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Symbolic rendering of the initials of the Latin words placed on the Cross as Jesus died, Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." The inscription was placed on the Cross by Pilate's orders in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. The initials have been used only since the thirteenth century. Before that the words were fully written or omitted.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.