The Meaning of INRI on the Cross

4 min read

The INRI Abbreviation on the Cross: What is the Meaning?

One main reason why Jesus, the son of man came to the world is to show His love for us by dying for our sins ✝️. His birth has been prophesied by many prophets in the Old Testament – they called Him King – a King in Israel. 2 Samuel 7:12-13.

inri cross

Have you ever wondered what was written on the placard placed right above the head of Jesus Christ on the cross 🤔? 
What was written there? From the Scriptures, we read what was written on the cross and who wrote it there.

iniri necklaces collection

1) The Meaning of the Letters INRI

The Abbreviations INRI stands for Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum.
which translates to Jesus Of Nazareth The King Of The Jews 👑. 

Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum

Why the abbreviation INRI, which is the Latin for the charge on the cross, Jesus Of Nazareth The King Of The Jews?
🧐 The reason for this because the first copy of the bible made was in Vulgate Latin. The first complete combined bible was translated by St. Jerome into Vulgate Latin. 

inri abbreviation on the cross

The bible, Gutenberg Bible was produced in the year 1455 C.E. It is believed that people became used to the Latin part of the charge and was abbreviated to INRI.

2) Pontius Pilate

Who was the person in charge of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ?

It was Pontius Pilate, also the man who wrote INRI on the cross above the head of Jesus 📜. 

pontius pilate

Who was he? Most people only know Pontius Pilate as the man who gave the order to crucify Jesus but do not know who he was, his origin, full name, the language he spoke. Pontius Pilate was a Roman – he probably must have spent his childhood in Rome 🇮🇹. His full name, Marcus Pontius Pilatus which is his full name in Latin and they pay their tax to them.

holy lance pontius pilate

When Pontius was given birth 👶🏻 to was not stated or confirmed but he was a Governor of the Roman Province of Judaea. At that time, Judaea was under the rule of the Roman Empire so Pontius was appointed by Tiberiusto oversee the affairs of Judaea 🗞️. 

3) INRI - Bible Reference

🔍 Matthew gave us what was written there just like the other books of the Gospel:

"And set up over his head his accusation written, this is Jesus the king of the Jews.” 
Matthew 27:37

Inri bible reference

The Gospel of John also described what was written above the head of the Son of God on the cross:

"And Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was, Jesus of Nazareth the king of the Jews." 
John 19:19 KJV

John didn’t stop here; he went further to tell us the reason why it was easy for people to understand that which was written:

This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.”
John 19:20 KJV

INRI Gospel of John

📜 The note on the head of our Lord Jesus was written in three languages. Note that the common language that was spoken in the time of Jesus is Greek and the Aramaic, some people spoke Hebrew

crucifix necklaces promo

4) INRI and Titulus Crucis

What is Titulus Crucis? From the words, we can see that it is in Latin and the meaning is “The Title of the Cross.” One common mistake that people make is that they call the Titulus Crucis the cross. This is not the cross 🙅‍♀️ ; it is just part of the True cross (relic). It is a piece of wood that is placed above the head of Jesus on the cross 🔨. 

titulus crucis

That is exactly where Pontius Pilate wrote the Charge INRI ✏️ (Jesus Of Nazareth The King Of The Jews). This relic was discovered in a public building (Basilica) of Santa Croce which is in Rome. The relic was later kept in the Catholic Church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme which means Holy Cross in Jerusalem. ⛪

After Jesus was nail hands and feet to the cross, there was an inscription that was placed above his head (the relic). After his death on the cross, Jesus was taken away from it, where was the cross with the placard taken to? 🕵‍♂

What happened to the cross was not concisely stated but it must have been removed days after Jesus was removed from it and placed near Golgotha (where Jesus was crucified, also called Calvary). Some years later, the place where the cross was thrown became a city, Aelia Capitol Ina 🏙️. 


It was built under the rule of the Roman Emperor, Hadrian. Years later, according to history, the mother of Constantine the Great, Helena, went to Jerusalem 🇮🇱. There was a structure which Hadrian had erected, a Temple of Venus. It was a temple for the goddesses. The temple was destroyed. Underneath this temple are some tombs, it is believed that Jesus' tomb was there.

🔍 Some artifacts were collected too and the relic from the cross is likely to be part of them. Helena took the relic and kept it in a chapel she built for herself. When Helena found the relic, she cut it into parts and distributed them. Two of the parts were destroyed either during battle ⚔️ or during the invasion of the Moslems in the 9th century.

The last part of the Titulus was the one discovered in 1492 at the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemmewhich means the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. That was the chapel that Helena built for herself 🙏🏻. 

Discover this Cross Necklace with the INRI inscription

🙂 If you are looking for a meaningful jewel, you will love this Cross Necklace engraved with the INRI abbreviation 👇.

INRI cross necklace

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