Latin cross

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

A Latin cross or Crux immissa is a type of cross in which the vertical beam sticks above the crossbeam.[1] This is the main representation of the cross by which Jesus Christ was crucified. The Latin cross began as a Roman Catholic emblem but later became a universal symbol of Christianity.[2] 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]

A Latin cross plan is a floor plan found in many cathedrals and churches.[4] When looked at from above or in plan view it takes the shape of a Latin cross (crux immissa).[5] The Latin cross plans have a nave with aisles or chapels, or both and a transept that forms the arms of the cross.[5] It also has at least one apse that traditionally faces east. Many also have a narthex at the entry.[5]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Herbert Norris, Church Vestments: Their Origin and Development (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2002), p. 128
  2. Ryan K. Smith, Gothic Arches, Latin Crosses: Anti-Catholicism and American Church Designs (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2006), p. 16
  3. 3.0 3.1 Joyce Mori, Crosses of Many Cultures (Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing, 1998), p. 32
  4. St. Peter's in the Vatican, ed. William Tronzo (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), p. 275
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Lilian H. Zirpolo, Historical Dictionary of Baroque Art and Architecture (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2010), p. 314