The Crucifixion
The Tree of Life

I discussed this topic in some detail when writing about the Legend of the true Cross here, so for a change I will be brief. The idea was taken up by in some detail by the 13th century Franciscan Theologian St Bonaventure in The Tree of Life. In the legend, the cross of the Crucifixion is made from wood grown from the seed of the Tree of Life from the Garden of Eden, as described in Genesis:
   'And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.' (Ch 2 v 9)

The Crucifixion, and the cross itself, became a symbol of a second creation, and Christ a second Adam. So, a fresh start, and redemption for humanity. Some crucifixion images illustrate this by showing the cross literally bursting into life.
  Perhaps the finest and best  known example is the mosaic in the apse of the church of San Clemente in Rome, c 1200.

   It is not a common image, and, curiously two fine examples are found in England. One, on the left below, at Romsey Abbey in Hampshire, we have met when looking at Christus triumphans images. The Cross is bursting into bloom.
  The image on the right is a wall painting from All Saints Church, Godshill, on the Isle of Wight.  This is the only example in England of the Lliy Cross.  it shows Christ Crucified on a lily instead of a cross.  It is another demonstration of the Crucifixion as the Tree of Life, but it is also linked to the idea that the Crucifixion happened on the 25th of March, the same day as the Annunciation, of which the lily is a symbol.

Crucifixion - page 1

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