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Cruciform means having the shape of a cross or Christian cross.


Cruciform architectural plan

Peterborough Cathedral PeterPlanDehio.jpg
Peterborough Cathedral

Christian churches are commonly described as having a cruciform architecture. In Early Christian, Byzantine and other Eastern Orthodox forms of church architecture this is likely to mean a tetraconch plan, a Greek cross, with arms of equal length or, later, a cross-in-square plan.

In the Western churches, a cruciform architecture usually, though not exclusively, means a church built with the layout developed in Gothic architecture. This layout comprises the following:

In churches that are not oriented with the altar at the geographical east end, it is usual to refer to the altar end as "liturgical east" and so forth.

Methodist tabernacles also have a cruciform shape. [1]

Another example of ancient cruciform architecture [2] can be found in Herod's temple, the second Jewish temple.

Cruciform DNA

Humfrey Wanley by Thomas Hill, 1711.jpg
Librarian Humfrey Wanley holding a facsimile copy of a cruciform Greek manuscript (Lectionary 150)

DNA can undergo transitions to form a cruciform shape, including a structure called a Holliday junction. This structure is important for the critical biological processes of DNA recombination and repair mutations that occur in the cell.

Cruciform joint

A cruciform joint is a specific joint in which four spaces are created by the welding of three plates of metal at right angles.

Cruciform manuscript

A cruciform manuscript was a form of Anglo-Saxon / Insular manuscript written with the words in a block shaped like a cross.

Cruciform melody

In music, a melody of four pitches where a straight line drawn between the outer pair bisects a straight line drawn between the inner pair, thus forming a cross (as in the red lines in the example to the right). In its simplest form, the cruciform melody is a changing tone, where the melody ascends or descends by step, skips below or above the first pitch, then returns to the first pitch by step. Often representative of the Christian cross, such melodies are cruciform in their retrogrades or inversions. Johann Sebastian Bach, whose last name may be represented in tones through a musical cryptogram known as the BACH motif that is a cruciform melody, employed the device extensively. The subject of the fugue in c-sharp minor from The Well-Tempered Clavier Book I is cruciform. See also: Cross motif.

Cruciform tail

Jetstream 31 with cruciform tail Jetstream31.jpg
Jetstream 31 with cruciform tail

Some airplanes use a cruciform tail design, wherein the horizontal stabilizer is positioned midway up the vertical stabilizer, forming a cruciform shape when viewed from the front or rear. Some examples are the F-9 Cougar, the F-10 Skyknight and the Sud Aviation Caravelle.

The cruciform tail gives the benefit of clearing the aerodynamics of the tail away from the wake of the engine, while not requiring the same amount of strengthening of the vertical tail section in comparison with a T-tail design.

Cruciform sword

Swiss longsword, 15th or 16th century Swiss Sword.jpg
Swiss longsword, 15th or 16th century

The plain sword used by knights, distinctive due to the flat bar used as a guard. The overall shape of the sword when held point down is that of a cross.

It is believed this shape was encouraged by the church to remind Knights of their religion.[ citation needed ] It was however very popular due to the protection it offered to the hand and certain attacks that rely on the cross to trap the blade of the enemy. See Sword.

Cruciform web design

Cruciform web designs use a cross-shaped web page that expands to fill the width and height of the web browser window. There are a number of different approaches to implementing them.

Cruciform product design

In addition to common cross-shaped products, such as key chains and magnets, certain designers have gone so far as to create cruciform devices and accessories. For example, the mass-produced cruciform MP3 player "Saint B", or the "iBelieve", an accessory that converts the original iPod Shuffle into a cross shape designed by Scott Wilson in 2005. The cruciform MP3 players often come preloaded with audio files of the New Testament, but are mainly purchased for users to proudly display their faith. [3]

See also

Related Research Articles

Church (building) Building used for Christian religious activities

A church building, church house, or simply church, is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religious activities. The term is used to refer to the physical buildings where Christians worship and also to refer to the community of Christians. Sometimes it is used as an analogy for the buildings of other religions. In traditional Christian architecture the plan view of a church often forms a Christian cross; the center aisle and seating representing the vertical beam with the bema and altar forming the horizontal. Towers or domes may inspire contemplation of the heavens. Modern churches have a variety of architectural styles and layouts. Some buildings designed for other purposes have been converted to churches, while many original church buildings have been put to other uses.

