The Church Fathers did not have a common theory or system of atonement. Therefore, if one wants to appreciate what they had to say about atonement, one needs to study the rich images that pervade their literature. Their beliefs concerning atonement were not expressed in words, but in symbols, especially of the cross. This article discusses the various symbols of the cross of Christ which are to be found in the writings of theologians of the 4th and 5th centuries. Reijners (1965) has undertaken an exhaustive study of the images of the cross in the first three centuries, but the writings of the fourth and fifth centuries have never been scrutinized for these images.
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