The Eastern Orthodox Cross is distinctively different from other Christian crosses, with the addition of two extra cross beams.
An Eastern Orthodox Cross at Sheffield Cemetery, Sheffield, Pennsylvania.
©2006 Kimberly Powell
The Eastern Orthodox Cross is also referred to as the Russian, Ukraine, Slavic and Byzantine Cross. The top beam of the cross represents the plaque bearing Pontius Pilate's inscription INRI (Jesus the Nazorean, King of the Jews). The slanted beam on the bottom, generally sloping down from left to right, is a bit more subjective in meaning. One popular theory (circa the eleventh century) is that it represents a footrest and the slant symbolizes a balance scale showing the good thief, St. Dismas, having accepted Christ would ascend to heaven, while the bad thief who rejected Jesus would descend to hell.