Is the Cross Pagan?


I was recently shown a pamphlet which had examples of different types of cross’ used throughout history, many of which were non-Christian. If anyone could help me understand the history of veneration of the cross and why it isn’t pagan.


About the Pagan charge in general:

About the history of the cross and crucifix:

Jesus died on the cross. It’s an historical fact. He wasn’t the only person crucified by the Romans, I’m sure many pagans were too. But again, we venerate the cross because that is how Jesus died. There’s nothing pagan about it.

If a cross is worn by a Christian, or is in a Christian church or other Christian setting, it is obviously a symbol of the cross on which Jesus was crucified. So how could it possibly be pagan?

Sure, there are other types of crosses. The nazi swastika is based on an old pagan symbol. That, however, is not connected in any way with Christian crosses. Just because something has a couple of intersecting lines doesn’t say anything about what it symbolizes. You have to consider the context.

A better joke i have heard is that the cross developed from the plus sign in mathematics.

The cross being venerated is not a pagan cross, because it’s a Christian cross.

The cross is a common symbol used all over the world by many different cultures. They assign their own meaning to it.

Catholics venerate the crucifix, which is clearly not pagan.

It’s a very specific cross and venerated for a very specific reason, not for the shape itself.

Correct. In fact, the Nazi swastika is derived from the Hindu/Buddhist/Jain use of the symbol, but that’s it. Once Hitler and the Nazis started adopting the swastika and starting applying their own meanings to it, it had acquired a different meaning from the way Hindus or Buddhists or Jains use it - their swastika is no longer the same as the Hindu or Buddhist symbol. In other words, it has become a different creature from them.

There are people out there that try and tell you everything you believe is a lie.

Jesus died on the Cross, you do not worship the Cross.

Satan wants his little doubt acorns planted in every Catholic.

The Romans used crucifixion as a means of torture and the Romans were pagans, so for that reason the cross is then associated with paganism. Using that logic I guess any image or word or whatever that was not Hebrew would then be “pagan” wouldn’t it? Other examples are wedding bands and even the calendar we use.

Just because some pagans might have venerated two lines crossing each other doesn’t mean that Catholicism is secretly paganism. It’s the symbol of the faith because Jesus died on the cross, and any pagans having it as their symbol too is mere coincidence and matters little.

Don’t be afraid of the cross.

A great priest I knew described how we as a society have been taught to not have empathy. We have been taught to not have compassion. We look away when someone is in pain or struggles.

Embrace Jesus on the cross. Don’t run away from him.

Sure the symbol may have pagan origins. Lots of pagans were crucified like that.

Jesus humbles himself. Embrace him.

It was a pagan method of execution.

It has been sanctified by Christ’s use of it for His sacrifice.

Out of evil comes good.

When the authors of the books of the New Testament wrote, didn’t they write them in a language of pagan origin using an alphabet (symbols) entirely of pagan origin? If the first Christians didn’t have a problem with using symbols of pagan origin for good purpose, why should we?

Who were those that Crucified Our Lord Jesus Christ? Where they not pagans? So what?
Christ’s Crucifixion changed it from whatever it was to the instrument of our salvation. Just as Sunday was for the pagan god of the sun; now, since His Resurrection, it is for The Son of God!. Things change, Jesus changed everything!

The Romans killed people via Crucifixion

saying that the cross is pagan is like saying we borrowed the symbol from another culture.
it is a common symbol but it doesn’t deny the fact that this was what people did in the roman empire to kill people.

there are many different ways to crucify people the following website can shed some light on the different forms.

there are writtings from the church fathers that tell us how Jesus’ cross was shaped.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit