The Latin Cross: the Most Popular, But Not the Least Sacred

The Latin cross is the first religious symbol worn in the world. It is associated with the sacrifice of Christ and the immense love he has for us. Having this type of religious symbol on you ensures that you keep this in mind.

Thus, we must become better humans by remembering to apply the values ​​described by the Gospels in our lives.

Contents :

General meaning of the cross among Catholics

The Latin cross: the simplest and most popular model

The patriarchal cross: power of the Catholic Church and nature of Jesus

The Cross of Lorraine: French resistance and European Christianity

Conclusion on our Latin cross

The Jerusalem cross, a statue of Christ and a Templar amulet

Live a righteous life

thanks to the messages of these Christian symbols


General meaning of the cross among Catholics

THE The most famous and widespread Catholic symbol is undoubtedly the cross. We find it wherever there is a Christian presence.

For Catholics, the cross has become a symbol not only of Jesus' death, but also of his resurrection. While the symbol of the cross existed long before the advent of Christianity, the life of Jesus Christ has indeed made it one of the most well-known icons in the world.

More specifically, the Catholic cross symbolizes the sacrifice, suffering, repentance, solidarity and total love of Christ.

Jesus' death may seem like a defeat, but it was actually a necessary step toward human salvation. Jesus' life was indeed offered as a sacrifice to provide redemption for all humanity.

The cross is therefore also a great symbol of hope for all. In addition, we can also see it as a sign of the love that God has for each of us.

With such messages, it is not surprising that this collection of Christian symbols (which, inevitably, contains many crosses) is so popular with those around us.

Regardless, these are only examples of how to interpret the meaning of the Catholic cross. Each believer can actually apply their own meaning to it. (As long as it remains within the doxa of the Church, of course.)

Thus, the different crosses that we make available to you may all have a different role to play in your life.

Jewelry in the shape of a Latin cross made of iron studs.

The Latin cross: the simplest and most popular model

Basically, this is what a Latin cross looks like in its simplicity.

Sometimes also called the Western Cross, it represents the Holy Cross on which Jesus was crucified.

For many, this is the universal symbol of self-denial expressed by Christ: “If anyone would be one of my disciples, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34).

In short, the Latin cross is the most widespread among Christians around the world. The length of its branches is such that when folded, it forms a cube, an ancient Christian symbol of God's authority on Earth. Despite its absolutely predominant place today, the Latin cross is actually later than other Christian signs of recognition such as the lamb, the alpha and the omega, the fish, the ichtchus, etc.

According to some believers, it was even a pagan symbol used by ancient religions, which pushed certain currents of Christianity to reject it.

For example, Minucius Felix (an author considered one of the fathers of the Church) wrote:

" You who worship wooden gods are certainly the people most likely to also worship wooden Christian crosses, almost as if they were made of the same substance as your deities. When a true believer worships our one God with with outstretched hands he makes the figure of a cross. Thus you see that the sign of the cross has some basis in the nature of your own religion and is therefore not to be set in opposition to Christians. "

Very clearly, we see here the place that the Latin cross can have in our life, whatever our convictions.

Three bishops in front of the steps of the Vatican in Rome.

The patriarchal cross: power of the Catholic Church and nature of Jesus

The patriarchal cross, by its Latin name "crux gestatoria", is a particular Christian symbol. It differs from the Latin cross, the one we are most used to seeing, by an additional crossbar.

There are several explanations, or at least theories, for the presence of this crossing. (As an aside, the patriarchal cross is far from the only type with additional bars. This is relatively common in sacred art.)

One of the most popular explanations is that this bar represents the wooden plaque that was nailed above Christ's head at the time of his crucifixion. On this plaque were written the famous words: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”.

Many think that Pontius Pilate and the executioners did this to make fun of Jesus, to ridicule him... However, we know, as Christians, that there was nothing more true!

Note that there are other theories about the upper bar of the patriarchal cross (which, it is true, are much less widespread):

  • The first bar could represent the death of Jesus, and the second his resurrection.
  • The upper beam could symbolize the power of the Byzantine emperors of the 9th century. Indeed, the patriarchal cross was widely used as a symbol of the religious and nobles of this country.
  • Closer to us, many Catholic bishops wear patriarchal crosses, whether as a staff or as decoration of their tunic.

Military cemeteries with lots of white crosses.

The Cross of Lorraine: French resistance and European Christianity

The cross of Lorraine is often confused with the patriarchal cross. Indeed, their two horizontal bars which are added to the basic Latin cross make them very similar.

Originally, the cross of Lorraine had them of the same length. Nowadays we find more and more ones with one upper bar shorter than the other. In this case, it becomes almost impossible to distinguish it from the patriarchal cross.

In short, it seems that this Christian cross was born in Asia around the 9th century AD. Many groups of missionaries then used it as a sign of recognition.

It was only later that the Duke of Lorraine decided to make it his own during the first crusade which pitted united Christianity against the Muslims. In the 12th century, the Hungarians also decided to use the cross of Lorraine.

We also find numerous standards and coins which show us this symbol. In fact, in some parts of medieval Europe, people thought that the Holy Cross on which Christ was crucified looked more like a model.

The name "cross of Lorraine" was attributed to it in the 15th century, undoubtedly because the House of Anjou, then in possession of the Duchy of Lorraine, made it official to include it in their coat of arms.

As you can imagine, the cross of Lorraine does not only mark the Middle Ages, far from it!

During the Second World War, General Charles de Gaulle, then on the run in London, decided to use it as a rallying sign for the forces of Free France. The Cross of Lorraine was thus officially recognized as a symbol of resistance to the occupation in June 1941.

For all these reasons, we are here faced with a model of a Catholic cross that goes beyond the simple message of the Gospels, and through which every French person can find themselves.

Holy Cross of Jesus in front of a sunset in the countryside.

Conclusion on the Latin cross

Here we discovered three types of Latin crosses, the last two having the particularity of presenting an additional bar.

In fact, when we reflect on its messages and the teachings it carries, we quickly see that there is absolutely nothing missing from the Latin cross.

If we had to find a religious symbol capable of condensing the entire message of the Gospels and the word of God, this would be it.

This is also the opinion expressed in this article which describes the meaning of the cross, or this one which speaks of the meaning of the sign linked to it.

Everything is revealed to us through the life of Jesus Christ, provided we know where to look. The Latin cross underlines the importance of the crucifixion, and thus of its sacrifice.

We all know: Jesus died and suffered on the cross to redeem us for the sins of humanity. There is probably no lucky symbol that reminds us of this better than this one.

Let us therefore glorify the cross in the name of Christ and, thanks to it, let us spread the name of Jesus every day to our hearts and those of our loved ones.

Lucky charms featured in this article

Simple Wooden Cross

Simple Wooden Cross

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author picture(Cyril Gendarme)

Discover the author: Cyril Gendarme

Cyril Gendarme is a writer whose website "The Lucky Door" ("La Porte Du Bonheur" in French, his native language) has become a reference in the field of esotericism. Born in Belgium, Cyril has been attracted to the mysteries of the world since he was a child. When his interest in occultism was awakened, a particular subject caught his attention: lucky charms.

After years of study and in-depth research on esoteric traditions from around the world, Cyril decided to share his knowledge with the public through the internet. In 2019, he launched "The Lucky Door," a website dedicated to exploring lucky charms, magical symbols, and esoteric arts.

The Lucky Door is much more than just a showcase for those curious about magic, divination, or tradition. It is the result of Cyril's passion for researching and understanding the mysteries of the universe. Every piece of information available on the site testifies to his dedication to sharing his knowledge of the most hidden symbols and their unique powers.

In addition to his online work, Cyril regularly organizes workshops and conferences in different countries. His presence on social media is also highly appreciated, where he offers personalized advice and happily answers questions from his community.