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Religious Studies Professor Reflects on the History of the Cross in Christianity

The Conversation
September 27th, 2019 by 

Joanne Pierce, professor of religious studies. Photo by Tom Rettig
Joanne Pierce, professor of religious studies. Photo by Tom Rettig

The cross as a symbol of Christianity has a complex and controversial history, originating even before the death of Christ. We are reminded of that rich history on September 14 each year, as Catholics and other Christians celebrate the Feast of the Holy Cross. 

In an article for The Conversation, Joanne Pierce, professor of religious studies at Holy Cross, breaks down the many iterations and connotations the cross has taken on in the history of the Church, from the discovery and retrieval of the true Cross in the early Church to some of the more controversial symbolic uses the cross has been associated with in modern times. 

According to Pierce, who specializes in medieval Christian history and worship and has studied the cross’ complicated history, today’s Feast of the Holy Cross commemorates the cross “as a powerful sign of divine love and salvation for early Christians.”

“It is tragic that the cross has also been twisted into a vivid sign of hatred and intolerance,” said Pierce.

To read the full article, go to The Conversation.

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