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"Cruciform" by Tsabo6 on Deviantart.

The cruciforms are symbiotic and parasitical entities found on the walls of the Labyrinth on the planet Hyperion. They are first introduced to the Hyperion Cantos story line in the Priest's Tale as Father Lenar Hoyt recounts his period among the Bikura indigenies of Hyperion, and go on to play an important role in mankind's destiny. 


Cruciforms resemble in shape and proportion the crucifixes that are central to Christianity. Their texture is similar to that of soft coral, and they give off a bioluminescent pinkish glow. Their back surfaces are entirely flat and smooth, lacking any obvious adhesive properties, and a set of knobs on the top "arm" of the cruciform allow them to be easily tied to necklaces and lanyards.


After being placed on the skin of a host, normally in the upper central part of the host's chest, the parasite grows root-like fibers throughout the entire body. The Cruciform then copies the DNA and memory samples from the host. After growing into a host, the cruciform shares its host's DNA.

Regenerative Ability


After the accidental or natural death of the host, the parasite is able to recreate the host's body and mind, not only repairing bodily damage but being able to completely reconstruct all bodily tissues and parts, thus resurrecting the individual. Only the tiniest fragments of host tissue and cruciform matter remains are required to regenerate both host and cruciform.

Side Effects

However, when the Cruciform was originally found on Hyperion, the Resurrection process was not flawless. Memory and mental capabilities were lost or diminished with each consecutive resurrection, resulting in individuals with severe mental limitations. Similarly, the host's body would become increasingly stunted, hairless, and sexless - becoming devoid of any internal or external genitalia, the only vestiges being the urethra and anus uniting in a type of primitive cloaca. The person's voice also changes, sounding genderless and modulated. That is the state in which all the Bikura were found by Father Lenar Hoyt in his visit to Hyperion.

SPOILER ALERT! The section(s) below are MAJOR SPOILERS.

Pax Era

After The Fall, in the centuries before Raul Endymion is born on the planet Hyperion, the resurrection via Cruciform process is "perfected" to the point of eliminating its devastating side effects, thus providing a type of immortality to the host. However, this technology was under strict control of the Pax and provided only by the TechnoCore, the developer of the improvement. In consequence, as humanity once depended on the Technocore for the farcaster portals, during the Pax Era billions of human beings converted to Christianity and accepted the Cruciform as a sacrament of the Catholic Church in order to gain access to the religion's Sacrament of Resurrection.


Once a cruciform bonds to a host, it is impossible to remove through surgical or other conventional means, due to the cruciform spreading over five hundred meters of microfiber in the cellular node extensions of the parasite through the body of the host [1]. The known ways to remove a cruciform from a host body are:

  • By subjecting the body to sustained immolation over the course of numerous resurrections, so that the body is weakened enough for the cruciform to be removed;
  • By having the Shrike remove a cruciform manually from a body;
  • By the secret ritual of excommunication performed by the Catholic Church [2][3];
  • By having the host become infected by Aenea's DNA Sacrament virus.



The Bikura

The ancestors of the Bikura indigenies of Hyperion arrived at the planet via seedship and were the first to discover Cruciforms in caves on the large cleft by which they lived. As a result of the repeated resurrections, the Bikura became physically and mentally stunted versions of their former selves.

Web Era

The first modern human to encounter the cruciforms was Father Paul Duré, on the morning of day 111 of his exile to Hyperion.[4] Father Duré had discovered the Basilica beneath the Bikura's camp on day 105[5] and was planning his return to spread the news of his discovery, when the Bikura the Bikura found that he was not "of the cruciform". They subsequently led Father Duré to the base of the Cleft, where he discovered an entrance to Hyperion's labyrinth and the all the cruciforms that lay inside.[6]

SPOILER ALERT! The section(s) below are MAJOR SPOILERS.

Pax Era

In the centuries after The Fall, the Pax started harvesting the Cruciforms for their newly established Sacrament of Resurrection. The TechnoCore perfected the Cruciform's regenerative abilities, canceling its devastating side effects, and providing humans with a type of immortality under the control of the Pax and the Catholic Church. There were mass conversations to Christianity on many worlds. Billions accepted the Cruciform.

As a result, an interplanetary society arose in which death - although to be avoided - was a rather trivial matter. Take, for instance, the victim of Raul Endymion's "murder" was brought back to life and testified in his own murder trial against Raul. Fast interstellar travel was again achieved in human space by way of Gideon Drives, such as the one flown by Father Captain Federico de Soya, so fast that they would kill their entire crews and simply resurrect them upon arrival. However, the resurrections were not without price, given the disturbing truth about Cruciform's nature, motives, and consequences.

SPOILER ALERT! The section(s) below are MAJOR SPOILERS.


According to Aenea, the cruciforms were created by the TechnoCore UI in the far future in order to keep a population of humans alive so that their brains could serve as a network of biological computers for the TechnoCore. For this reason the cruciforms were bred in the planetwide labyrinth of Hyperion and sent backward in time.[7]

True Nature

SPOILER ALERT! The section(s) below are MAJOR SPOILERS.

The Shared Moment let be known to all mankind that the Cruciform was a parasitic mass of AI nodes generating a micro TechnoCore in real space. It used the neurological system of each host however it wanted, even to the point of killing the human host as it considered the final moments before death to be the most creative moment of brain activity. The Church would then use Core technology to bring back the human body to life, with the cruciform becoming even stronger and more interconnected every time the individual died and was resurrected.[8]


  1. The Rise of Endymion, 1997. Chapter 9
  2. The Rise of Endymion, 1995, Chapter 7 ("Usury! thought the Grand Inquisitor in wild contusion: A penalty of excommunication … losing the cruciform … upon violation of strict trade and profit controls.")
  3. The Rise of Endymion, 1995, Chapter 16
  4. Hyperion, 1995. 73-74.
  5. Hyperion, 1995. 65-66.
  6. Hyperion, 1995. 78.
  7. Endymion, 1995, 498.
  8. Worlds Enough and Time, 2002, Orphans of the Helix, 107