The Cross and Crucifix are considered vital signs of faith for Christian people across the globe. It is quite possible to think of the Cross and Crucifix as the same as they are very often used interchangeably; however, there is a spring difference between the two.
- A cross is a symbol with two intersecting lines, representing the instrument of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. At the same time, a crucifix is a cross with a representation of Jesus’ body (corpus) attached to it.
- The cross is a more abstract and universal symbol used in various religious and cultural contexts, whereas the crucifix is specifically associated with Christianity and the depiction of Jesus’ sacrifice.
- Christian denominations use the symbols differently: the crucifix is more common in Catholic and Orthodox traditions, while the cross is more prevalent in Protestant faiths.
Cross vs Crucifix
The difference between a Cross and Crucifix is that the Cross is a cross-shaped item without a symbol or figure of Jesus, while Crucifix is a Cross with Jesus depicted or engraved on the same.
However, the above is not the only difference. A comparison between both the terms on specific parameters can shed light on subtle aspects:
|Parameter of Comparison||Cross||Crucifix|
|Meaning||It 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 followers 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?||No||Yes|
|Can it be used as an idol of worship?||Ideally No. The cross is more like a symbol.||Yes, because the Jesus Christ engraving is there on the item.|
|Does it depict the pain and suffering of Jesus Christ?||No||Yes|
|Is Cross a Crucifix and vice versa?||No||A crucifix is a type of Cross|
|Where will you find these most?||Protestant churches||In Catholic Churches|
|What does it signify?||The sacrifice of Jesus Christ||The resurrection of Jesus Christ|
|Which is more popular?||The cross is more popular.||The crucifix is less famous than the Cross|
|Which one is easy to create?||The cross is easy to create as it is T shaped symbol.||Crucifix may be challenging to develop as an engraving of Jesus Christ needs to be put or affixed.|
|Is it worn as a fashion?||Yes||No|
What is Cross?
The cross means a structure consisting of an upright with a transverse beam used primarily by the ancient Romans for execution. However, the Cross is now a significant symbol of the Christian religion.
The cross is also known as Christian Cross. The Cross denotes the sign of Jesus Christ and the faith of the Christian community towards Jesus Christ.
A Cross is a common ornamental item to signal a commitment to Christianity. Other uses of the Cross include receiving or giving as gifts in ceremonial functions, religious rites, christening, and confirmation of admission as a whole church member.
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 Jesus Christ was hanged on the Cross after being treated with extreme cruelty.
In earlier times, the Cross was not famous due to pessimistic thoughts.
However, over some time, the beliefs have changed, and now the Cross is frequently worn by people. Most importantly, the Cross is used by Christian masses to protect themselves from evil or sinister things.
There are different types of Crosses, such as the Orthodox Cross, St Anthony Cross, Latin Cross, Jerusalem Cross, and St Andrews Cross.
Also, many people may wear a Cross as a style or 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 pain 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, his resurrection.
The crucifix is being used in all Catholic churches around the globe and is common in public religious services. Using a Crucifix as an Altar Cross is an obligation in a Catholic mass or other specific rites or religious occasions.
Modern Roman Catholic churches have a Crucifix above the table where the bread and wine are consecrated in communion services on the wall.
Some people also oppose the crucifix as they feel that Jesus Christ was resurrected but not on the Cross, so it is wrong to depict it that way. There may be different types of Crucifix, especially those where there could be a dramatic engraving of the suffering of Jesus Christ depicted.
Main Differences Between Cross and Crucifix
- The Cross is favoured or chosen by protestants; Roman Catholics prefer Crucifix.
- The cross is an item without any engraving or any picture on the same. The crucifix is a Cross with Jesus Christ engraved.
- Cross emerged in the 4th century. Crucifix emerged later at around the 10th century.
- Cross indicates the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Crucifix indicates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- Cross cannot be considered as Crucifix. The crucifix is a type of Cross.
- 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.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.