The Most Holy Apostolic Father explains the meaning of the 4 letters INRI, fixed on top of the Cross of Lord Jesus Christ!
Even though Christians and non Christians have seen several Pictures and Statues of Crucified Lord Jesus Christ, the Most Holy Apostolic Father, His Holiness Rohan Lalith Aponso, enlightened people about a matter which they are not aware of.
Most of the people do not know the meaning of the 4 letters INRI, fixed on top of the Cross of Lord Jesus Christ. Explaining the meaning of INRI, the Most Holy Apostolic Father, further reflected the following,
“Dear Children, Symbol of the Cross holds a prominent place in the lives of Christians. We could see the Sign of the Cross in Christian homes. Similarly, we could also see the Sign of the Cross on top of the buildings belonging to Christians.”
It is common sight to see most of the Christians wearing a Cross around their neck. Nevertheless, it is regrettable and it is highly unfortunate to see that the Cross has also become an ornament.
My Dear Children, The Story of the Cross is not a secret to all of us. Our Lord Jesus Christ sacrificed His life on the surface of a Cross. Our heart, aches when we see the Statue of Our Lord Jesus Christ hanging on the Cross due to the reason that we immensely love and respect Him.
Even though you have seen the Pictures and Statues of Lord Jesus Christ hanging on the Cross and even though you are aware of the story behind those Pictures and Statues of Lord Jesus Christ, most of the Christians are not aware of the meaning of the 4 letters INRI, fixed on top of each and every Crucifix of Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, now I wish to enlighten you about that.
Dear Children, A board which has a sentence written by Pilate was fixed above the head of Lord Jesus Christ at the moment when Lord Jesus Christ was crucified on the surface of a Cross. Pilate wrote that sentence in Latin Language. INRI are the first few letters in the sentence which was written by Pilate in Latin Language. Latin Language was the official Language of the Roman Emperor.
The sentence which was written by Pilate was, ”Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm”. The word “I” is used in Latin Language instead of the word “J” in English Language. Similarly, the word “V” is used in Latin Language instead of the word “U” in English Language. Accordingly, the English translation of this sentence which was written in Latin Language by Pilate is, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”. It has become a customary for several centuries to fix the first few letters in the sentence which was written by Pilate on top of each and every Crucifix of Lord Jesus Christ”.
The Most Holy Apostolic Father, who addresses from the entrance to the Apparition Church of Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine, further reflected the following to the devotees and to the pilgrims who converged in the Shrine Ground of Our Lady of Katunayake.
Certainly, “Pilate wrote this sentence in 3 Languages. Due to the fact that he wrote it in Hebrew, Greek and in Latin Languages, all the people who were passing by could read this sentence. Therefore, the Chief Priest said to Pilate, ‘Do not write “The King of the Jews”, but rather, ‘This Man said, “I am the King of the Jews”. Then Pilate answered, “What I have written stays written”. Pilate did not again change the sentences which were written by him. This is stated in the Gospel of St. John in Chapter 19”.
“Dear Children, You would have seen several Pictures of Lord Jesus Christ hanging on the Cross. There is no doubt that you also would have seen the board with the letters INRI, fixed on top of the Crucifix Lord Jesus Christ. Most probably, it could be only today that most of the people, who are before me, became aware of the true meaning of the 4 letters in that board. You have received this opportunity to know everything which is connected to the life of Lord Jesus Christ due to the fact that the world has received an Apostle.
“Pilate fixed a board with the letters of “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”, not because he welcomed Lord Jesus Christ in the manner it was written but because he wanted to humiliate Lord Jesus Christ more and more. Pilate did not want to give a position to the truth. Nevertheless, he wanted to give a position to the falsehood even against his conscience to protect his King’s Chair, by making the people happy.
Finally, giving an advice to the devotees and to the pilgrims who converged in the Shrine Ground of Our Lady of Katunayake from various places to listen to His Teachings and to receive His Apostolic Blessings, the Most Holy Apostolic Father, further reflected the following.
“Dear Children, It is not difficult to find a character similar to Pilate even among you. Even today, we could find, number of people betraying the truth to satisfy their friends and relatives. They betray Lord Jesus Christ by doing that. True words which Lord Jesus Christ Himself has preached are being crucified daily until an era dawns where Pilates’ will not be born”.
Images of the Good Friday Service presided by the Holy Apostolic Father Rohan Lalith Aponso at the Apparition Church of Our Lady of Katunayake’s Shrine on 21st March 2008