Station: [12] Crib and Cross

M: With this crib, master crib builder Manfred Plischka was able to realise a long-cherished dream in 2002. He’d always wanted to combine the crib and the cross, the two main symbols of the Christian experience of redemption.

F: Inset into the cross on the left, we have four scenes from the Christmas story, while the cross on the right displays four scenes from the story of Easter. It’s Manfred Plischka’s way of demonstrating the close connection between the two events – Christmas and Easter.

M: First, let’s turn to the events surrounding the birth of Christ, which are portrayed in the cross on the left. The image on the left shows the angel Gabriel telling Mary that she’ll conceive the Son of God. In the scene above, Mary, now pregnant, is seeking shelter along with her husband Joseph. The scene at the bottom shows the birth in the stable at Bethlehem. The scene on the right portrays the Holy Family on the flight into Egypt. In the centre of the Christmas cross is the monogram of Christ, "IHS". It’s derived from the transcription of the first two letters and the last letter of Ihsous, the Greek name for Jesus.

F: Let’s move on to the Easter cross. Its arms hold portrayals of four stations of Christ’s Passion. On the left, we have Christ praying on the Mount of Olives, where an angel has come to lend him strength. Moving in a counter-clockwise direction, there’s the scene of Jesus on the cross with his mother in prayer at his feet. On the right, you can see the guards at the tomb, while the scene at the top features the resurrection. The acronym INRI occupies the centre of the Easter cross – it’s from the Latin „Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum“ for "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews".

M: The installation "Crib and Cross" is what’s known as a memento mori, a symbol of transience. Its message is that we start dying at the very moment of our birth.

Fotos: © Krippenmuseum und © Trüpschuch