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Huguenot Cross History and Meaning

Huguenot Cross Symbolism  The Huguenot Cross is believed to have been a sign of recognition among the French Protestants as  early as the 17th  century. It was  patterned after the Order of  the Holy Spirit  insignia worn by Henry  IV of  Navarre, who issued  the Edict of Nantes in  1598 to protect Protestant  freedoms. The  provides the following  information  as to its  history: "The Huguenot cross was  designed and first manufactured by a certain  Mystre of Nîmes in 1688. It has as its predecessor  the badge of the Hospitaler Knights of St John of Jerusalem also known as the Knights of Malta, a religious and Crusader order founded in Jerusalem in the 7th century AD. In 1308 they occupied the island of Rhodes after the collapse of the Crusader states, and in 1530 formed the order of the Knights of Malta after Rhodes was surrendered to the Ottoman Turks. They lived for 4 centuries on the island of Malta, hence the name Maltese Cross for the central part. (The Maltese Cross is generally associated with fire and is the symbol of protection of fire fighters in many countries). Other predecessors of the Huguenot Cross include the so-called Languedoc Cross, and the order decoration of the Order of the Holy Spirit which Henry III established on December 31st, 1578.
   The gold Cross of Languedoc, with the official ribbon of the Society which is white, edged with stripes of French blue and gold has become the official insignia of The National Huguenot Society worn by members. The Cross of Languedoc consists of four elements:  The insignia consists of an open four-petal Lily of France -- reminiscent of the Mother Country of France -- in which each petal radiates outward in the shape of a "V" to form a Maltese Cross. The four petals signify the Four Gospels. Each petal, or arm, has at its outside periphery two rounded points at the corners. These rounded points are regarded as signifying the Eight Beatitudes. The four petals are joined together by four fleur-de-lis, also reminiscent of the Mother Country of France. Each fleur-de-lis has has three petals. The twelve petals of the four fleur-de-lis signify the Twelve Apostles.  An open space in the shape of heart is formed between each fleur-de-lis and the arms of the two petals with which it is joined. This shape -- a symbol of loyalty -- suggests the seal of the great French Reformer, John Calvin. A descending dove pendant representing the Saint Esprit or "Sainted Spirit" -- the guide and counselor of the Church -- is suspended from a ring of gold attached to the lower central petal. Courtesy of The National Huguenot Society.


Documentary: Huguenots and the French Reformation


Documentary: Persecution of the French Huguenots