Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 7/A word upon crutches

A Word upon Crutches.—Besides our people upon crutches, we have our “Crutched Friars,” reminding us of the head-quarters of those good brethren who carried the symbolic cross [crux] to the bed of suffering, instead of being themselves supported by anything of the same shape in solid wood-work. The cross of the friars was not of the Greek, Latin, or St. Andrew’s type, but one that was, like a crutch, without any vertical prolongation above the transom. It is said to have been handed down amongst Christians from the time when it was adopted by St. Anthony, the solitary of the Thebaid. Whether he took it from the Egyptian symbol of life or from the Asiatic instrument of death will perhaps never be known. The position of the “title” on the Cross of Calvary seems to stand in the way of its having been a model for that of the hermit, if he used it. So there is something in the look and name of a crutch for antiquarians as well as for cripples.