Crucifix Tattoo Designs & Ideas Inspired by History, Religion & Tradition

Crucifix Tattoo Back PieceCrucifix tattoo designs are common among Catholics. The crucifix tattoo is a powerful symbol that represents the focal point of their beliefs, that Jesus died on the cross to redeem humanity. Some Christian denominations use a bare cross to emphasize Jesus’ resurrection. Catholics include the image of Christ’s body on the cross to represent his sacrifice.

The Crucifix Tattoo is Sacramental

According to the Catholic catechism, the crucifix is a sacramental, a “sacred sign” instituted by the church that prepares Catholics to receive God’s grace. Catholics believe that gazing at the crucifix during prayer will help stimulate feelings of love, hope and trust. According to the catechism, a sacramental draws its power from the paschal mystery. This is central to the Catholic faith and also refers to Jesus’ suffering, resurrection and death.

Jesus’ Presence on the Cross

Crucifix Tattoo Jesus Back PieceFor Catholics, the figure of the suffering Jesus is present on the crucifix to symbolize Jesus’ death as a powerful act of sacrifice to atone for the sins of the world. It also seems to reconcile the relationship between God and humanity. It makes it possible for humans to enter into heaven and for them to believe it demonstrates God’s love is more powerful than sin and death. In return it can heal and redeem those who turn to towards christ our lord.

The Crucifix Tattoo vs. the Bare Cross Tattoo


Christ’s death is of chief importance, catholic writer Patrick Madrid explains that Catholics use the crucifix. Instead of the bare cross like other Christian denominations. He asserts that “the cross only has meaning because Christ died on it for our salvation.” According to the Rev. Arvin Luchs, a United Methodist pastor, Protestants place the emphasis on the resurrection of Jesus. It also mentions the “assurance of life beyond the power of death.”

In contrast to the Catholic view, they believe the bare cross illustrates that Jesus is no longer suffering. They think he is reigning in heaven. Luchs also explains that Protestant churches historically have avoided the use of images because of fear. They think “people will direct their worship to the image and not to God.”

Examples of Use

Crucifix Tattoo Grim ReaperThe crucifix is used prominently during Mass because celebration is the central act of worship for Catholics. It is used in the Mass procession affixed to a staff and also placed at the center of the altar. During Holy Week, a life-sized crucifix may be incorporated into the services. Crucifixes are also found outside the church. They are hung on the walls of Catholic homes as well as hospitals and schools and attached to necklaces and rosary beads.

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