AIso known as the Russian Cross, Ukraine Cross, Slavic Cross and Byzantine Cross. The Eastern Orthodox Cross is a Latin Cross with two additional cross beams. This cross is different from Christian crosses. The deep symbolism and the tradition of icons was preserved from Byzantium through the Christian Empire it created in Russia. The Christian Byzantine Empire,was later renamed Constantinople and currently Istanbul. The culture of the area is a rich mixture of different traditions of iconography. This is reflected in the additional beams on the cross.
The top beam, also seen on the Patriarchal cross, represents the plaque bearing Pontius Pilate's inscription "Jesus the Nazarean, King of the Jews". Such a plaque is known in Latin as titulus cruces and therefore this form is sometimes called the Titulus Cross. The upper beam rarely actually has any inscription; it is just symbolic of a titulus. Instead, the cross is often embellished with the acronym IC XC NIKA.
A popular theory from the eleventh century, is that the slanted lower beam represents a foot-rest. The slant symbolizes a balance scale showing the good thief St. Dismas, having accepted Christ would ascend to heaven, while the thief who mocked Jesus would descend to hell. The slant is invariably shown high on the left and low on the right and when interpreted as the Slavic Cross, the lower beam is understood to be one arm of a superimposed St. Andrew's Cross. The Apostle St. Andrew preached in southern Russia, he used a large three-bar cross as a visual teaching aid. All three bars were parallel, and when relating the Passion he tilted the lower footrest to signify that those on the right side of Christ will rise up into heaven and those on the left will slide down into hell.