The Maltese Cross

A symbol of courage in Malta and all across the globe

Renowned worldwide, the Maltese Cross is the symbol of the Knights of Malta or the Knights Hospitaller, as they are also known.

The Knights Hospitaller are hugely associated with the tiny island of Malta. The knights were essentially an order of Christian warriors and their legacy on the Maltese Islands can be seen and felt almost in every corner of the islands.

The Maltese Cross is one of the national symbols of Malta and representations and variations of it can be seen all across the islands. It is also shown on the back of the one and two Euro coins. (Malta joined the Euro Zone in 2008).

The Knights of Malta were originally a group of monks attached to a hospice to aid pilgrims. With time, these monks began to offer armed escort to travellers since the Syrian territory was highly dangerous during that period.

With the success of the First Crusade, these monks were transformed into a fully fledged military order.


What does the cross of Malta look like?

the maltese cross

The Malta cross has eight points and takes the form of four "V" shaped arms, joining together at the tips.

Each arm has two points.

The design is said to be based on similar crosses which were used during the First Crusade.

This type of cross was also the symbol of Amalfi which was an Italian republic of the 11th century.

For this reason, the cross is sometimes also referred to as the Amalfi Cross.


So what is the meaning of the Maltese Cross?

The points of the cross symbolize the eight points of courage. These points are:

Loyalty

Piety

Bravery

Generosity

Contempt of death

Glory and honour

Helpfulness towards the sick and poor

Respect for the church

The Order of St. John's main service organisation, St John Ambulance has nowadays applied other meanings to the points and for them the points showcase the top traits that a good first aider should have. A good first aider should be:

Observant

Tactful

Dextrous

Explicit

Resourceful

Discriminating

Persevering

Sympathetic


The Malta Cross Today

Today, the Maltese Cross is one of the national symbols of Malta, the symbol of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the Order of St. John and St. John Ambulance.

In more recent years, the Malta cross has been adopted by various other organizations and entitities all across the globe.

Many variations of the cross exist and one can find various websites offering related clipart and photos.

The cross features on the flag and coat of arms of Queensland in Australia. The cross of Malta is also represented on many ambulance services in Australia.

In Spain, the cross is the symbol of the military Medical Corps. In the U.K., the cross is the symbol used by Rifle Regiments. It's also the symbol of Neath Rugby Football Club in Wales.

Motorcyle clubs all across the U.S.A. often include the Malta Cross in their insignia. Many of them include a variation of it, which is known as the Cross pattee. Also in the U.S.A., the cross is hugely popular with fire departments and is incorporated in their insignia.

However, the Fire Department Maltese Cross used by the U.S. fire departments is essentially a Florian Cross. St. Florian is the patron saint of firefighters. The Florian Cross is often mistakingly referred to as the Maltese Cross. If you're looking for related firefighters jewelry, apparel and accessories, click here.

The cross is also widely popular as a tattoo design and the fascination with Malta Cross Tattoos spans practically all across the globe!