = , pushpin label position = , pushpin map alt = , pushpin mapsize = , relief = , map caption = , iso regio ...
was only placed on a beam on special
feast day The calendar of saints is the traditional Christian method of organizing a liturgical year by associating each day with one or more saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of Q-D-Š, ho ...
s.


Components


Image of Christ

In the
Romanesque Romanesque may refer to: In art and architecture *First Romanesque, or Lombard Romanesque architectural style *Pre-Romanesque art and architecture, a term used for the early phase of the style *Romanesque architecture, architecture of Europe wh ...
era the crucified Christ was presented as ruler and judge. Instead of a crown of thorns he wears a crown or a
halo Halo generally refers to: * Halo (optical phenomenon) * Halo (religious iconography), a glow or ring of light around a head or person in art or a ring above one's head * Halo (franchise), ''Halo'' (franchise), a video game franchise Halo or HALO ...
; on his feet he wears "shoes" as a sign of the ruler. He is victorious over death. His feet are parallel to each other on the wooden support ("four-nail type") and not one on top of the other. The
perizoma (loincloth) Perizoma (from Greek language, Greek , from ''peri'' "around, about" and ''zoma'' "loin-cloth, drawers, band, belt") is a type of loincloth that originated with the Minoan civilization in Crete. Surviving depictions show it being worn by male and f ...
is highly stylized and falls in vertical folds. In the transition to the
Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes **Gothic language, an extinct East Germanic language spoken by the Goths **Crimean Gothic, the Gothic language spoken by ...
style, the triumphant Christ becomes a suffering Christ, the pitiful Man of Sorrows. Instead of the ruler's crown, he wears the
crown of thorns According to the New Testament, a woven crown of thorns was placed on the head of Jesus during the Passion of Jesus, events leading up to his crucifixion of Jesus, crucifixion. It was one of the Arma Christi, instruments of the Passion, employed ...

crown of thorns
, his feet are placed one above the other and are pierced with a single nail. His facial expression and posture express his pain. The wounds of the body are often dramatically portrayed. The loincloth is no longer so clearly stylized. The attendant figures Mary and John show signs of grief.


Attendant figures

A triumphal cross may be surrounded by a group of people. These people may include Mary and John, the "beloved disciple" (based on
John's Gospel The Gospel according to John ( el, Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Ἰωάννην, translit=Euangélion katà Iōánnēn, also known as the Gospel of John, or simply John) is the fourth of the four canonical gospels Gospel originally meant ...
– , , and ), but also apostles, angels and the benefactor. * The triumphal cross of Öja Church in Öja, Gotland, Öja on Gotland stands on a transverse beam beneath the triumphal arch and is flanked by two people: Mary and John. * The triumphal cross in the Wechselburg Abbey, abbey church of Wechselburg stands in an elevated position on the rood screen and also has the same pair of attendant figures. * The Schwerin Cathedral#Triumphal cross, triumphal cross in Schwerin Cathedral is also flanked by Mary and John. At the end of the cross' beam the evangelist's symbols may be seen. * In St. Mary's Church, Osnabrück, St. Mary's Church in Osnabrück there are only the empty stone pedestals of the attendant figures. * The triumphal cross above the screen in Halberstadt Cathedral is not flanked by Mary and John, but by two angels. * On the supporting beam of the Lübeck Cathedral#Triumphal cross, triumphal cross in Lübeck Cathedral there is also a bishop, presumably the benefactor of the cross.


