Just the facts on religion.

Cross Symbol

Its intersecting bars suggesting interaction and relationship, the cross has long been used as a religious symbol. It is best known as the symbol of Christianity, but the cross was also used both before and after Christianity in other religious systems.

The Cross as Christian Symbol

The cross is one of the earliest and most widely used Christian symbol. In the most broad sense it symbolizes the religion of Christianity. More specifically, it represents and memorializes Christ's death by crucifixion on a cross.

A great variety of crosses has developed throughout Christian history, some with specific symbolic meaning and others that have simply become culturally associated with certain groups.

The simplest and most common cross is the Latin cross. It may not have come into use until the 2nd or 3rd century. The empty cross, usually favored by Protestants, reminds Christians of the resurrection, while the crucifix, with Jesus on it, favored by Catholic and Orthodox churches, is a reminder of Christ's sacrifice.

  • Baptismal Cross Symbol

    The baptismal cross has eight points. It is formed by combining the Greek cross with the Greek letter chi (X), the first letter of "Christ" in Greek... full article →
  • Budded Cross Symbol

    The budded cross is a common decorative form of the Christian cross. Its trefoils represent the Trinity. full article →
  • Celtic Cross Symbol

    The Celtic cross is distinguished by a circle around the cross bar and intricate designs throughout. full article →
  • Conqueror's Cross Symbol

    The conqueror's cross or victor's cross is a Greek cross with the first and last letters of "Jesus" and "Christ" on top, and the Greek word for conquerer, nika, on the bottom... full article →
  • Cross of St. Peter

    An inverted cross symbol is the cross of St. Peter, who, according to tradition, was crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to die the same way as Christ... full article →
  • Greek Cross Symbol

    The Greek cross, with arms of equal length, is the most ancient form of the cross symbol. full article →
  • Latin Cross Symbol

    The simplest and most common cross symbol used in Christianity is the Latin cross. It may not have come into use until the 2nd or 3rd century... full article →
  • Maltese Cross

    The Maltese cross symbol represents the Knights Hospitallers of St. John, Malta, and many modern-day firefighters and paramedics. Its eight points represent the Beatitudes, the eight obligations of medieval knights, and the eight nations who joined the Knights of Malta. full article →
  • Papal Cross Symbol

    The papal cross is the official symbol of the papacy, and may be used only by the Pope. The three bars of the cross most likely represent the three realms of the Pope's authority: the church, the world, and heaven. full article →
  • Russian Orthodox Cross Symbol

    The Russian Orthodox cross consists of three bars, the lowest bar low and slanted. The top bar represents the "INRI" sign placed over Jesus' head... full article →
  • Triumphant Cross

    The triumphant cross (also known as the orb and cross or globus cruciger, "cross-bearing orb") is an orb topped by a cross. The symbol represents Christ's reign over the world and is often shown atop Christ's scepter in Christian art... full article →