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Cross Variations and Their Meanings

The cross is a symbol deeply rooted in the history of Christianity and ancient history. Since it has been around for so long and adopted by different cultures, there are different variations of the cross used for different reasons. At American Steeples, we have created a guide of the most commonly seen crosses in America and what they mean.

History of the Cross

The cross is a Christian symbol of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The cross is a sign of Christian faith and Christ himself. There are four major variants of the cross. There is the crux quadrata or Greek cross, crux immissa or Latin cross, crux commissa which is another form of the Greek cross, and the crux decussata known as St. Andrew’s cross. The Latin cross has a longer stem with three upper arms and has become the universal symbol of Christianity.

There are many different variations of this cross that have become the symbolism for different denominations of Christianity. Some crosses may have added symbols behind them, circles, lines, or other symbols. All the symbols added to a church’s cross represent something about the church. Here is a list of a few types of crosses and their meaning.

1. Square Cross

This is the simple version of the Latin cross mentioned earlier. This cross is often used by churches that do not have a denomination or used by churches in general because it is the most commonly known symbol of Christianity. American Steeples can mount these crosses to a roof, wall, steeple, or have it be freestanding.

2. United Methodist Flame Cross

The United Methodist Flame Cross is also known as the cross and flame. This cross has a red flame behind and to the left of it. The flame is a reminder of the Pentecost, which was when the Holy Spirit descends onto the apostles and speaks to them. The two flames represent the two denominations coming together, the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church to form the United Methodist Church. It is also a symbol of warmth felt by those attending church.

3. Three Crosses

Another common symbol associated with Christianity is the three crosses. The three crosses symbolize the crucifixion of Jesus with men on either side of Jesus that were criminal. The two criminals were robbers. One recognized Jesus as the messiah and the other was cursing at him. The one who believed in Jesus went to heaven and it symbolizes that Jesus is forgiving, while the nonbeliever was not forgiven of his sins. Many churches use this variation of the cross and American Steeples can make custom-made versions!

4. Celtic Cross

The Celtic Cross is a form of the Christian Cross that features a nimbus or ring. According to legend, the Celtic Cross was introduced by St. Patrick when he was converting Pagans to Christianity. The ring behind the cross was added to symbolize the sun and its eternal light and life-giving effect. These crosses were usually stone and high in fields. They were commonly used as a memorial for famous people or places. During the Celtic Revival in the mid 19th century, this version of the cross became popular again. It is a popular symbol in art and fashion as well.

5. Coptic Cross

There are many versions of the Coptic Cross. A Coptic Cross has four sides that are all the same length, but there are many different variations claimed by Coptic Christians. Although there are four sides, they are used to represent the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. There are twelve points on the cross’s edges, representing Jesus’s twelve disciples. Coptic Christianity is popular in Egypt and Ethiopia.

6. Light Behind Crosses

At American Steeples, we can add LED rope lights on the back of any wall mount crosses. Light is associated with a cross because it symbolizes the return of Christ and eternal life. Adding light behind a cross also makes the cross stand out more than if it wasn't lit, depending on the color of the wall and the cross. These can be installed either inside or outside your church.

American Steeples

At American Steeples, we can help you add the perfect cross to your church. We offer a variety of cross designs, materials, sizes, and additions such as lighting. They can be added to your wall, roof, steeple, or can be freestanding. Our standard color is white, but we offer customization to make sure you love your cross. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you upgrade your church with the perfect cross.

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