Types of Religious Crosses

Written by kathryn rateliff barr Google
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Millions of Christians around the world wear cross jewellery and carry crosses. Crosses adorn walls, heraldic shields, Bible covers and church windows. Artists use many mediums to create crosses from precious metals, wood, ceramic and plastic. The style or type of religious cross varies by culture and the creativity of the artists. Consumers will find there are many choices of cross, from the very simple to the extremely ornate.


Jesus' body hangs on the crucifix. The symbol represents the sacrifice and pain Jesus paid to reconcile God and man.

Empty Cross

A discarded robe drapes the crossbars on many simple crosses. It serves as a reminder that Jesus did not stay on the cross, but followed through to the resurrection on Easter Sunday. Sometimes the robe may be coloured red to represent the shed blood.

Greek Cross

The Greek cross arms are all the same length, so it would form a perfect square if you drew a box around it. The cross may be adorned with flowers, filigrees, or budded trefoil ends in its more ornate forms. The simplest version of this may only flair the ends of the arms.

Latin Cross

On the Latin cross, the crossbar bisects the vertical bar closer to the top of the cross than the bottom. The crossbar arms and the top arm may be similar in length, but the section below the crossbar will always be longer than the other three arms. Artists may embellish the cross with decorative designs and patterns.

Celtic Cross

The Celtic cross is a Latin cross with a circle bisecting all of the arms. The Celtic cross merged pagan symbology with the Latin cross, and modern versions of this may include the claddagh, shamrock, crown of thorns, rose, trinity or other decoration in a circle at the crosspiece.

Chi Rho

Chi Rho uses the first two Greek letters for Christ as the cross. It resembles a tall "P" with an "X" affixed to the stem of the "P." Images of this symbol emblazoned the shields and armour of Constantine's army in 312 CE.

St. Andrew's Cross

St. Andrew's cross is shaped like an "X" to remember the disciple who refused to be crucified in the same manner as Jesus. Legend relates that he was crucified upside down.

Tau Cross

The Tau cross has no upper arm. It resembles the Greek letter tau or our English "T." Various cultures used a symbol of this description, including the Egyptians.

Nail Cross

Two simple, short nails form the crossbar and a long nail spike forms the upright piece. The nails represent the spikes that pierced Jesus' flesh as he was fastened to the cross.

Rope Cross

The rope cross varies as to how much cording is included on the cross. Some only hold the upright to the horizontal and others also include rope at the end of each arm. The rope represents Jesus bound on the cross.

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