I've being trying to figure out what the extra bar in the Ukrainian Crucifix is for.
I've asked friends of mine who are Orthodox but they don't seem to know.
What is it's meaning?
Thank you for visiting our website and for your interesting question!
You are referring to the slanted bottom bar of the Orthodox Cross of Calvary,
or the "foot-rest" to which the Feet of Christ were nailed.
foot-rest is slanted with the left portion (which would be on Christ's right side)
pointing upwards and the right portion (Christ's left side) pointing downwards.
For the Eastern Church, the foot-rest is a kind of spiritual "weigh-scale."
The Good Thief on Christ's right hand confessed Him and pleaded for His Mercy.
Christ promised that he would be with the Saviour in Paradise that very day!
This is why the foot-rest is pointing upwards, toward the Good Thief.
It indicates that Christ's Grace is overflowing and brings ALL those
who confess Him and ask for His Mercy to salvation.
Of course, the sobering reality is the other side of the foot-rest,
pointing downwards and toward the Bad Thief and all those who choose
to wilfully turn their backs on Christ!
All Crucifixes or Crosses of Calvary have a foot-rest represented in
them of one kind or another. Origen, a Coptic Church teacher,
wrote that all crosses used in the Roman Empire for purposes of execution had foot-rests.
He also noted that all crosses had the charge against the crucified person nailed
above their heads, as did Christ. He visited a Syrian Church at one point
and saw one of the three parts of the "Title of Christ" on display for
public veneration there.
The title, he said, was partitioned into three parts and sent to three Churches. He even described its appearance saying that it was of a light-coloured wood with the charge against Christ written in three languages in red crayon.
I hope this answers your question. Have a Great Fast!
Dr. Alexander Roman firstname.lastname@example.org