Easter Sunday!

Word of the Day – Sunday, April 24th



Word of the Day


Clever Clue of the Month

The Cruciverbalist


Daily Email

ROOD (rood)

A cross or crucifix

Common clues: Cross; Large cross; Wooden crucifix; Crucifix; Ritual cross; Crucifixion symbol; Big cross

Crossword puzzle frequency: 2 times a year

Frequency in English language: 40127 / 86800

News: Even symbolic crucifixion is no day at the beach

Video: Resurrection Sunday Dance, Budapest, Hungary

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.John 19:30

Rood has several distinct meanings, all derived from the same basic etymology. The two most significant are an obsolete English measure of area, and a term for a cross or crucifix, especially a large one in a church.

[Courtesy: Brian Gannon]

"Rood" was originally the only Old English word for the instrument of Jesus Christ's death. The words crúc and in the North cros (from either Old Irish or Old Norse) appeared by late Old English; "crucifix" is first recorded in English in the Ancrene Wisse of about 1225. In modern English rood usually refers to a large sculpture or sometimes painting of the cross with Christ hanging on it in a church. More precisely, "the Rood" referred to the True Cross, the specific wooden cross used in Christ's crucifixion. The word remains in use in some names, such as Holyrood Palace and the Old English poem The Dream of the Rood. The phrase "by the rood" was used in swearing, e.g. "No, by the rood, not so" in Shakespeare’s Hamlet (Act 3, Scene 4).

In church architecture rood, or the (tautologous) rood cross, means a roughly life-size crucifix with figure displayed on the central axis of a church, normally at the chancel arch. The earliest roods hung from the top of the chancel arch, or rested on a plain "rood beam" across it, usually at the level of the capitals of the columns. This original arrangement is still found in many churches in Germany and Scandinavia, although many other surviving crosses now hang on walls. Numerous near life-size crucifixes survive from the Romanesque period or earlier, with the Gero Cross in Cologne Cathedral (965–970) and the Volto Santo of Lucca the best known. The prototype may have been one known to have been set up in Charlemagne's Palatine Chapel at Aachen, apparently in gold foil worked over a wooden core in the manner of the Golden Madonna of Essen, though figureless jewelled gold crosses are recorded in similar positions in Hagia Sophia in Constantinople in the 5th century. Many figures in precious metal are recorded in Anglo-Saxon monastic records, though none now survive. Notables sometimes gave their crowns (Cnut the Great at Winchester Cathedral), necklaces (Lady Godiva to the Virgin accompanying the rood at Evesham Abbey), or swords (Tovi the Proud, Waltham Abbey) to decorate them. The original location and support for the surviving figures is often not clear but a number of northern European churches preserve the original setting in full – they are known as a "Triumphkreutz" in German, from the "triumphal arch" (chancel arch in later terms) of Early Christian architecture. As in later examples a Virgin and Saint John often flanked the cross, and cherubim and other figures are sometimes seen. A gilt rood in the 10th century Mainz Cathedral was only placed on a beam on special feast days.

Rood cross on rood screen at Albi Cathedral, FranceRood screens developed in the 13th century, as a wooden or stone screens, also usually separating the chancel or choir from the nave, upon which the rood now stood. The screen may be elaborately carved and was often richly painted and gilded. Rood screens were found in Christian churches in most parts of Europe by the end of the Middle Ages, though in Catholic countries the great majority were gradually removed after the Council of Trent, and most were removed or drastically cut down in areas controlled by Calvinists and Anglicans. The best medieval examples are now mostly in the Lutheran countries such as Germany and Scandinavia, where they were often left undisturbed in country churches.

Rood screens are the Western equivalent of the Byzantine templon beam , which developed into the Eastern Orthodox iconostasis. Some rood screens incorporate a rood loft, a narrow gallery or just flat walkway which could be used to clean or decorate the rood or cover it up in Lent, or in larger examples by singers or musicians. An alternative type of screen is the Pulpitum, as seen in Exeter Cathedral, which is near the main altar of the church.

The rood itself provided a focus for worship, most especially in Holy Week, when worship was highly elaborate. During Lent the rood was veiled; on Palm Sunday it was revealed before the procession of palms and the congregation knelt before it. The whole Passion story would then be read from the rood loft, at the foot of the crucifix, by three ministers.

No original medieval rood now survives in a church in the United Kingdom. Most were deliberately destroyed as acts of iconoclasm during the English Reformation and the English Civil War, when many rood screens were also removed. Today, in many British churches, the rood stair which gave access to the gallery is often the only remaining sign of the former rood screen and rood loft.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Rood".  

ROOD (75) 36 We- >1 09 Crucifix

17 Th >1 04 Cross FORD MEET ONUS SPAN

7 We >1 08 Large cross

2 Th- >1 06 Chancel cross

2 Th- LAT 04 Big cross

09 Land measure ACRE

07 Primitive cross

1 Th WaP 07 Ritual cross

1 Fr CSy 04 Length between 5.5 and 8 yards

02 40 square rods

1 Th LAT 02 Crucifixion symbol

02 Large crucifix

1 Th WSJ 01 Altar piece

1 Sa LAT 01 Medieval church symbol

1 We CSy 00 Chancel's crucifix

1 Fr CSy 00 Impolite-sounding cross?

1 Th NYT 97 Chancel entrance display

1 Th WaP 97 Original cross word

1 Th NYT 96 Chancel decoration

1 Th NYT 95 Any soap opera