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What is the meaning of a Maltese cross?


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Answered 2008-11-20 11:38:50

The Maltese cross is identified as the symbol of the Christian warrior. The cross is eight-pointed and has the shape of four "V" shaped arms joined together at their bases, so that each arm has two points. Its design is based on crosses used since the First Crusade. The eight points symbolise the chivalric virtues; * Loyalty * Piety * Frankness * Braveness * Glory and honour * Contempt of death * Helpfulness towards the poor and the sick * Respect for the church The Maltese cross remains the symbol of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and other Orders of St John. In recent centuries it has come to be adopted as the insignia of numerous orders of chivalry, and appears on the coat-of-arms of the Mecklenburg-Strelitz district. In Australia the Maltese Cross is the state emblem of Queensland. In Great Britain the first postmark employed for the cancellation of the then new postage stamps in the 1840s was the shape of a Maltese cross and named accordingly. The Maltese cross also forms the basis for the design of the Order of the Bath. The Maltese cross is also the symbol of Neath Rugby Football Club in Neath, Wales. At King George V's funeral procession, as the funeral cortege turned into New Palace Yard, the Maltese cross (really a cross patt�e) fell from the Crown and landed in the gutter. This was viewed as a bad omen for the next King, Edward VIII, who would abdicate before the year was out. The Maltese cross flower (Lychnis chalcedonica) was named after the Maltese cross because its petals are similarly shaped, though its points are more rounded into "heart"-like shapes. The Geneva drive, a gear that translates a continuous rotation into an intermittent rotary motion, is also sometimes called a "Maltese cross mechanism" due to its similar shape. Similar crosses are used as the symbol of some Fire Services in the United States, and are often referred to as a Maltese cross, although this is not technically correct as the shape of these crosses differ. Other similar crosses (properly known as the cross patt�e) appear as the Victoria Cross and on the flag of Wallis and Futuna. It also has been used (with an elliptical orb in the center) as the official badge of the Delta Phi fraternity since 1833. The official symbol of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity is the heraldic cross pattee, though the organization's founder thought it was a Maltese cross when the organization was formed in 1865. It is considered as one of the National Symbols of Malta and used to be depicted on the two mils coin of the island prior to the removal of the currency from circulation.

The eight points of the Maltese cross symbolise the eight beatitudes of Christ's Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5.3-10): The poor in spirit, They who mourn, They who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, The meek, The peacemakers, They who hunger and thirst for righteousness, The pure in heart, The merciful The Maltese Cross is also interpreted as a symbol of the eight chivalric virtues: Observation, Tact, Resource, Dexterity, Sympathy, Perseverance, Discrimination, Explicitness Another theory considers the eight points of the Maltese Cross a symbol for the eight langues of the Order of Malta: Provence, Auvergne, France, Aragon, Italy, Germany, England, Castilia

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