What’s the Chi-Rho…? And, Who is Constantine?
In short, “by superimposing the first two (capital) letters—chi and rho (ΧΡ)—of the Greek word ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ (Christos) in such a way that the vertical stroke of the rho intersects the center of the chi.”
To be fair, I don’t think Constantine was the first to use this symbol; although he’s usually the one named and given credit for popularizing it. Personally, I have a few names for him: “Satan the Incarnate…”; “The Original Machiavelli”; Grandfather of Consumeristic/Empirialistic Christianity…
Historians say that it became his official empirical symbol. He engraved it onto weapons, armor, and chariots used for war.
If you think about it, it’s kind of genius; except, again, just in that sadistic “Makavelian” type of way.
This was not just the first instance of which the state utilized faith to push their agenda; it was also what marked the globalization of Christianity.
I’ve mixed feelings about this (most of them negative).
This “X” was also said to symbolize the cross. This is important because, ironically, the cross was used as a means of symbolizing the brutal death of Christ’s crucifixion. It symbolized a sense of liberation for the oppressed person; in that nothing, not even death, could stop the promised victory of their future promised resurrection (seen through Christ’s defeat of death). For obvious reasons, that I hope you’re already seeing undertones of; it’s painfully ironic because, during the time of Constantine, the very people that crucified Jesus were the ones who were then suddenly declaring they’re now “Christians.”
And, most disconcertingly, in order to justify this they had to redefine not just the person of Jesus but, what his crucifixion symbolized.
Consider this: Have you ever wondered why the people shouted “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” in John 19:15?
13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha).
14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.
“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.
15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”– John 19:13-15 (New International Version)
Because they were lead astray…?
Sure, but, more specifically, what we might mean by this is simply that they were somehow, convinced (in between now and then) of the fact that Jesus was not just a criminal but, that the empire consisted of the good guys.
Re-contextualizing this for today: The “Fake News” got to them; it collectively, and effectively, infiltrated their movement and somehow got them to vote against their own interests.
The American church a.k.a. the westernized gospel has seemingly followed suit… Granted, that was the Reformation in which began this process of rebellion. But, the reformation was only but a single step in the right direction. Many of us today mistake the reformation (and their theologies alike) as our finished product.