Rood screens

Rood screens developed in the 13th century as wooden or stone Rood screen, screens, usually separating the
chancel 300px, Plan with the broader definition of the chancel highlighted In church architecture Church architecture refers to the architecture of buildings of Christian churches. It has evolved over the two thousand years of the Christian religio ...
or Choir (architecture), choir from the nave, upon which the rood now stood. The screen may be elaborately carved and was often richly painted and gilding, gilded. Rood screens were found in Christian churches in most parts of Europe by the end of the Middle Ages, though in Catholic countries the great majority were gradually removed after the Council of Trent, and most were removed or drastically cut down in areas controlled by Calvinists and Anglicans. The best medieval examples are now mostly in the Lutheranism, Lutheran countries such as Germany and Scandinavia, where they were often left undisturbed in country churches. Rood screens are the Western equivalent of the Byzantine architecture, Byzantine templon beam, which developed into the Eastern Orthodox iconostasis. Some rood screens incorporate a rood loft, a narrow balcony, gallery or just flat walkway which could be used to clean or decorate the rood or cover it up in Lent, or in larger examples used by singers or musicians. An alternative type of screen is the Pulpitum, as seen in Exeter Cathedral, which is near the main altar of the church. The rood provided a focus for worship, most especially in Holy Week when worship was highly elaborate. During Lent the rood was veiled; on Palm Sunday it was revealed before the procession of palms, and the congregation knelt before it. The whole Passion of Christ, Passion story would then be read from the rood loft, at the foot of the
crucifix A crucifix (from Latin ''cruci fixus'' meaning "(one) fixed to a cross") is an image of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus on the Christian cross, cross, as distinct from a bare cross. The representation of Jesus himself on the cross is referred to in ...

crucifix
, by three ministers. Few original medieval rood crosses have survived in churches of the United Kingdom. Most were deliberately destroyed as acts of Iconoclasm#Reformation iconoclasm, iconoclasm during the English Reformation and the English Civil War, when many rood screens were also removed. Today, in many British churches, the "rood stair" that gave access to the gallery is often the only remaining sign of the former rood screen and rood loft. In the 19th century, under the influence of the Oxford Movement, roods and screens were again added to many Anglican churches.


Representative examples

File:Mg-k_d1102279_Linde-Triumphkruzifix.jpg, Cross from Linde Church on Gotland (today in the Swedish History Museum) also displays the symbol of a ruler, demonstrating the origin of the name. File:Triumphkreuz2.jpg, Triumphal cross of Notke in Lübeck Cathedral File:Bad Doberan - Kreuz im Bad Doberaner Münster (Christusseite).jpg, Triumphal cross (Christ's side) in Doberan Minster File:Soest130811hohnekirscheib.jpg, The "plate cross" (''Scheibenkreuz'') in St. Mary's (''Hohnekirche'') in Soest, Germany, Soest (around 1200) File:Merzig StPeter Chor.jpg, Forked cross in St. Peter's Church, Merzig, St. Peter's at Merzig Kaysersberg SteCroix29.JPG, Triumphal cross in the Église Sainte-Croix, Kaysersberg, Holy Cross Church in Kaysersberg (late 15th-century)


Germany

* the
Gero Cross The Gero Cross or Gero Crucifix (german: Gero-Kreuz, link=no), of around 965–970, is the oldest large sculpture of the crucified Crucifixion is a method of punishment or capital punishment in which the victim is tied or nailed to a large wooden ...
in
Cologne Cathedral Cologne Cathedral (german: Kölner Dom, officially ', English: Cathedral Church of Saint Peter Saint Peter; he, שמעון בר יונה, Šimʿōn bar Yōnāh; ar, سِمعَان بُطرُس, translit=Simʿa̅n Buṭrus; grc-gre, Πέτρ ...

Cologne Cathedral
* the Ottonian Cross in St. Peter und Alexander (Aschaffenburg), Kollegiatskirche St. Peter und Alexander, Aschaffenburg * the Helmstedt Cross in the treasure chamber of Werden Abbey * the triumphal cross in Lübeck Cathedral from the workshop of Bernt Notke, 1477, height 17 m * in St. Catherine's Church, Lübeck, around 1450 * in Halberstadt Cathedral * in Wechselburg Abbey, Holy Cross basilica * in Naumburg Cathedral * in Doberan Minster * in Schwerin Cathedral (from St. Mary's Church, Wismar, St. Mary's, Wismar) * in Osnabrück in St. Mary's, Osnabrück, St. Mary's and in St. Peter's Cathedral, Osnabrück, St. Peter's Cathedral * in Alfeld (Leine) in St. Nicholas' Church, around 1250 * in Dinslaken
St. Vincent
around 1310


