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What is a Maltese Cross?

What is a Maltese Cross? The Maltese cross is a popular symbol worldwide, signifying the important values of courage and divine protection. 

What is a Maltese Cross?

You will especially find this cross design all across the island-country of Malta, an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta also wears this cross as a part of their standard issue uniform.

The Maltese cross also exists around the globe. Different militias use this cross symbol as a representation of bravery. Countries like Poland, the Philippines, and Sweden also use the Maltese cross on some of the highest medals of Honor and inscribe them on coats of arms.

Besides being used in the military, the medical field also uses the Maltese cross. Meanwhile, sports clubs, companies, and fraternizes worldwide also use this popular cross symbol in their logos. Of course, there are also Maltese Cross Pendants used in jewelry and necklaces in precious metals like solid gold and sterling silver.

All across the world, people see the Maltese cross as a symbol of courage and honor. 

The Knights of Malta

When examining the important question, “What is a Maltese cross?” from an historical perspective, you will inevitably come across the ancient Knights of Malta, also known as Knights of Hospitallers. These knights were the ones that ruled the islands of Malta in years 1530 to 1798. 

In its physical appearance, the Maltese cross features a star-like shape. The cross has four arms shaped like the English alphabet ‘V.’ All four of these meet one another at their tips. Typically, the Maltese cross uses the colors black and white or red and white.

History of the Maltese Cross

The interesting history of the Maltese cross began when the Knights of St. John started fighting the Saracens for the possession of the holy land. The Saracens used fire to attack the Knights, bringing excruciating pain. 

As a result, hundreds of the Knights of St. John lost their lives as the Saracens burned them alive. Since they received the agonizing death to protect their brothers, the dying Knights became the first firefighters. 

It was then that fellow crusaders honored the Knights with the symbolic badge known as the Maltese cross today. What is a Maltese cross today? Now and always, the Maltese cross has been a powerful symbol of divine protection, courage and strength. This is one reason, among many, that firefighters , among other groups, also employ this ancient symbol.

What is the Meaning of the Maltese Cross?

The symbol of the Maltese cross originates from the crosses that were used in the crusades. Originally, the Maltese cross symbolized a ‘Christian warrior.’ 

The eight points of the Maltese cross denote the eight obligations of the Knights of Malta: trust, faith, penance, humility, justice, mercy, sincerity, wholeheartedness, and endurance for persecution. There are many variations of Maltese crosses, such as the Holy Warrior Maltese Cross in 14k gold.

With time, the eight points have also come to represent the eight languages of the noblemen. They were named France, Castille, Baviere (now Germany), Italy, Aragon, Auvergne, Provence, and England (Ireland and Scotland). 

Moreover, the eight-point of a Maltese cross also represents the eight beatitudes or blessings according to the present-day teachings. Also, it is significant of the order of St. John, which includes being diplomatic, observant, discriminating, sympathetic, resourceful, agile, persevering, and explicit. 

You may still ask the relevant question, “What is a Maltese cross?”  Ultimately, it is a popular, spiritually significant emblem that originates from the crosses that were used in crusades during the time of the Knights of St. John. Today, the cross symbolizes many things and means many things to many groups of people, but has come to especially  represent the attributes of divine courage and protection.

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