Stigmata tattoo designs are a unique expression of religious faith and a potent reminder of the suffering endured by Jesus Christ to save man from everlasting sin.
Stigmata, meaning to prick or puncture referred in ancient Greek and Roman times to the method of branding the body of a soldier or slave to denote their rank or master. Cult members also marked their bodies with a 'stigmata' to identify themselves as adherents to a particular god or goddess. Christian martyrs were sometimes branded on their foreheads with the name of Christ. Sometimes they marked their own hands or arms with Christian symbols.
One of the most recent accounts was the now-canonized Italian priest, Padre Pio (Francesco Forgione), who, in 1918, suffered the five wounds. Doctors examining his body after his death found it to be without a drop of blood, and all the wounds healed without a trace. The phenomenon of the Stigmata continues today, yet no satisfactory natural explanation has been found for its occurrence.