What Does An Upside Down Cross Mean

what does an upside down cross mean
what does an upside down cross mean

Have you ever wondered what an upside-down cross symbolizes? Contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with satanic rituals. In fact, the upside-down cross holds a significant meaning within the Christian tradition. Let’s delve into the origins and symbolism behind this intriguing symbol.

The Martyrdom of St. Peter

The association of the upside-down cross with St. Peter can be traced back to the ancient world. In John’s Gospel, Jesus foretells Peter’s future, saying, “you will stretch out your hands.” This phrase was commonly understood as a reference to crucifixion. The early Christian writers, including Origen, Eusebius of Caesarea, St. Clement of Rome, St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Irenaeus, and Tertullian, have documented the martyrdom of St. Peter.

Peter’s Crucifixion

Tertullian, in his work De Præscriptione, emphasizes the significance of Rome, declaring that it is the Church where the Apostles poured out their teachings and blood. He states, “where Peter has emulated the Passion of the Lord.” Likewise, in another writing called Scorpiace, Tertullian further elaborates on Peter’s crucifixion, mentioning how Peter was fastened to the cross, emulating the Passion of Christ.

Eusebius of Caesarea’s Testimony

Eusebius of Caesarea, in his Ecclesiastical History, recounts that Peter preached in various regions before finally arriving in Rome. It is believed that he was crucified upside down, as he specifically requested to be crucified in this manner. Eusebius also mentions that Peter’s crucifixion took place under Emperor Nero’s reign. These accounts have been substantiated by the preservation of Peter and Paul’s names in the cemeteries of Rome.

Symbol of Humility and Martyrdom

Due to the manner in which Peter was crucified, the Church adopted the upside-down cross, without the corpus of Christ, as a symbol to represent Peter, not Christ himself. The Pope, as the successor of Peter, often incorporates the upside-down cross as a symbolic reminder of Peter’s humility and heroic martyrdom. It is essential to note that an upside-down cross should not be mistaken for an upside-down crucifix, which distorts the original meaning. The upside-down cross carries no satanic connotations.

Upside Down Cross


Q: Is an upside-down cross a symbol of Satanism?
A: No, an upside-down cross does not have any satanic associations. It is a symbol used to represent the martyrdom and humility of St. Peter.

Q: Why did Peter request to be crucified upside down?
A: Peter believed that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as Christ. Therefore, he requested to be crucified upside down.

Q: How is the upside-down cross used today?
A: The upside-down cross is mainly used by the Pope as a symbol of Peter’s martyrdom and humility. It serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by early Christian leaders.


The upside-down cross holds a significant meaning within the context of Christianity. Rather than being associated with satanic practices, it symbolizes the martyrdom and humility of St. Peter. Let us remember the sacrifices made by those who came before us and find inspiration in their unwavering faith. To explore more insightful Q&A articles, visit Top Q&A.

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