Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Marked with the sign of the cross

From the blog On Coptic Nationalism, a post on the Coptic practice of cruciform branding that survived into the 13th century.

Instead of tattooing a cross on their right wrist as many Copts do today to distinguish themselves as Christians, the Copts of the 13th century used to brand crosses on the forehead, temples, arms and knees of their children using hot iron. It was a sign of defiance as tattooing is today.

Before I leave Jacques de Vitry (or James of Vitry), the Crusader and Bishop of Acre at the time of the Fifth Crusade (1213 – 1221 AD), I uses a passage in his Historia Orientalis, which he wrote in 1220, to highlight a Coptic tradition which is now extinct and been replaced by something new.

As we have seen in two previous articles, de Vitry saw the Copts as heretics, and regarded some of their practices as repugnant and un-Christian. He was particularly critical of three Coptic practices of the times, which he called errors...

Complete article here.

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