Difference Between Cross and Crucifix

Cross and Crucifix are being considered as important signs of faith for Christian people across the globe. It is quite possible to think of Cross and Crucifix as the same as they are very often used interchangeably, however, there is a spring difference between the two.


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Cross vs Crucifix

The difference between Cross and Crucifix is that Cross is a cross-shaped item without a symbol or figure of Jesus on the same, while Crucifix is a Cross with Jesus depicted or engraved on the same.

Cross vs

However, the above is not the only difference. A comparison between both the terms on certain parameters can shed light on subtle aspects:


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonCrossCrucifix
MeaningIt is a standing post with a transverse bar. Used in ancient times for crucifixion.Representation of Jesus Christ on the Cross
By whom preferred?Preferred by protestants (i.e. a member or follower of Western Christian Churches which are separate from the Roman Catholic Church)Preferred by those belonging to Roman Catholic church
Is the symbol or picture of Jesus Christ engraved?NoYes
Can it be used as an idol of worship?Ideally No. Cross is more like a symbol.Yes, because Jesus Christ engraving is there on the item.
Does it depict the pain and suffering of Jesus Christ?NoYes
Is Cross a Crucifix and vice versa?NoA crucifix is a type of Cross
Where you will find these most?Protestant churchesIn Catholic Churches
What does it signify?The sacrifice of Jesus ChristThe resurrection of Jesus Christ
Which is more popular?Cross is more popularThe crucifix is less popular than Cross
Which one is easy to create?Cross is easy to create as it is T shaped symbolCrucifix may be difficult to develop as an engraving of Jesus Christ needs to be put or affixed
Is it worn as a fashion?YesNo


What is Cross?

Cross means a structure consisting of an upright with a transverse beam used especially by the ancient Romans for execution. However, Cross is now a very important symbol of the Christian religion.

Cross is also known as Christian Cross. Cross denotes the sign of Jesus Christ and the faith of the Christian community towards Jesus Christ.

Cross is a common ornamental item to signal a commitment to Christianity. Other uses of Cross include receiving or giving as gifts in ceremonial functions, religious rites, christening, confirmation of admission as a full member of the church.

Cross indicated some time back and may still denote a negative sign and feeling or a symbol for death with extreme torture and pain. The reason being Jesus Christ was hanged to the Cross after being treated with extreme cruelty.

In earlier times, the Cross was not much popular due to the pessimistic thoughts.

However, over some time, the beliefs have changed and now the Cross is frequently worn by people. Most importantly, Cross is used by Christian masses just to protect themselves from evil or sinister things.

There are different types of Cross such as Orthodox Cross, St Anthony Cross, Latin Cross, Jerusalem Cross, St Andrews Cross.

Also, Cross may be worn by many people as a style or a fashion statement with many international celebrities endorsing the same.


What is Crucifix?

Crucifix means a representation of Jesus Christ on the Cross or a Cross with the figure of the crucifixion of Jesus engraved upon the same. Crucifix indicates the graphic portrayal of the extreme pains suffered and the sacrifice of Jesus. The crucifix is commonly used in Roman Catholic churches.

Crucifix means “(one) fixed to a Cross“. The crucifix is different from a bare Cross.

The representation of Jesus on the Cross is referred to as a corpus. The crucifix is held in elevated admiration by the people of the Christian community acknowledging the life and journey of Jesus Christ, his sacrifice, his pain, death, and finally the resurrection.

The crucifix is being used in all Catholic churches around the globe and is common in public religious services. The use of a Crucifix as an Altar Cross is an obligation in a Catholic mass or any other specific rites or religious occasions.

Modern Roman Catholic churches will usually have a Crucifix above the table at which the bread and wine are consecrated in communion services on the wall.

The crucifix is also opposed by some people as they feel that Jesus Christ was resurrected but not on the Cross, so it is wrong to depict that way. There may be different types of Crucifix and especially those where there be could be a dramatical engraving of the suffering of Jesus Christ being depicted.


Main Differences Between Cross and Crucifix

  1. Cross is favored or chosen by protestants, Crucifix is preferred by Roman Catholics.
  2. Cross is an item without any engraving or any picture on the same. The crucifix is a Cross with a Jesus Christ engraving.
  3. Cross emerged in the 4th century. Crucifix emerged later at around the 10th century.
  4. Cross indicates the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Crucifix indicates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  5. Cross cannot be considered as Crucifix. The crucifix is a type of Cross.
  6. Cross was or is not objected to by many people. Crucifix may be a subject of opposition as it depicts the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Difference Between Cross and


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=QiZCSJdG4TYC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=Cross+and+Crucifix&ots=oPQQ9JfN69&sig=mVnA0k5ofrM5Lcl4–aM-iz0ulM
  2. https://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/29058/RSCAS_2013_88.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
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