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Catholic Cross Designs

By Editorial Staff

catholic crossContributed by Info Guru Terri Wallace

Crosses are one of the most recognizable images of the Christian faith, and believers often wear them to serve as a reminder of the sacrifice Christ made for them.

There are also many distinctive Catholic cross designs that reflect and enhance their faith.

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10. Jeweled Cross

Jeweled Cross

A crux gemmata (Latin for “jeweled cross”) is a type of often found in early Christian art. This type of cross is decorated with gemstones. Often, a painted or engraved image of the Crucifixion of Jesus is found on the back of the cross.

9. Celtic Cross

Celtic Cross

The Celtic Cross combines a cross with a circular image around the intersection. Legend claims that Saint Patrick combined the Christian cross with the image of the sun cross, in order to enlighten pagan followers of the significance of the cross by combining it with sun and all of the life-giving properties that it represents.

8. Cross of Nails

Cross of Nails

The Cross of Nails is a powerful reminder of Christ’s crucifixion. The Nail cross is constructed in the image of three nails in remembrance of the way in which Christ died.

7. Mount Carmel Cross

Mount Carmel Cross

Some crosses also reflect other religious events that are held in high regard by some members of the Catholic faith. One example of this type of cross is the Mount Carmel Cross which commemorates a Marian appearance wherein the Blessed Virgin was reported to have appeared to Saint Simon Stock, who was Prior General of the Carmelite Order in the mid-13th century.

6. Saint Thomas Cross

Saint Thomas Cross

The Saint Thomas Cross, which is also known as a “Mar Thoma Cross,” is traditionally associated with Saint Thomas, the Apostle of India. This cross is used as a symbol of the Syro Malabar Catholic Church and is venerated by the Saint Thomas Christians denominations.

5. Cross of St. Peter

Cross of St. Peter

The origin of the St. Peter’s Cross comes from the Catholic tradition that Simon Peter was crucified upside down. It is believed that St. Peter asked for this form of crucifixion because he felt he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner that Jesus died. This has led some Catholics to use the St. Peter’s cross as a symbol of humility.

4. Apostles’ Cross

 Apostles' Cross

The Apostles’ Cross, also known as the “budded cross,” or the Cathedral Cross, is represented with discs or circles at the ends of the crosses’ arms. These “buds” may be more spherical or ringed in shape, and represent the Holy Trinity.

3. Jerusalem Cross

Jerusalem Cross

The Jerusalem cross, which is also known as the Crusaders’ cross or the “Five-fold Cross,” is a Christian symbol comprised of a large cross potent surrounded by four smaller Greek crosses, one in each quadrant. It is believed that the five-fold cross symbolizes the Five Wounds of Christ, Christ and the four quarters of the world, Christ and the four evangelists.

2. Crucifix


A crucifix is a cross which also has a representation of Jesus’ body. Modern Roman Catholic churches often have a crucifix located on the wall directly above the altar. For the celebration of Mass, the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church requires that a figure of Christ crucified be located on or close to the altar.

1. Shrouded Cross

Shrouded Cross

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In contrast to the crucifix, the Shrouded Cross is also referred to as an Empty or Resurrection Cross and it emphasizes that, although Jesus died on the cross, His death was not the end. A plain Latin Cross (or any other cross) which shows no image of Jesus can also be referred to as an Empty Cross, even if there is no shroud present.


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