|The German Huguenot Museum in Bad Karlshafen|
The Huguenot Cross
The Huguenot cross, known throughout the world, has become a sign of recognition for Reformed Protestants, especially in France.
The cross in its present form derived from the Order of St Esprit (Order of the Holy Ghost) which was instituted by Henry III of France in 1578, while it again was based on the mediaeval Maltese Cross.
By contrast with this order, where the dove is at the centre of the cross, the dove on this cross is a pendant symbolizing the descent of the Holy Ghost.
The first persion to mention the origin of the cross was the the Prior of Bernis, Abbot Valette, in a publication "Der Aufruhr in den Cevennen (The Revolt in the Cevennes). Thereupon the goldsmith Maystre in Nimes designed and created the cross around 1688. It quickly gained popularity in the town and surrounding area. It was called after its place of origin the Cross of Languedoc.
Among the many known designs of the Huguenot cross one sometimes finds a cross where the dove is replaced by a tear as a sign of the suffering of the persecuted church, or by a little club, which stands for the religious struggle.
Lilies are recognigable between the arms of the cross. They are the emblem of the French Royal House and symbolize the loyalty of the Huguenots to their King.
© The German Huguenot Museum 2017