Architecture of cathedrals and great churches

The architecture of cathedrals and great churches is characterised by the buildings' large scale and follows one of several branching traditions of form, function and style that derive ultimately from the Early Christian architectural traditions established in Late Antiquity during the Christianization of the Roman Empire.

Medieval architecture

Medieval architecture is architecture common in the Middle Ages, and includes religious, civil, and military buildings. Styles include pre-Romanesque, Romanesque, and Gothic. While most of the surviving medieval architecture is to be seen in churches and castles, examples of civic and domestic architecture can be found throughout Europe, in manor houses, town halls, almshouses, bridges, and residential houses.


A T-tail is an empennage configuration in which the tailplane is mounted to the top of the fin. The arrangement looks like the capital letter T, hence the name. The T-tail differs from the standard configuration in which the tailplane is mounted to the fuselage at the base of the fin.


The V-tail or Vee-tail of an aircraft is an unconventional arrangement of the tail control surfaces that replaces the traditional fin and horizontal surfaces with two surfaces set in a V-shaped configuration. The aft edge of each twin surface is a hinged control surface, sometimes called a ruddervator, which combines the functions of both a rudder and elevators.

Transept Architectural element

A transept is a transverse part of any building, which lies across the main body of the edifice. In churches, a transept is an area set crosswise to the nave in a cruciform ("cross-shaped") building within the Romanesque and Gothic Christian church architectural traditions. Each half of a transept is known as a semitransept.

Rose window

Rose window is often used as a generic term applied to a circular window, but is especially used for those found in Gothic cathedrals and churches. The windows are divided into segments by stone mullions and tracery. The term rose window was not used before the 17th century and according to the Oxford English Dictionary, among other authorities, comes from the English flower name rose.


Geghard is a medieval monastery in the Kotayk province of Armenia, being partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with enhanced protection status.

Empennage Tail section of an aircraft containing stabilizers

The empennage, also known as the tail or tail assembly, is a structure at the rear of an aircraft that provides stability during flight, in a way similar to the feathers on an arrow. The term derives from the French language word empenner which means "to feather an arrow". Most aircraft feature an empennage incorporating vertical and horizontal stabilising surfaces which stabilise the flight dynamics of yaw and pitch, as well as housing control surfaces.

Reliquary Container for religious relics

A reliquary is a container for relics. A portable reliquary may be called a fereter, and a chapel in which it is housed a feretory.

Vertical stabilizer

A vertical stabilizer, vertical stabiliser, or fin, is a structure designed to reduce aerodynamic side slip and provide directional stability. They are most commonly found on vehicles such as aircraft or cars. It is analogous to a skeg on boats and ships. Other objects such as missiles or bombs utilize them too. They are typically found on the aft end of the fuselage or body.

Church architecture

Church architecture refers to the architecture of buildings of Christian churches. It has evolved over the two thousand years of the Christian religion, partly by innovation and partly by imitating other architectural styles as well as responding to changing beliefs, practices and local traditions. From the birth of Christianity to the present, the most significant objects of transformation for Christian architecture and design were the great churches of Byzantium, the Romanesque abbey churches, Gothic cathedrals and Renaissance basilicas with its emphasis on harmony. These large, often ornate and architecturally prestigious buildings were dominant features of the towns and countryside in which they stood. However, far more numerous were the parish churches in Christendom, the focus of Christian devotion in every town and village. While a few are counted as sublime works of architecture to equal the great cathedrals and churches, the majority developed along simpler lines, showing great regional diversity and often demonstrating local vernacular technology and decoration.

Stabilizer (aeronautics) Aircraft component

An aircraft stabilizer is an aerodynamic surface, typically including one or more movable control surfaces, that provides longitudinal (pitch) and/or directional (yaw) stability and control. A stabilizer can feature a fixed or adjustable structure on which any movable control surfaces are hinged, or it can itself be a fully movable surface such as a stabilator. Depending on the context, "stabilizer" may sometimes describe only the front part of the overall surface.

