Latin cross

A Latin cross or crux immissa is a type of cross in which the vertical beam sticks above the crossbeam,[1] with the three upper arms either equally long or with the vertical topmost arm shorter than the two horizontal arms, and always with a much longer bottom arm.[2]

A crux immissa or Latin cross
Latin cross floor plan. Shaded area is the transept

If displayed upside down it is called St. Peter's Cross, because he was reputedly executed on this type of cross.[3] When displayed sideways it is called St. Philip's cross for the same reason.[3]

Use in the USAEdit

In the USA, the Latin cross began as a Roman Catholic emblem, being vehemently contested as Satanic by various Protestant denominations in the 19th century, but has since become a universal symbol of Christianity and is now the main representation of the cross for Protestants, too.[4]

Cruciform churchesEdit

A Latin cross plan is a floor plan found in many churches and cathedrals.[5] When looked at from above or in plan view it takes the shape of a Latin cross (crux immissa).[6] Such cruciform churches were very common in the West during the Romanesque period.[2] The Latin cross plans have a nave with aisles or chapels, or both, and a transept that forms the arms of the cross.[6] It also has at least one apse that traditionally faces east. Many also have a narthex at the entry.[6]

In computer systemsEdit

The glyph has a unicode code point: U+271D LATIN CROSS (HTML ✝)

See alsoEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Herbert Norris, Church Vestments: Their Origin and Development (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2002), p. 128
  2. ^ a b Curl, James Stevens (2015). cross: Latin. Oxford Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Oxford University Press. p. 213. ISBN 978-0-19-860678-9. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  3. ^ a b Joyce Mori, Crosses of Many Cultures (Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing, 1998), p. 32
  4. ^ Smith, Ryan K. (2006). Gothic Arches, Latin Crosses: Anti-Catholicism and American Church Designs in the Nineteenth Century. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. pp. 54, 57. ISBN 978-0-8078-5689-5. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  5. ^ St. Peter's in the Vatican, ed. William Tronzo (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), p. 275
  6. ^ a b c Lilian H. Zirpolo, Historical Dictionary of Baroque Art and Architecture (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2010), p. 314