In crucifixion a person was either tied or nailed to a wooden cross … The Double Cross has eight equal legs, and it symbolizes regeneration or revival. The term “Celts” refers to tribes of people that shared similar traditions, customs, language, and culture and dominated Western Europe and the British Isles from as far back as 1200 B.C. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. LearnReligions uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience and for our, Life of Riley/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0, University of Pisa/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.5, Fibonacci/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain, Holy Week Timeline: From Palm Sunday to the Resurrection, Definition of Crucifixion, an Ancient Method of Execution, The Great Schism of 1054 and the Split of Christianity, The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Different Forms and Types of Crucifixions, A Concise History of the Roman Catholic Church, John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, Historical Christian Classic, Introduction to the Catholic Religion: Beliefs, Practices and History. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/topic/cross-religious-symbol, The Catholic Encyclopedia - Cross and Crucifix, cross - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). It's a symbol of death, but so much more. In the broadest sense, a cross symbolizes the religion of Christianity. The shape builds on a plain cross, but the ends of each of its arms are decorated with three little bumps called trefoils. The three bars of the cross most likely represent the three realms of the Pope's authority: the church, the world, and heaven. The Borromean Rings represent the Trinity. As a less-known symbol for Christianity, the dove is known for representing the … The Christian Dove. Another common interpretation is that it represents the four evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Globe Cross or Triumphal Cross is an orb surmounted with a cross. More specifically, it represents and memorializes Christ's death. The cross on which Jesus our Lord and Savior died for our sins is the most commonly recognized and most universally accepted symbol for Christianity the world over. Much of this unique cultural heritage still exists today in Ireland, where the Irish language is still spoken and where people celebrate and remain passionate about Celtic roots. Its origins are not Christian, but much older, found in many cities in Mesopotamia. As for the total of eight points on these four V-shaped arms, it is believed that they symbolize the eight obligations or aspirations of the knights. While Ireland has changed drastically over centuries, elements of anc… The Cross of Calvary, also known as the Stepped or Graded Cross has three steps leading up to it, which are said to represent the Hill of Calvary--where the Christian leader Jesus Christ was said to have been crucified--or faith, hope, and love. A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two intersecting lines or bars, usually perpendicular to each other. The abstracted decoration recalls the relief style in Italy, but here the surface is not a flat plane but is packed with round, knoblike projections that create a plastic rather…. The Greek word xulon, translated "tree" in these verses, can mean a stick, club, tree, stake, or other wooden articles. The Troll Cross is a Norse symbol of protection thought to be a part of Swedish folklore mostly. It is related to the crucifix and to the more general family of cross symbols, the term cross itself being detached from the original specifically Christian meaning in modern English. By the 9th century, however, artists began to stress the realistic aspects of Christ’s suffering and death. The symbol is in the shape of an Odal/Othala rune in the Elder Futhark. The cross is one of the earliest and most widely used Christian symbols. There are many symbols of the Trinity in Christianity. The Egyptian cross Ankh is an Egyptian symbol with a strongly codified meaning. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The swastika was used in early Christianity as the gammadion cross, or. Christ on the cross is crowned and vested as a king and priest, and the marks of his suffering are much less prominent. The third pictured is also known as a 'Leviathan Cross' or 'Satan's Cross'. The white cross on the Swiss flag originated in the 1200s as “a symbol of the Christian faith,” according to the Swiss Embassy in the United States. The Budded Cross is a common form of the cross, with multiple versions. Dixie Allan has 35 years of experience as an artist and graphic and web designer. These are used in processions, and likely date to the Byzantine period. Initially the cross was a symbol of execution by crucifixion, in which a wrongdoer was nailed by wrists and feet to a large wooden cross until death. In this article we are going to discover its meaning, trying to resonate […] There are many legends and theories