Eastern Orthodox church architecture

Eastern Orthodox church architecture constitutes a distinct, recognizable family of styles among church architectures. These styles share a cluster of fundamental similarities, having been influenced by the common legacy of Byzantine architecture from the Eastern Roman Empire. Some of the styles have become associated with the particular traditions of one specific autocephalous Orthodox patriarchate, whereas others are more widely used within the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Christian symbolism Use of symbols, including archetypes, acts, artwork or events, by Christianity

Christian symbolism is the use of symbols, including archetypes, acts, artwork or events, by Christianity. It invests objects or actions with an inner meaning expressing Christian ideas.

Cross-in-square Architectural form of middle- and late-period Byzantine churches

A cross-in-square or crossed-dome plan was the dominant architectural form of middle- and late-period Byzantine churches. It featured a square centre with an internal structure shaped like a cross, topped by a dome.

Ciborium (architecture) Canopy or covering that covers the altar in a church

In ecclesiastical architecture, a ciborium is a canopy or covering supported by columns, freestanding in the sanctuary, that stands over and covers the altar in a basilica or other church. It may also be known by the more general term of baldachin, though ciborium is often considered more correct for examples in churches. Really a baldachin should have a textile covering, or at least, as at Saint Peter's in Rome, imitate one. There are exceptions; Bernini's structure in Saint Peter's, Rome is always called the "baldachin". Early ciboria had curtains hanging from rods between the columns, so that the altar could be concealed from the congregation at points in the liturgy. Smaller examples may cover other objects in a church. In a very large church, a ciborium is an effective way of visually highlighting the altar, and emphasizing its importance. The altar and ciborium are often set upon a dais to raise it above the floor of the sanctuary.

Cross motif

In music, the cross motif is a motif.

Ethiopian art

Ethiopian art from the 4th century until the 20th can be divided into two broad groupings. First comes a distinctive tradition of Christian art, mostly for churches, in forms including painting, crosses, icons, illuminated manuscripts, and other metalwork such as crowns. Secondly there are popular arts and crafts such as textiles, basketry and jewellery, in which Ethiopian traditions are closer to those of other peoples in the region. Its history goes back almost three thousand years to the kingdom of D'mt. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has been the predominant religion in Ethiopia for over 1500 years, for most of this period in a very close relation, or union, with the Coptic Christianity of Egypt, so that Coptic art has been the main formative influence on Ethiopian church art.

Churches in Norway

Church building in Norway began when Christianity was established there around the year 1000. The first buildings may have been post churches erected in the 10th or 11th century, but the evidence is inconclusive. For instance under Urnes Stave Church and Lom Stave Church there are traces of older post churches. Post churches were later replaced by the more durable stave churches. About 1,300 churches were built during the 12th and 13th centuries in what was Norway's first building boom. A total of about 3,000 churches have been built in Norway, although nearly half of them have perished. From 1620 systematic records and accounts were kept although sources prior to 1620 are fragmented. Evidence about early and medieval churches is partly archaeological. The "long church" is the most common type of church in Norway. There are about 1620 buildings recognized as churches affiliated with the Church of Norway. In addition, there are a number of gospel halls belonging to the lay movement affiliated with the Church of Norway as well as churches belonging to other Christian bodies. Until the 20th century, most churches were built from wood. 220 buildings are protected by law, and an additional 765 are listed as valuable cultural heritage.


  1. Lanier, Gabrielle M.; Herman, Bernard L. (19 June 1997). Everyday Architecture of the Mid-Atlantic: Looking at Buildings and Landscapes. JHU Press. p. 275. ISBN   9780801853258 . Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  2. Jerome, Murphy-O'Connor (1998). The Holy Land: an Oxford archaeological guide from earliest times to 170. Oxford University Press, USA; 4 edition (June 25, 1998). p. 108. ISBN   0-19-288013-6.
  3. Gorman, Carma R. (2009). "Religion on Demand: Faith-based Design". Design and Culture. 1 (1): 9–22. doi:10.2752/175470709787375715. S2CID   143513427.