Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret
among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times
but in tune with the ages. --First Things

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Easter Wreath

Victorious cross with laurel wreath, Chi Ro, and grieving Roman soldiers.
WIKIPEDIA: "Anastasis," symbolic representation of the resurrection of Christ. Panel, Roman lidless sarcophagus, ca. 350 A.D. From the excavations of the Duchess of Chablais at Tor Marancia, 1817-1821.  /  One of the oldest Christograms is the Chi-Rho or Labarum. It consists of the superimposed Greek letters chi (Χ) and rho (Ρ), which are the first two letters of Christ in Greek. Technically, the word labarum is Latin for a type of vexillum, a military standard with a flag hanging from a horizontal crossbar. A Chi-Rho Christogram was added to the flag by the Emperor Constantine I in the late Roman period. Therefore Christogram and labarum were not originally synonyms.

9:00 p.m. What a lovely Easter Day it was . . . I posted this image elsewhere, and it's interesting to see what people chose to comment on--the symbology of birds and wreath, the spread of Christianity (Roman soldiers), and also the Chi Ro said to be dreamed or seen by Constantine before the battle of Milvian Bridge. The accounts by Lactantius and Eusebius vary, and they are interesting--see the Wiki-version here.


  1. When I first read the title of this post and saw the top half of the image before scrolling down, I thought it was bread dough in a wreath wrong I was. Fascinating Christian symbols you write about.

    In a strange way, this takes me back to a book I just finished reading, of pre-Christian times though - an historical novel about Aristotle and his young student Alexander the Great: The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon.

    Glad you had a lovely Easter Day. We did too, it was like summer and almost all our family together.

    Can you believe it's almost April?!

  2. It's starting to look vaguely like spring! Snow melting. Aconite. Snowdrops.

    Bread would be appropriate!


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.