Jesus Christ is represented both as wounded and as strong. He stands upright and resolute.
His halo already includes the picture of the glorified cross. This representation contrasts
with the triumphant, regal Christ portrayed on the cross in earlier centuries and the suffering,
dying, crucified Christ depicted generally throughout the Church beginning in the 14th century.
Note the dark area behind the feet of Jesus: Some commentators liken this to the abode of the dead
(Sheol) where, the Church teaches(Note 1)
, Jesus descended following his death. (See 1PET 3:18-19, 4:6 also MT 27:51-52)
Christ is represented in full stature while all others are smaller in stature. This is done to
focus our attention on Jesus as the person to be worshipped. Above the head of Jesus is the
inscription in Latin: JESUS OF NAZARETH, KING OF THE JEWS.
Source: Fr. Michael Scanlan, T.O.R. , The San Damiano Cross: An Explanation
(Franciscan University Press Steubenville, Ohio 1983)
Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraphs 631 - 635
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