Different Types of Crosses and Their Meanings

The Cross has become a symbol that’s deeply related to religion and ancient history. Different cultures and civilizations have given different meanings to the Cross, and these are the meanings behind 22 of the most popular ones that have stood the test of time to this day.

Different Types of Crosses and Their Meanings
    Latin Cross
  • Latin cross

    The Latin cross is by far the most famous one, which is also known as the crucifix. It symbolized the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and symbolized the belief of Christian religions across the world. In particular, it showcases the passion of Christ and his death on the Cross. The defining feature of this Cross is its more extended arm at the bottom.

  • Greek Cross

    Greek cross

    The Greek cross is similar to the Latin cross in the sense that Christianity used it, but mostly during its early years. The Cross is different from the Latin cross, however, as instead of having a long arm at the bottom, all of its four arms are of equal length.

  • Tau Cross - Saint Anthony
  • Tau cross (Saint Anthony)

    Also known as Saint Anthony the Abbot cross or Crux Commissar, the Tau cross is a particular type of Cross reserved for a Catholic saint known as Saint Anthony. Saint Anthony is said to be the Father of All Monks and holds great significance in Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The Tau cross is recognized by its unique T-shape, with an arm being absent on the top.

    “The Tau cross is recognized by its unique T-shape, with an arm being absent on the top.”
  • Tree of Life Cross

    The Tree of Life cross is a simplified version of the Tree of Life, a symbol that represents many things, including ancestry, family, and of course, life. It essentially explains that everything in this world is connected, one way or another. It also represents growth, whether that be physical, mental, or spiritual.

  • Upside Down Cross - St. Peter
  • Upside Down Cross (St. Peter)

    The Upside Down Cross is a unique cross that also has heavy ties to Christianity. The Cross symbolizes the martyrdom of Peter the Apostle, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. Peter wished to be crucified upside-down, as he found himself unworthy of being crucified in the same manner as Jesus. The Upside Down Cross is just that – a Latin Cross turned upside-down.

  • Eight Pointed Cross - Maltese Cross
  • Eight pointed Cross (Maltese Cross)

    The Eight Pointed Cross is a unique cross that is essentially a cross made up of four distinct V shapes. These shapes point inward, resulting in the eight points of the Eight Pointed Cross. The Cross is also known as the Maltese Cross, a cross that is most commonly associated with the Knights Hospitaller.

  • Eight Pointed Cross - Maltese Cross
  • Celtic cross

    The Celtic cross is similar to a Latin cross but with a circle surrounding the center of the four arms. It has the same Christian meaning as the Latin cross, with the only real difference being that it was most commonly found in Ireland, Great Britain, and France during the 9th to 12th centuries.

  • Wooden Cross

    A wooden cross bears the same meaning as a Latin cross but with a closer connection to the actual crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This is because the Cross that Jesus was crucified on was made out of wood. The Cross itself is no different from a typical Latin cross, with its material being the only difference.

    “The cross itself is no different from a typical Latin cross, with its material being the only difference.”
  • Orthodox Cross
  • Orthodox Cross

    The Orthodox cross is the Orthodox variant of the Latin cross. The Cross itself symbolizes the crucifixion the same way that the Latin cross does, but it contains a few more details. For example, the slanted line at the bottom represents the thieves that were crucified beside Jesus during his crucifixion.

  • Cross of Saint Aemilian of Cogolla

    The Cross of Saint Aemilian of Cogolla is a cross that symbolizes the saint that it was named after. Saint Aemilian was a saint that lived between the fifth and sixth centuries in La Rioja, Spain.

  • Coptic Cross
  • The Coptic Cross

    The Coptic Cross is a cross that symbolizes the Coptic Catholic Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church. There are two variants of the Coptic Cross, with the modern version with intricate colors and shapes. However, the older variant was far more straightforward, with four T-shapes surrounding a cross with a circle at the center.

    “The Coptic Cross is a cross that symbolizes the Coptic Catholic Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church.”
  • Russian Cross
  • Russian Cross

    The Russian Cross is another term for the Orthodox Cross, which contains the added horizontal line above and the slanted line below its center.

  • Marian Cross

    The Marian cross is a variant of the Latin cross with the Letter M either beside or below the Cross itself. The letter M signifies Mary, who was present on the day of Calvary. Pope John Paul II invented the Cross.

  • Papal Triple Cross
  • Papal Triple Cross

    The Papal Cross, or the Papal Triple Cross, is a cross with two additional horizontal lines above the first one, each being smaller than the one below. It is used to symbolize the office of the Pope.

  • Anchor Cross
  • Anchor Cross

    The Anchor Cross was one of the earliest cross-like symbols in Christianity. The main difference that separated it from other crosses was its protrusions at the bottom of the Cross, being similar to that of an anchor’s hook.

  • San Damiano Cross

    The San Damiano Cross is a unique cross that St. Francis of Assisi prayed to. While praying, St. Francis was said to have received instruction to rebuild the Lord’s church. It is cherished by many Christians, with the Franciscans especially treasuring the Cross.

  • Saint Andrew’s Cross (Saltire)
  • Saint Andrew’s Cross (Saltire)

    Saint Andrew’s cross is a slanted cross that symbolizes the crucifixion of Saint Andrew, the patron of Scotland. The Cross has become a national symbol as a result. It is slanted as many believe that Saint Andrew was martyred in this manner.

  • Jerusalem Cross
  • Jerusalem Cross

    The Jerusalem Cross is a cross that features four small crosslets on each of the four quadrants of the main Cross. It symbolized Jerusalem’s coat of arms during the 1820s.

  • Templar Cross
  • Templar Cross

    Knights wore the Templar Cross, and it had symbolic meaning to them. They believed that it symbolized their martyrdom, with them dying in combat as an honor, resulting in them being sent to heaven.

  • Egyptian hieroglyph Anch
  • Egyptian hieroglyph “Anch.”

    The anch, or ankh, is an Egyptian cross with a loop at the top. This Cross was used to symbolize life in many writings and depictions throughout Egyptian literature.

  • Cross with trilobed terminals

    Trilobed terminals on a cross are typical of the Russian Orthodox Church, and the lobes are meant to represent the Trinity – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.