Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Why did an Ukrainian man hug the crucifix?

By Munir Bayouk/ : :

A photo has recently gone viral across social media platforms of an unidentified man in Ukraine hugging a life-size Cross, then praying at the foot of the Cross at a time when the Russian-Ukrainian conflict erupted.


This photo captures an unidentified darkly-clothed man embracing the crucifix by wrapping his arms around the foot of the Cross. The photo was snapped by photographer Dennis Melnichuk outside the Catholic Bernardine Monastery and church in Lviv on February 24, 2022. He said at the time, “I was feeling my heart quiver with unbelief and shock. Also, I felt faith rising in my heart.” He also spotted the man while walking to the church to pray. 


 The question that arises is that why do people hold Crosses high and venerate this symbol to the point that it is very dear to them?


Actually, the whole idea is not the Cross itself. It is rather a heartfelt love and appreciation for the One Who died on the Cross to give salvation to humanity. In old days, the Cross had been a sign of humiliation or rather a sign of degradation and shame of those crucified. It was a sign of profound humiliation and a public declaration to viewers and passersby who used to look down upon the crucified. Yet, after Lord Jesus' crucifixion and conquering  death, the Cross became a symbol of salvation, while the One Who died on the Cross became a sublime model of sacrifice, dedication or rather salvation to the entire humanity. Thus, the Cross serves as a sign of honor, nobility, sacrifice, and dedication to a new life marked by blessings, hope, and assurances that a noble and scared life is in the offing. It is a beacon of hope.


With Lord Jesus conquering death on the Cross, the authority of Satan and demons has already ended. The Holy Bible makes it clear that Lord Jesus has absolute authority, implying that Satan has no authority over Christians who trust their salvation to the One Who died on the Cross. The Holy Bible says in this regard, “For the word of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (Corinthians 1:18).


Pope Francis had earlier said, "We will be presented with the Crucifix to adore. By adoring the Cross, we will relive the journey of the innocent Lamb sacrificed for our salvation." He added, "Ever since Lord Jesus took upon Himself the wounds of humanity and death itself, God's love has irrigated these deserts of ours; He has enlightened our darkness."


Actually following the Crucifixion, Lord Jesus died but later rose from the dead to signify that despite the fact that the Cross represented condemnation to death, it turned out later to be a source of salvation. When Lord Jesus rose from the dead, He gave life to those who were already dead, and provided eternal life to all those who follow in His footsteps.


A notable verse from the Holy Bible on the Cross  states, "For the word of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (Corinthians 1:18)


Though it is important to stick all the time to the Cross in its capacity as the symbol of salivation, yet what is most important is stay close to our loving  and noble Lord Who died on the Cross to give us eternal life and to seek His care all the time.