Cross of St. Peter

"Peter cross" redirects here. For the people of that name, see Peter Cross.
"Inverted cross" redirects here. For the gymnastics move, see Rings (gymnastics).
A Cross of Peter is an inverted Latin cross

The Cross of St. Peter or Petrine Cross is an inverted Latin cross traditionally used as a Christian symbol, but in recent times also used as an anti-Christian symbol.

In Christianity

Peter's Cross on a Lutheran church

The origin of the symbol comes from the Catholic tradition that Simon Peter was crucified upside down,[1] as told by Origen of Alexandria. The tradition first appears in the "Martyrdom of Peter", a fragmented text found in, but possibly predating, the apocryphal Acts of Peter, which was written no later than 200 A.D. 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. As such, some Catholics use this cross as a symbol of humility and unworthiness in comparison to Jesus.

According to Roman Catholicism, the pope is Peter's successor as Bishop of Rome. Therefore, the Papacy is often represented by symbols that are also used to represent Peter, one example being the Keys of Heaven and another the Petrine Cross.

Anti-Christian imagery

By inverting the primary symbol of Christianity, the upside-down cross has become popular within anti-religion groups[2] and has appeared in films such as The Masque of the Red Death, Rosemary's Baby, Exorcist: The Beginning, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Ghost, The Devil Inside, Paranormal Activity, Constantine, Devil, Phoonk, The Omen, The Conjuring, Omen, Annabelle, V/H/S: Viral and Gummo.

The inverted cross is also a recurring motif in punk rock, black metal, and heavy metal, where it is embraced as symbol of anti-authoritarianism and defiance (but not necessarily Anti-Christian), and is featured in the iconography of punk-themed fashion label Cheap Monday, hip-hop collective Odd Future, worn by fictional bassist Murdoc Niccals of Gorillaz, and throughout the rock opera American Idiot based on the music of Green Day.

See also


  1. Our Christian Symbols by Friedrich Rest (ISBN 0-8298-0099-9), p. 29
  2. Ogechukwu, Nwaocha (17 July 2010). The Secret Behind the Cross and Crucifix. Strategic Book Publishing. p. 19. ISBN 978-1-60860-850-8.

External links

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