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Christian Cross

Christian Symbols Illustrated Glossary

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The Christian cross or Latin cross represents Christ's victory over sin and death through the sacrifice of his own body on the cross.
Latin Cross

Latin Cross

Images © Sue Chastain
The Latin cross, referred to as the Christian cross, is the most familiar and widely recognized symbol of Christianity today. It was most likely the shape of the structure upon which Jesus Christ was crucified. Though various forms of the cross existed, the Latin cross was made of two pieces of wood crossed to create four right angles. The cross today represents Christ's victory over sin and death through the sacrifice of his own body on the cross.

The Roman Catholic depictions of the cross often reveal the body of Christ still on the cross. This is known as the crucifix and brings emphasis to the sacrifice and suffering of Christ. Protestant churches tend to portray the empty cross, emphasizing the resurrected, risen Christ. Followers of Christianity identify with the cross through these words of Jesus (also in Matthew 10:38; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23):

Matthew 16:24
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me." (NIV)

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