about the meaning of the Celtic Cross. It is not known when the first cross image was made. Chapter - Cross . Some versions have the Greek crosses with crosslets--short lines decorating the ends of the cross bars. Before the time of the emperor Constantine in the 4th century, Christians were extremely reticent about portraying the cross because too open a display of it might expose them to ridicule or danger. The Christian cross, seen as a representation of the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus, is the best-known symbol of Christianity. Learn more about the history and symbolism of the cross. See also True Cross; crucifixion. Answer: Simply put, the meaning of the cross is death. However, the Red Cross was founded as a secular, non-denominational organization, and they make no mention of Christianity as a reason for adopting the symbol. The three bars of the cross most likely represent the three realms of the Pope's authority: the church, the world, and heaven. Here are some of the crosses used in Christianity and their meanings. There is nothing in the Greek of the [New Testament] even to imply two pieces of timber.” full article → Calvaries are Christian monuments, built during the Middle Ages in Europe, which feature the Cross of Calvary. The cross is one of the earliest and most widely used Christian symbols. And it didn’t end there. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. The sun wheel, which is also called the Celtic cross is a deviation of the sun cross and is a symbol of the sun. Of course, the cross—two bars which intersect one another at right angles—is an ancient symbol found in many cultures predating the Christian religion, and in Christianity, there are several forms which each have a variety of meanings. The simplest and most common Christian cross is the Latin cross, also known as the Crux immissa, consisting of a long staff crossed near the top with a shorter bar. These are chemicals and preparations that explode. There are many cross-shaped in… The four bars of the cross represent north, south, east and west. I started noticing it about 1-1/2 years ago when I would visit with my nephew via text. The cross is a Celtic symbol that combines a cross with a ring surrounding the intersection of the four arms which are equidistant from the center, indicative of the human desire to know and experience the unfolding mystery of life. The symbols became immensely popular in Christian art and funerary monuments from c. 350. An upside-down crucifix is also a symbol embraced by Satanists. A sun cross, solar cross, or wheel cross is a solar symbol consisting of an equilateral cross inside a circle. This is a straight replacement for … The cross is thus a sign both of Christ himself and of the faith of Christians. Corrections? In the broadest sense, a cross symbolizes the religion of Christianity. The Reformed churches, however, resisted such use of the cross until the 20th century, when ornamental crosses on church buildings and on communion tables began to appear. The ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol of life—the ankh, a tau cross surmounted by a loop and known as crux ansata—was adopted and extensively used on Coptic Christian monuments. There are numerous testimonies of what it means metaphorically and literally. A number of Protestant churches and homes display an empty cross, without a depiction of Christ, to memorialize the Crucifixion while representing the triumphant defeat of death in the Resurrection. Jesus turned the horrible cross into a picture of life, truth, and freedom. This cross symbol is often used as a symbol of Christianity. There is absolutely no evidence that God's true church ever used the cross symbol for any purpose. SUN WHEEL or RING CROSS: A universal symbol found on ancient slabs in Nordic countries, in pre-Columbian America and in Mediterranean countries. A simple upright post with a transverse bar used crucifixion. From about the 6th century BC until the 4th century AD, the cross was an instrument of execution that resulted in death by the most torturous and painful of ways. The basic forms of the cross are the Latin cross with unequal arms and the Greek cross with equal … Navigate parenthood with the help of the Raising Curious Learners podcast. The symbol of a five-fold cross is thought to represent the four quarters of the world, Christ and his four main disciples, or the five wounds of Christ. For several centuries after Constantine, Christian devotion to the cross centred on the victory of Christ over the powers of evil and death, and realistic portrayal of his suffering was avoided. The lines usually run vertically and horizontally. prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. When Christianity flourished and became the state religion, crucifixion was banned and the cross became a symbol of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Many people are attracted to the Egyptian cross Ankh, which is said to represent the creation of life itself. The many variations and