The Plague Cross in Cologne
Three churches in Cologne have extremely rare crosses that are very unique in Christendom. Originating in the 14th century, they are called the Plague Cross. This cross comes from that period of time when the Black Death was ravaging Europe where as much as 50% of the people died. To express Christ's solidarity with the people, these crosses began to spring up in churches throughout Europe. They are unique because the shape of the cross is very distinctive.
In addition, they are also unique because they showed that Christ shared in their suffering. On these crosses, the wounds of Christ are not from the scourging He received during the passion but the wounds a person has when they are dying from the black death.
These crosses are a tangible reminder of how we look to Christ to comfort us in difficult times and how we express this through his participation in our suffering.