The Old Rugged Cross

St. Ambrose Cemetery, Seymour, Indiana

St. Ambrose Cemetery, Seymour, Indiana



DED. 11, 1847

OCT. 27, 1920


This dramatic monument erected for Mariarosa Sciarra is a depiction of a line from the iconic hymn “Rock of Ages” written by Reverend Augustus Montague Toplady in 1763 and first published in 1775.  The hymn has been a popular Christian standard for over a century.

At the turn of the 19th Century, postcards depicted a dramatic scene of a woman in a flowing dress being buffeted by a storm surrounded by stormy white-crested waves clinging to a cross illustrating the first two lines of the third stanza from the hymn:

“Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling”

The image above is a sculpture of those two lines of the great hymn.  This motif is found in full sculpture,  but also commonly found on white-bronze markers (blue-tinted cast zinc markers) made in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  The woman symbolizes faith.  The raging sea (not depicted in this sculpture–the woman rests upon a rock) is a metaphor for the sea of sin in which humankind lives, and the cross is the hope to which sinners cling to be saved.

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