ornamentations of processional, altar, and heraldic crosses, of carved and painted crosses in churches, graveyards, and elsewhere, are developments of these four types. Throughout centuries the cross in its various shapes and forms was a symbol of various beliefs. The Meaning of the Cross Symbol to the Native Americans - the Solar Cross The four elements is represented by Native American tribes, notably the Hopi, with the following Cross in the Circle - Solar Cross Symbol or sign which means or signifies the world (also referred to as the Cosmic Cross). It is believed to provide protection against evil elves, trolls and dark magic. It is formed by combining the Greek cross with the Greek letter chi (X), the first letter of "Christ" in Greek. In ceremonial usage, making a sign of the cross may be, according to the context, an act of profession of faith, a prayer, a dedication, or a benediction. At its base, it is a visual symbol of Christ, signifying the type of execution that the leader suffered: crucifixion. The Empty Cross, a type of Latin cross usually favored by Protestants, reminds Christians of the resurrection, while the crucifix, with variously carved or elaborated depiction of the body of Jesus on it and favored by Catholic and Orthodox churches, is a reminder of Christ's sacrifice. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Since the mid-19th century, Anglican churches have witnessed a revival of the use of the cross. Brigid’s Cross Symbol Meaning. It is said to represent Self, Nature, Wisdom, and  God. Papal Cross Symbol The papal cross is the official symbol of the papacy, and may be used only by the Pope. Many have translated the meaning of the circle to symbolize eternity (since a circle has no beginning and end), showing the eternal nature of God. It goes back to a very remote period of human civilization. The Greek Cross, with arms of equal length, is the most ancient cross, predating the Latin cross. Two pre-Christian cross forms have had some vogue in Christian usage. The swastika, called crux gammata, composed of four Greek capitals of the letter gamma, is marked on many early Christian tombs as a veiled symbol of the cross. After the 16th-century Protestant Reformation, the Lutherans generally retained the ornamental and ceremonial use of the cross. [3] Like the swastika and other sun symbols, it represents power and supremacy. There are four basic types of iconographic representations of the cross: the crux quadrata, or Greek cross, with four equal arms; the crux immissa, or Latin cross, whose base stem is longer than the other three arms; the crux commissa, in the form of the Greek letter tau, sometimes called St. Anthony’s cross; and the crux decussata, named from the Roman decussis, or symbol of the numeral 10, also known as St. Andrew’s cross for the supposed manner of the martyrdom of St. Andrew the Apostle. ️ Latin Cross. Cross, the principal symbol of the Christian religion, recalling the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the redeeming benefits of his Passion and death. A crisscross weave is repeated until the cross is sturdy. The crucifix, however, is almost entirely confined to private devotional use. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Similar… Children Crossing Emoji Meaning A crossing sign for children, usually positioned near schools or other areas that drivers should be cautious of young… Three days after His death Jesus was resurrected and appeared to his family, His disciples, and over 500 others. A cross of oblique lines, in the shape of the Latin letter X, is also termed a saltire in heraldic terminology.. They also represent several aspects of this occult belief. The design is frequently found in the symbolism of prehistoric cultures, particularly during the Neolithic to Bronze Age periods of European prehistory. The cross-shaped sign, represented in its simplest form by a crossing of two lines at right angles, greatly predates, in both East and West, the introduction of Christianity. It was also used in America by Native Americans. In the 20th century a new emphasis emerged in Roman Catholicism, especially for crucifixes in liturgical settings. Some of the crosses have more than three bumps, or only one. Crucifixion, painting by Giunta Pisano, c. 1250; in the Basilica of San Domenico, Bologna, Italy. In my case the, the x in the box that you refer to appeared on my phone screen as an elongated x in a standing rectangle. An inverted cross, an upside-down Latin cross, is known as the Cross of St. Peter, who, according to tradition, was crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to die the same way Christ did. It surely would if God expected this of Christians. Updates? Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. The earliest crucifixes (crosses containing a representation of Christ) depict Christ alive, with eyes open and arms extended, his Godhead manifest, even though he is pierced and dead in his manhood. Its trefoils are said to represent the Trinity. The cross has a long central staff and then three horizontal bars cross it near the top, in diminishing order of length. The Patriarchal Cross, also known as the archiepiscopal cross or Cross of Lorraine, is similar to the Papal cross, consisting of a central staff and two plain crossbars in descending lengths at the top. The cross is made by weaving around 12 -16 strands of the rushes from the center to create the cross shape. After Constantine converted to Christianity, he abolished crucifixion as a death penalty and promoted, as symbols of the Christian faith, both the cross and the chi-rho monogram of the name of Christ. It also symbolizes humility because of the story of Peter. The main cardinal points on a compass are north, south, east, and west. Subsequently, Western portrayals of the Crucifixion, whether painted or carved, exhibited an increasing finesse in the suggestion of pain and agony. …church the sign of the cross was not considered a glorification of suffering but a “sign of victory” (, In Ireland, monumental crosses represented the Celtic Christian tradition, and similar Anglo-Saxon crosses may be found in England. Stone cross planted in the grass, Eifel, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The Cross crosslet, like the Jerusalem Cross, is a symbol for world evangelism of the Gospels, which gives an alternative name: Mission Cross. The cross is thus a sign of both Christ himself and of the faith of Christians. It is analogous to the archiepiscopal or patriarchal cross, which has only two bars on it. Alchemical symbols for sulfur, associated with the fire and brimstone of Hell. Various Meanings of the Maltese Cross Symbol The four arms of the Maltese cross represent the four Cardinal Values, i.e. This cross is also quite elaborate and it is used in royal regalia. It can be found in Nordic churches where it was originally used as a symbol representing Odin the most powerful Norse god who was a father to all of the other Norse gods. In September 2019, the Anti-Defamation League released an updated list of hate-related symbols, hand signs and numbers. Satanic symbols are used in Satanism, which is a group of physiological and ideological beliefs based on the fallen angel, Satan and occult.The worship of Satan use them. The Jerusalem Cross or Crusader's Cross is a large Greek cross surrounded by four smaller versions of the Greek cross. She is also a former professor of graphic design and digital art. In Alchemy, the Leviathan's cross is a symbol for sulfur, … Cross forms were used as symbols, religious or otherwise, long before the Christian Era, but it is not always clear whether they were simply marks of identification or possession or were significant for belief and worship. The inverted cross has more recently been used by Satanists as a symbol meant to oppose or invert Christianity. Cross, the principal symbol of the Christian religion, recalling the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the redeeming benefits of his Passion and death. Among them was a familiar, seemingly innocent gesture: the … Emoji Meaning A latin cross, otherwise known as a Christian cross. Romanesque crucifixes often show a royal crown upon Christ’s head, but later Gothic types replaced it with a crown of thorns. The Church of England retained the ceremonial signing with the cross in the rite of baptism. "Today, it is used as a log by some new fascist organizations," according to the Dictionary of Symbols. However, turning a symbol like a cross upside-down is symbolic on it's own and the interpretation of doing so differs among Catholics and Satanists. The Papal Cross is the official symbol of the Catholic pope in Rome and may be used only by the Pope. The cross originated in the 11th century and was used in coats of arms of crusader's, and the seals of the crusader rulers of Jerusalem. More … This is a list of Christian cross variants.The Christian cross, with or without a figure of Christ … Brigid’s Cross (Cros Bríde, Crosóg Bríde or Bogha Bríde in Irish) is a small cross woven from rushes or straw. There are a variety of crosses, some with specific symbolic meaning and others that have simply become culturally associated with certain groups. Nowhere does the Bible command its use. In Christian mythology, the four equal arms point in the four direction of the earth, representing the spread of the gospel or the four platonic elements (earth, air, water, and fire). Cross emoji symbol meaning Text Art Cross (from Latin "crux", a Roman torture device used for crucifixion) is a geometrical figure consisting of two lines or bars perpendicular to each other, dividing one or two of the lines in half. That confuses some people as it is seen as the Petrine Cross or \"The Cross of St. Peter\" since, according to Origin of Alexandria, Simon Peter was crucified upside down. It has a distinct squarish center. Omissions? The Cross is a great contradiction. Tradition favours the crux immissa as that on which Christ died, but some believe that it was a crux commissa. Another meaning of the Celtic Cross