SYMBOLS Stories of cultural life.

St. Peter’s Cross

The so-called “Cross of St Peter” or Petrine Cross) is an inverted Latin cross traditionally used as a Christian symbol, though in recent times it has also been used as an anti-Christian symbol.

Its origin comes from the Catholic belief that St Peter (also known as Simon Peter or Simon, one of the twelve apostles  and leader of the early Christian Church) was crucified upside down.   It is believed that Peter requested this form of crucifixion as he felt he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner that Jesus died. In that sense, this cross is sometimes considered as a symbol of humility.

According to Roman Catholicism, Catholic bishops as a body are considered successors to the apostles (apostolic succession) and the Bishop of Rome is the successor to Saint Peter, who is considered as the first Catholic Pope. For that reason, the Cross of Peter is also often used to refer to the Papacy.    

89-91; Pastoureau, 13-67. Neubecker, 106-107.

St. Peter’s Cross
St. Peter Cross
Saint Peter Cross
Saint Peter

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