Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Tuesday 26 October |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Thaddeus McCarthy
Aleteia logo
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

12 Different kinds of crosses and their meanings

Mark Fischer | CC BY SA 2.0

Maria Paola Daud -

Discover the differences between Byzantine, Celtic, Latin, and Coptic crosses (and eight more variations!)

Due to the simplicity of its design, cross-shaped incisions go back into deep prehistory. We find crosses in  petroglyphs in European cult caves, and numerous variants of the simple cross mark all around Northern Africa and other areas of the Mediterranean. In fact, the cross is a symbol that can be found in many different cultures and religions. Butthere is no doubt it is the central symbol of Christianity. In the early third century, Clement of Alexandria already referred to it as “the Lord’s sign.”

However, not all crosses are the same. In fact, the universal symbol of Christianity has plenty of variations based on historical facts, cultural differences, and the unique expressions of faith of Christian communities.

Read more:
Why do so many national flags feature crosses?

Visit the slideshow below to discover some of the most common cross designs in Christianity. 

ArtCatholic historyCatholicismChurch History
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
Meet Sandra Sabattini, a newly beatified 22-year-old
J-P Mauro
How St. Jerome’s pun made an apple the “forbidden fruit”
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio replied to John Paul II’s letter with a miracle
Theresa Civantos Barber
St. John Paul II’s perfect advice for lasting love in marriage
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
4 Steps of prayer to learn from today’s Gospel
John Burger
Member of the singing Von Trapp family dies in Vermont
Marinella Bandini
Exclusive: Carlo Acutis as seen by his mother
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.