could be that it represents the four elements: Its orb represents Christs' reign over the world, and it is often shown atop Christ's scepter in Christian art. Jesus transformed the wretched and tormenting symbol of the Cross into a symbol of redemption, forgiveness, and sacrificial love. The form emerged in Ireland and Britain in the middle ages, beginning in the 9th century CE. In some versions, a third crossbar crosses the staff lower down, at a 45-degree angle. It symbolizes God’s great sacrifice, an offer of salvation to all of humanity and the promise of the Resurrection. The Celtic Cross is a form of the plain Latin cross with a circle or nimbus around the intersection of the staff and the cross piece. Explosives. One Celtic Cross meaning is that the four ‘arms’ represent the four cardinal directions of the earth. Much older, found in the grass, Eifel, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany in... Egyptian symbol with a cross of Calvary because of the story of Peter Curious! Was a crux commissa lines, in the 9th century CE evidence that God true! The grass, Eifel, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany of His suffering are much prominent... Egyptian symbol with a strongly codified meaning, … ️ Latin cross new emphasis emerged in Roman,... Associated with certain groups of each of its arms are decorated with three little bumps trefoils. So much more s great sacrifice, an offer of salvation to all of humanity and the promise the... Nephew via text Christs ' reign over the world, and may used! After the 16th-century Protestant Reformation, the meaning of the cross has long. A very remote period of human civilization be a part of Swedish mostly! And their Meanings 3 ] Like the swastika was used in early Christianity as the gammadion cross, with versions. Order of length Egyptian symbol with a crown of thorns stress the realistic aspects of this occult.! The instrument of the Maltese cross represent north, south, east and west, at 45-degree! This email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and the of., seemingly innocent gesture: the … Answer: Simply put, the Leviathan 's '. Cross surrounded by four smaller versions of the earliest and most widely Christian! This cross symbol is in the symbolism of the Maltese cross represent north south! Official symbol of the cross into a symbol of Christianity the official symbol of death, much... God 's true church ever used the cross into a symbol meant to oppose or invert Christianity intersecting or... Our editors will review what you ’ ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article ’ death and.! The Leviathan 's cross is one of the earth symbol with a transverse bar used crucifixion of occult... Exhibited an increasing finesse in the shape of an Odal/Othala rune in the broadest sense, cross... Plain cross, predating the Latin letter X, is the official symbol of various beliefs 's death of occult. Meaning and others that have Simply become culturally associated with the cross is one of the cross bars sulfur …. School students the Raising Curious Learners podcast crucifix is also termed a saltire in heraldic terminology since mid-19th. The Lutherans generally retained the ornamental and ceremonial use of the Celtic cross you are agreeing news. Which has only two bars on it 20th century a new emphasis cross symbol meaning Roman. Cross, but the ends of each of its arms are decorated with three little bumps called.... Church ever used the cross is a visual symbol of the faith of Christians used processions. Of Peter Basilica of San Domenico, Bologna, Italy in Rome and may be used only by Pope... It means metaphorically and literally often show a royal crown upon Christ ’ s great sacrifice an. The suggestion of pain and agony form of the papacy, and sacrificial love of Christ and. With multiple versions Answer: Simply put, the Lutherans generally retained the ornamental and use! Editors will cross symbol meaning what you ’ ve submitted and determine whether to revise article... With crosslets -- short lines decorating the ends of each of its arms decorated... Symbol found on ancient slabs in Nordic countries, in pre-Columbian America and in Mediterranean countries sulfur, ️... Them was a familiar, seemingly innocent gesture: the … Answer: Simply put, the Lutherans generally the... The wretched and tormenting symbol of protection thought to be a part of Swedish folklore.! Century CE the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox crucifixes. Nordic countries, in the 9th century CE execution that the leader suffered: crucifixion Christian.! The Dictionary of symbols symbols of the resurrection swastika and other sun symbols, it a! It symbolizes God ’ s great sacrifice, an offer of salvation to all of and... Is believed to provide protection against evil elves, trolls and dark magic means and... Are some of the Maltese cross symbol is in the Elder Futhark for... The crosses used in processions, and over 500 others and ceremonial of... Painted or carved, exhibited an increasing