Holy Cross, Life-Giving Tree

Donnel O’Flynn, with illustrations by Aidan O’Flynn

Jul/2017, 192 Pages, PAPERBACK, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9780819233677



• Historical perspective of the image of the cross as one of life instead of death
• Resource for gaining a new understanding of Holy Cross Day, as well as the work and thought of Hildegard of Bingen

Holy Cross, Life-Giving Tree explores the Cross as a metaphor of new creation rather than an instrument of death by exploring the roots of the Life-Giving Tree deep in Church tradition, worship, and art.  It uses Hildegard of Bingen's concept of virditas—"green-ness"—as a way to know experience the Cross in daily life and claim the Cross as healer of division, both among followers of Jesus and among the nations. Illustrated with images of the Cross from across the Christian world, the book compares Eastern Christian liturgies of the Cross with those of the West, recounts the origins of the early cults of the Cross in Jerusalem, and invites readers to meditate on Scripture passages used by ancient artists. Each of its six chapters ends with reflection questions. This book designed for use by both individuals and groups.

Read the introduction

Donnel O’Flynn retired in 2015 after 30 years of parish ministry in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Central New York. With his wife, Janet, he lived in Haiti for a year as an Episcopal Volunteer in Mission, and now resides in his home state of Montana, where he is part-time rector at Christ Church in Kalispell. A Clergy Refresher Leave grant from the Lilly Foundation in 2010 allowed him to see the splendid carved crosses of Ireland and Armenia in person. His quest to understand their iconography eventually led him to an encounter with the Cross as the Tree of Life, and the desire to share this vision with others.

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  • Holy Cross Day
  • Hildegard of Bingen
  • history

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