Religious Crosses

Although the Crux Immissa (Latin cross) is commonly acknowledged as the type used to crucify Jesus, it is a source of debate between theologians and historians. There are many other forms of a cross.

A gemmata cross may have five stones representing the five wounds suffered by Jesus on the cross; or 13 gems representing Christ and the twelve Apostles.


A ship portrayed with a mast like a cross represents a place of refuge and is acknowledged as the church. The Ark of Noah is a symbol of refuge and salvation.

noahs ark

The cross encompassed within a circle is often found on altar tables. It is also used in processions to represent eternity.


The Ixthos cross is a combination of a Latin cross and a fish symbol. The Greek word for fish is an acronym for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior” and secretly identified others of the faith during dangerous times of persecution.


This symbol represents Peter, the apostle, who was crucified head down because he did not feel worthy to die in the same position as Jesus.


The Tau cross is one of the oldest forms of a cross and is believed to have been held by Moses in the wilderness.


The dove on this Tau cross is symbolic of the Holy Spirit.


This cross form is created with four Tau crosses, each arm also resembling a crutch.

tau cross

Although a forked cross was known in the Middle Ages as a thief’s cross, it also represents the Holy Trinity and is symbolic of arms lifted in prayer.


The Ankh, originally the Egyptian symbol for life, is shaped like the letter T surmounted by an oval or circle. It symbolizes eternal life; peace; and truth.


Chi-Rho is an ancient Christian symbol representing the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ: χριστος – Chi (X) and Rho (P)

This Chi Rho cross also displays letters of the Greek alphabet: Alpha (the first) and Omega (the last) are symbols representing the beginning and the end of all life.

alpha gamma

St. Andrew’s cross was named after the disciple Andrew who was crucified on a cross of this shape. It came into use during the Middle Ages.


In the Greek language, the first letter of the word Jesus is I; and the first letter of Christ is X. When these symbols are combined this cross represents Jesus Christ.


The Shepherd’s cross has a crooked apex and represents the Christian faith and Jesus’ role as the Good Shepherd.

 shepherds crook

The Maltese Cross has four arms of equal length ending in a “V” shape which creates eight points representing the Beatitudes.


The letters IHC represent the first three Greek letters of the name Jesus when it is translated into Latin.



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