I've been watching the show Vikings on the History Channel and on the latest episode Christians capture an alleged apostate. As punishment they decide to crucify him.

Of course this is just a show but it got me wondering, did any Christians anywhere at any time ever use crucifixion as means of punishment?

  • 7
    I cannot find any record of crucifixion used as a punishment by Christians following it's banning by Constantine I. To my lay mind it would seem potentially blasphemous to use Christ's punishment on pagans, further decreasing the likelihood of it being inflicted in such circumstances. Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 15:39
  • FWIW, I think Athelstan's crucifixion in Vikings is a dream/hallucination. It's so obviously a reenact of the crucifixion, including a crown of thorns and a crowd yelling "Crucify him!"
    – Alex P
    Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 19:03
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    @AlexP what makes you think it was a dream? Especially when King Egbert comes and orders him to be spared and taken to him for talks. I agree that it so obviously reenacted the crucifixion that I felt disappointed that the show, which was more or less authentic until that point, did it.
    – Juicy
    Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 19:27
  • 4
    In the Philippines, some Catholics are voluntarily, non-lethally crucified for a limited time on Good Friday to imitate the suffering of Jesus Christ.[en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucifixion#As_a_devotional_practice]
    – liftarn
    Commented Jun 10, 2014 at 8:20
  • would it not run the risk of being counterproductive? The Glorious King captures and crucifies the Nasty Rebel Leader; then the rebels may tell truthfully (and paint on their pamphlets) "our leader died like Christ Himself!" I guess if a king understand the power of political imagery with religious analogies and undertones, he will not do such a thing.
    – Luiz
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 16:05

3 Answers 3


If you consider Nazis to be "Christians," it is reported crucifixion was occasionally approbated for Jewish prisoners in the Dachau concentration camp during the Holocaust. The motive for this war crime has strong religious undertones.

Or perhaps, crucifixion could be meant to include any form of public execution by live hanging. Then yes, because some Christians used impalement.

Otherwise, the answer appears to be "no."

  • 4
    Nazis were so anti-Christian it is so easy to verify.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 13:22
  • 4
    @KenGraham Not so, or at the very best an oversimplification to the point of reductio ad absurdum, but that would be quite off-topic to discuss here
    – Marakai
    Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 7:06
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    @KenGraham nope, many were very religious and faithful churchgoers. There were chaplains in the German army in WW2, providing church services even at the front.
    – jwenting
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 10:20
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    @KenGraham, looking at the answer to this other question, the only Christian denomination the Nazis were "anti" against seems to been mostly the JWs
    – user25717
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 1:06

No. The two big users of crucifixion were the pre-Imperial Romans and the Japanese, neither of whom were Christians. Note that by Christian times crucifixion was largely a historical punishment in the Roman empire and was more an ugly memory than an everyday reality.

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    The statement that X and Y used crucifixion doesn't answer whether Christians used crucifixion. It is difficult to prove a negative, but I think that @RazieMah has provided several examples of Christians using crucifixion.
    – MCW
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 16:25

This is the weirdest non-historical alteration I've ever seen on a so-called history show. In fact, the Church itself did not engage in any lethal punishment until the Albigensian crusade in the 13th century. So the attempt to crucify Athelstan by the Archbishop is completely a script writer's fantasy, as is the attempt to portray crucifixion as a usual punishment for apostasy, when the Frankish monk who instructs the Princess of Wessex in Illumination also says Athelstan should be crucified for apostasy.

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