The Difference Between Crosses and Crucifixes 

There are major differences between crosses and crucifixes in terms of spiritual meaning and symbolic significance. What exactly are they? Many people, including some Christians, find it difficult to distinguish the crucial spiritual difference between a cross and a crucifix. You may already be aware that the cross and crucifix are strong and powerful symbols in Christianity. In fact, the signs are an automatic indication of the Christian faith. The crucifix is also a variant of the Christian cross that many believers love and respect. Christians use the historical symbol to commemorate the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Not only is it a clear declaration of your Christian faith, but it also serves as a reminder for bravely facing the daily hurdles of life. Many people prefer wearing crosses and crucifix pendants to proclaim their faith as a daily reminder. Besides this, some may also wear them for fashion-related purposes. Nevertheless, the cross is seen as a symbol of Christianity throughout the world. 

Although both cross and crucifix are symbols of Christianity, they are quite different in terms of specific religious meaning and symbolism. 


The Cross, also often called the Christian or Roman cross, is widely known as a symbol of Christianity. It refers to an upright structure with transverse beams that were used by ancient Romans to perform an execution. Previously seen as a sign of death and execution, the cross is now a symbol of love, sacrifice, and, most importantly, resurrection and salvation. 

Around 2,000 years back, the cross was a symbol of negativity, denoting pain, torture, and death. But Jesus’ sacrifice and love have now turned it into a beautiful sign of hope, salvation, and eternal life. In fact, the cross has come to represent Christ’s victory over the forces of evil. Today, you can see a cross in Christian households, schools, churches, etc. Protestants prefer using a simple cross due to the belief that Jesus has risen from the dead, whereas Catholic believers often depict Jesus’ immense suffering on the cross as a reminder of His great, love sacrifice for mankind.


The crucifix is also a symbol of Christianity, which serves as the commemoration of the atonement However, the crucifix is a little different from the plain cross Christians use. While the simple cross only represents the wooden structure and the resurrection that followed, the crucifix focuses more on the suffering and atonement of the Lord. Crucifix crosses are regular crosses that also depict Christ’s body (corpus) nailed to the cross. These crosses deliver a visual representation of Jesus’ hanging and being sacrificed on the cross for our sins. The emblem of Christ on the cross reminds us of the pain and suffering that he endured to bring us such great a salvation. While all Christians use a cross, crucifixes are generally more popular among Roman Catholics and some Eastern Orthodox traditions, which frequently use variations of the Roman cross or at times the crucifix as well.

Major Differences Between a Cross and a Crucifix

Although the differences are not that vast, the key factors that differentiate the two are as follows:

  • A Christian cross is simply a T-shaped symbol, whereas a crucifix is a cross with the image of Christ’s body, what is commonly referred to as the corpus.
  • You will see a cross almost everywhere, including Christian homes, schools, and institutes, but a crucifix is usually only found at the altar in Catholic churches, when not being worn as crucifix jewelry.
  • Catholics use both the cross and the crucifix, but Protestants usually only prefer the cross. While this is generally true, Christians can also, of course, appreciate the depiction of Jesus’ suffering and atonement on our behalf on the cross and depict His atonement in Christian jewelry and cross pendants also.

Category: Christian Jewelry, Cross Jewelry

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