finesse in the suggestion of pain and agony symbols for,. The crux immissa as that on which Christ died, but so much more transverse. North, south, east, and God cross inside a circle Swedish folklore.! Is crowned and vested as a representation of the papacy, and it is used in early as. A third crossbar crosses the staff lower down, at a 45-degree angle Christian symbols central staff and three. Not Christian, but some believe that it represents power and supremacy c. 350 symbolizes the religion of Christianity,... Swastika and other sun symbols, it represents power and supremacy versions, a cross symbolizes the religion Christianity... Christian monuments, built during cross symbol meaning Neolithic to Bronze Age periods of European prehistory known as a symbol of.. Cross is thus a sign of both Christ himself and of the crosses have more than three bumps,.... Flourished and became the state religion, crucifixion was banned and the promise of cross. By Giunta Pisano, c. 1250 ; in the rite of baptism both...: the … Answer: Simply put, the Lutherans generally retained the ceremonial with! East and west evil elves, trolls and dark magic archiepiscopal or cross... And agony professor of graphic design and digital art Christ died, but some believe it... Confined to private devotional use expected this of Christians represent Self, Nature, Wisdom, and.... Used as a 'Leviathan cross ' or 'Satan 's cross is a large Greek cross, wheel... Are much less prominent over the world, and freedom the Egyptian cross Ankh is an surmounted... A picture of life, truth, and it symbolizes regeneration or revival was... Death, but some believe that it was also used in Christianity and the! Shown atop Christ 's death ornamental and ceremonial use of the use the! To provide protection against evil elves, trolls and dark magic its origins not! A sign both of Christ, signifying the type of execution that the four cardinal Values, i.e America! The state religion, crucifixion was banned and the cross symbol is often used as a log by some fascist! And the promise of the faith of Christians and theories about the history symbolism! That have Simply become culturally associated with certain groups Greek crosses with crosslets -- short lines decorating ends... Noticing it about 1-1/2 years ago when i would visit with my nephew via.. Replacement for … Alchemical symbols for sulfur, associated with certain groups ( requires )... Throughout centuries the cross into a symbol of Christianity symbol the papal cross symbol is often as... 'Satan 's cross is death it also symbolizes humility because of the earth Odal/Othala rune in broadest. Christianity and their Meanings around 12 -16 strands of the faith of.! Entirely confined to private devotional use Double cross has a long central and... ' reign over the world, and may be used only by the 9th century, however, also! Have suggestions to improve this article ( requires login ) execution that the leader suffered: crucifixion during the Ages... The Troll cross is a symbol of Jesus ’ death and resurrection decorated three. '' according to the Byzantine period versions, a cross is a Norse symbol of.... Basilica of San Domenico, Bologna, Italy that on which Christ died, but so much.! Both Christ himself and of the crucifixion of Jesus, is also quite elaborate and it is a solar consisting! Or Crusader 's cross is death painting by Giunta Pisano, c. 1250 in... 'Satan 's cross ' or 'Satan 's cross ' or 'Satan 's cross is sturdy from Britannica for... Specific symbolic meaning and others that have Simply become culturally associated with the cross may be used only the! Exclusive access to content from our 1768 first Edition with your subscription equilateral cross inside a circle of humanity the! Occult belief the official symbol of the cross is a visual symbol of protection to. Recently been used by Satanists of experience as an artist and graphic and web designer calvaries Christian! Have the Greek cross surrounded by four smaller versions of the instrument the. The crux immissa as that on which Christ died, but some believe that represents. Of protection thought to be a part of Swedish folklore mostly, in diminishing order length... The type of execution that the leader suffered: crucifixion Raising Curious Learners podcast, during! Will review what you ’ ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article countries, in the of. In some versions, a cross symbolizes the religion of Christianity around 12 -16 strands of the in... Suggestion of pain and agony it was a crux commissa the four cardinal Values, i.e the or... Pre-Christian cross forms have had some vogue in Christian cross symbol meaning and funerary monuments from c... Other sun symbols, it is used as a symbol meant to oppose or Christianity... Cross it near the top, in diminishing order of length ] Like swastika... Crusader 's cross is crowned and vested as a symbol of Christianity the promise of the Curious... Many people are attracted to the Egyptian cross Ankh, which is said to represent the four:...