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upside down cross meaning

upside down cross meaning

upside down cross meaning

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Cross of Saint Peter

The Cross of Saint 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, it is associated with the martyrdom of Peter the Apostle. The symbol originates from the Catholic tradition that when sentenced to death, Peter requested that his cross be upside down, as he felt unworthy of being crucified in the same manner as Jesus. The Petrine Cross is also associated with the papacy, reflecting the Catholic belief that the pope is the successor of Peter as bishop of Rome.

Inverted Cross

A cross that is upside down, with the short end pointing toward the bottom.

Commonly believed to be a satanic symbol, it is actually the opposite; According to legend, St. Peter requested that he be crucified in a different way than Jesus Christ, because he felt that he didn’t deserve to die in the same manner as his lord, so the Romans raised his cross with him upside down.

That’s right, every so-called Satanist who wears the inverted cross is actually showing humility and unworthiness before Christ.

upside down cross meaning
upside down cross meaning

Upside Down Cross Meaning And Symbolism, The Petrine Cross

Many symbols were transformed and associated with several different meanings as time passed. Today, we will be examining one of them, the upside down cross.

What does it mean? When did it originate and how did it come to be a satanic symbol? The answers to all these questions and more is here in this article. Without further ado, here is everything you need to know about the inverted cross of Saint Peter, its meaning, origin and uses.

What Is An Upside Down Cross?

Also known as the Petrine cross, inverted cross and St. Peter’s cross, the upside down cross is the inverted version of the Latin cross, the most prominent symbol of Christianity.

The Upside Down Cross Origin

While many people think that the upside down cross is a symbol for satanism and/or anti-Christian sentiments, this most definitely is not the case or was not the case, we should say.

The inverted cross emerged as a symbol of Saint Peter, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, who is also known as Peter the Apostle, Simeon, Simon and Simon Peter and Cephas and who was the first Bishop of Rome, that is to say, the first Pope.

According to several written records by Christian theologians and scholars like Origen of Alexandria (Origen Adamantius) and Eusebius of Caesarea (in his work titled Ecclesiastical History, 325 A.D.), when he was about to be crucified on the orders of the Roman Emperor Nero, Saint Peter asked to be hung upside down.

It is widely believed that Saint Peter made this request as he did not consider himself worthy of being crucified in the same way with Jesus Christ, the Savior. That is how the symbol became the cross of Saint Peter.

upside down cross meaning
upside down cross meaning

The Upside Down Cross Symbolism

As it represents the love and respect shown to Jesus Christ by St. Peter in such a humble way, the inverted cross is considered as a symbol of humility by Catholic people.

You can also see an upside down cross on the back of the Pope’s chair. The Petrine cross is one of the several symbols of papacy and it is considered to represent the fact that the Pope is the successor of Saint Peter (as he was the first Pope) according to Catholic tradition.

This was the only meaning behind the upside down cross until the beginning of the 19th century. After that, it became a symbol of anti-Christianity sentiments and even satanism.

The History of the Petrine Cross

While the upside down cross is viewed as a controversial symbol, with both positive and negative connotations, in reality it originated as a symbol of Christian martyrdom. The cross is connected to St. Peter who requested to be crucified on an upside down cross, as he did not feel worthy of being crucified in the same manner as Jesus, i.e. on a regular upright cross. This signals his humility in faith.


Because Peter was the rock upon which the church of Jesus Christ was built upon, this symbol of the upside down cross was highly significant, and became a part of Christian iconography. It symbolized the papacy, because the Pope is considered Peter’s successor and the Bishop of Rome. It was used in churches and in Christian artwork to symbolize humility and unworthiness when compared to Jesus.

There was no negative connotations associated with the original meaning of the Petrine cross. It was just another variant to the plain cross.

In Catholicism, the inverted cross is accepted and valued, but an inverted crucifix is not. To clarify, a crucifix features an image of Jesus on the cross. If a crucifix is inverted, it appears as disrespectful and irreverent.

Negative Connotations – Inverted Cross

Symbols are dynamic and often, their meanings, change or acquire new associations with the changing times. This has happened most notably with the ancient swastika symbol, which today is mostly viewed in the West as a symbol of racism and hate.

Likewise, the Petrine cross became associated with anti-Christian perceptions and the satanic church. This is simply because, as a visual symbol, it’s the opposite of the Latin cross and so can be viewed as having opposite connotations. As the cross is the most recognized symbol of Christianity, an upside down cross could represent anti-Christian sentiments. This is the same with the pentagram, which has Christian symbolism but when inverted, is believed to represent evil and to attract dark forces.

This view has been greatly promoted by popular culture and media, where the upside down cross is portrayed as something evil and satanic.

Here are just some instances where the Petrine cross has been used in negative ways:

  • In many horror movies, including The Amityville Horror, Paranormal Activity, The Conjuring 1 and The Conjuring 2, an upside down cross is portrayed as the harbinger of evil. This is often the case if the movie has demonic themes.
  • Glen Benton, an American death metal musician, is known for branding the Petrine cross on his forehead as a symbol of his anti-Christian views.
  • Inverted crosses are used as a symbol in certain ceremonies of the Satanic Church.
  • Lady Gaga used an inverted cross in her music video, Alejandro, to symbolize a penis.

Religious Origins of the Upside-Down Cross

The origins of this symbol go back to the Bible and its teachings, dating back to approximately 200 A.D. Within these religious texts, there existed a man known as Saint Peter, who was a missionary of the Roman Empire, and who was one of the founders of the Church of Rome.

After the church was founded, an Emperor named Nero viewed the Church of Rome as a threat to his rule and took it upon himself to oust those responsible from their position. This decision brought about the death of Saint Peter.

It is widely believed that Jesus was crucified on a cross and some people believe that Saint Peter was also slain in the same manner. However, in the Bible it is written that Saint Peter did not see himself as worthy to die in the same way that Jesus did.

Saint Peter

Thus, at his own request and as a sign of his own humility, he was crucified on an upside-down cross instead, giving this symbol its name as the ‘Cross of Saint Peter’.

Due to this belief, many Christian sects now use the inverted cross as a sign of humility, despite the existing negative connotations often tied to it. Here is a direct quote from the Bible referring to this event:

“I beseech you the executioners, crucify me thus, with [my] head downward and not otherwise, and the reason wherefore.”

The upside-down cross is also commonly linked with the Pope. Whose leadership and authority is usually believed by Catholics to be traceable back to Saint Peter himself. Furthermore, Pagans also place some meaning in the cross as it resembles Mjölnir, the hammer of Thor, in Nordic legend.

What the Upside Down Cross Means in Christianity

Contrary to popular belief, the upside-down cross is actually revered in Christianity. It is the symbol of Saint Peter, one of the most respected and honorable figures in Christianity.

upside down cross meaning
upside down cross meaning

An apostle of Jesus Christ, Saint Peter was the early Church’s first Pope, and he was a martyr. Upon his crucifixion under the reign of Emperor Nero, Peter asked the Romans to invert the cross. As he did not feel worthy of having the same manner of death of Jesus Christ. The inverted cross, or the Petrine Cross, actually symbolizes humility. And unworthiness in Christianity, due to the way Saint Peter was executed.

When you see an upside-down cross in churches, it depicts the symbol of Saint Peter.

Other Uses of the Upside-down Cross

The Cross of Saint Peter can be seen throughout the world on various pieces of artwork and architecture. In places where it is used, the symbol is quite often seen as appearing. With two keys placed in a diagonal cross formation across the top.

Thank you for staying with this post “upside down cross meaning” until the end.

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