Duccio di Buoninsegna. Siena, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo
CRUCIFIXION, execution of a criminal by nailing or binding to a cross. It was a common form of capital  punishment from the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD, especially among the Persians, Egyptians,  Carthaginians, and Romans. The Romans used crucifixion for slaves and criminals but never for their own  citizens. Roman law provided that the criminal be scourged before being put to death; the accused also had
 to carry either the entire cross or, more commonly, the crossbeam from the place of scourging to the place of
execution. The practice was abolished in 337 by Constantine I out of respect for Jesus Christ, who died on  the cross. 

The crucifixion of Christ between two thieves is recorded in the New Testament by all four evangelists (see  Matt. 27:33-44; Mark 15:22-32; Luke 23:33-43; John 19:17-30). The significance of the crucifixion has been  a subject for theological discussion throughout church history. 


The magnificent painting "Resurrection" by El Greco:
works of art about the passion and resurrection:

Introduction to Resurrection

A list of the events in the last week of Jesus's life:

A site by the Catholic Encyclopedia about the Resurrection:

Resurrection of Christ

Evidence for the Resurrection:

Discussion of Resurrection

An essay "The Passion according to Luke":

Essay "The Passion according to John":

Discussion about the Passion as it is presented in the four gospels:

A meditation on John 19:

Study Questions 
generously provided by Sister Heliena Krenn

Lk 22.1-24.1-12, 24.50-53; Jh 19.38-20.1-18: PASSION DRAMA AND THE RESURRECTION & ASCENSION: Jesus knew the prophecies of the OT about the Messiah's death and resurrection. Repeatedly He had spoken to His apostles about these impending events.

1. Lk 22.1; The timing of Jesus's death: Review the OT event of the Passover (Ex 12.21-32); can you see a symbolic connection between the Passover celebration of the Jews and the death of Jesus?
2. Lk 22.14-20: In the account of the Lord's Supper (also 'Last Supper') the term 'new covenant' is used. What does this term mean in the OT? What may it mean here?
3. Lk 22.19-20: When a priest celebrates mass he does so in obedience to Jesus who said "Do this in memory of me." Do you know what we mean when we speak of 'mass'?
4. Lk 23.32-33: Crucifixion was the most shameful form of execution at that time; so much so that a Roman citizen could not be executed by crucifixion. Consider the dying words of Jesus (Lk 23.46); what do they express?
5. How do women figure in the passion drama and in the story of the resurrection?
6. In medieval times the reading of the resurrection event was one of the first that developed into drama. It is rich in dramatic potential. Why?
7. Consider how the different people respond to the discovery and news that Jesus is no longer in the tomb: the women, the apostles, the authorities. What do these different responses reveal about the psychology, motivations, and relations to Jesus of those people?

TERMS TO REMEMBER: cross, passion, crucifixion, Last Supper, Mass, New Covenant, Mount of Olives, Judas, Messiah, Pilate, Resurrection