Sweden

* On Gotland in several of the medieval churches, including Alskog Church, Alskog, Alva Church, Alva, Bro Church, Gotland, Bro, Fide, Fröjel Church, Fröjel, Grötlingbo Church, Grötlingbo, Hamra, Hemse Church, Hemse, Klinte Church, Klinte, Lye Church, Lye, Öja Church, Öja, Rute, Stenkumla and Stenkyrka Church, Stenkyrka. The one at Öja is particularly lavish.


United Kingdom

* Church of the Annunciation, Marble Arch, London * St Augustine's, Kilburn, London * St Gabriel's, Warwick Square, London * Grosvenor Chapel, Mayfair, London * St Mary-le-Bow, London * St Matthew's Church, Sheffield * Peterborough Cathedral * Blisland#Churches and schools, Church of St Protus and St Hyacinth, Blisland


Charlton-on-Otmoor Garland

A unique rood exists at Charlton-on-Otmoor#Church of England, St Mary's parish church, Charlton-on-Otmoor, near Oxford, England, where a large wooden cross, solidly covered in greenery stands on the early 16th-century rood screen (said by Sherwood and Nikolaus Pevsner, Pevsner to be the finest in Oxfordshire).Sherwood & Pevsner, 1974, page 530 The cross is redecorated twice a year, on 1 May and 19 September (the Patron saint, patronal festival, calculated according to the Julian Calendar), when children from the local primary school, carrying small crosses decorated with flowers, bring a long, flower-decorated, rope-like garland. The cross is dressed or redecorated with locally obtained Buxus, box foliage. The rope-like garland is hung across the rood screen during the "May Garland Service".Hole, 1978, pages 113–114 An engraving from 1822/1823 (Dunkin) shows the dressed rood cross as a more open, foliage-covered framework, similar to certain types of corn dolly, with a smaller attendant figure of similar appearance. Folklorists have commented on the garland crosses' resemblance to human figures, and noted that they replaced statues of Mary (mother of Jesus), St Mary and Saint James the Great which had stood on the rood screen until they were destroyed during the Reformation. Until the 1850s, the larger garland cross was carried in a May Day procession, accompanied by morris dancers, to the former Order of Saint Benedict, Benedictine Horton-cum-Studley, Studley priory (as the statue of St Mary had been, until the Reformation). Meanwhile, the women of the village used to carry the smaller garland cross through Charlton, though it seems that this ceased some time between 1823 and 1840, when an illustration in John Henry Parker, J.H. Parker's ''A Glossary of Terms Used in Grecian, Roman, Italian, and Gothic Architecture'' shows only one garland cross, centrally positioned on the rood screen.Parker, 1840, page not cited


See also

*Altar rails, Chancel rails *Dream of the Rood *Holy Rood Church (disambiguation) *Iconostasis *Legend of the Rood


Notes


References

* * * * * * *


Further reading

*Manuela Beer: ''Triumphkreuze des Mittelalters. Ein Beitrag zu Typus und Genese im 12. und 13. Jahrhundert. Mit einem Katalog der erhaltenen Denkmäler'' ("Rood Crosses of the Middle Ages. An Article on the Typology and Genesis in the 12th and 13th Centuries. With a catalogue of surviving monuments"). Schnell & Steiner, Regensburg, 2005,
''Der Erlöser am Kreuz: Das Kruzifix''
("The Saviour on the Cross: the Crucifix"), rescissions in the portrayal of the Crucifix or Rood Cross.


External links

* * {{Christian crosses Church architecture English folklore Statues of Jesus, Christian terminology Crosses by function Rood crosses,