Date - Oct/78

Contributor - Engelina van Essen

Title - The Huguenot Cross

Topic - Women's Page

Quite a few people have asked me lately, "Do you know the meaning of the Huguenot Cross? I have one and when I'm asked, what it means, I'm not sure." Yes, I do know something about it and am happy to share it with you, because this cross is a wonderful means of witnessing for Christ.

Huguenots were a group of Protestants who became the centre of political and religious quarrels in France in the 1500's and 1600's. The Huguenots believed the teachings of the great Reformer John Calvin and were members of the Reformed Church. The French Roman Catholics mockingly gave them the name Huguenots. Resources do not tell where this name found its origin, but there is a possibility that these people were called after Besancon Hugues, a Swiss religious leader. Through persecution the name Huguenot became a name of honour. The cross is not a sign of Huguenot descent, as some people may think, and thus it is not limited to be worn by descendants of the French Huguenots only; but those who do wear it, do this as a sign of Reformed persuasion. (Reformed in a wider sense of the word.) The French Protestants have known very hard times before they found freedom of religion. After the Edict of Nantes in 1685, when they were deprived from gained grants, thousands of Huguenots fled France to settle in England, Prussia, The Netherlands, and America. As a result of this, many Walloon congregations came about in The Netherlands.

THE MEANING OF THE CROSS

Since its origin is so old, it is very hard to be exact. Certain is, that the main part is a cross - OUR ONLY HOPE!

The reason that the Maltese cross, with the four even arms was chosen is, that the Protestants - the Huguenots - wanted to be marked by the cross, but NOT by the "Roman" cross. The Maltese cross is the symbol of re-birth: the new birth.

The split arms form eight points representing the Beatitudes from Matthew 5: 3 - 1 0.

BLESSED ARE:

The poor in spirit poor in spirit refers to humility and acknowledging personal unworthiness. Humble citizens of God's Kingdom will be blessed.

They that mourn - those mourning over personal sin and the sin of this world. "For godly grief produces repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death." II Cor. 7: 10. They will be comforted by God who revealed himself in Jesus Christ.

The meek - Those who do not bear a grudge: -who have no resentment; -who do not kick back. Those shall inherit the earth; -the new earth; -the new creation.

Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness - who do hunger with a strong desire and thirst for righteous living will be satisfied; -will be filled. For they "will not walk in the flesh but according to the Spirit" Rom. 8:4.

The merciful - those who have compassion in forgiving and helping others, for Christ's sake. This is the qualification for receiving mercy.

The pure in heart - the heart is the seat of our will; -our emotions; -our intellect. Purification means, confessing and resisting sin. Those who are pure in heart, shall see God; -shall live in a right relationship with their heavenly Father.

The peacemakers - those who bring the message of peace and salvation; -who will restore the right relationship between God and people through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Being peacemakers does not make us children of God. "See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are." I John 3: 1.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

These two beatitudes go together and are different than the first seven, for the last two teach of experience, and not what people are.

"Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven."

Other sources will tell us that the points of the cross remind us of the fruit of the Spirit as we read it in Galatians 5: 22: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, selfcontrol.

Between the arms of the cross is a crown of four lilies and four hearts, representing the loyalty to the French Crown, but more so to the cross of Christ. The white lilies reminding us of being pure; -the four hearts symbolizing the unity we have in Jesus Christ.

The ornament at the lower arm of the cross had in origin a different form. Some people saw in it a tear, reminding them of persecution; -others say it used to be a replica of the pear shaped pitcher in which the anointing oil for the French kings was kept. Around 1688 this ornament disappeared definitely and was replaced by the dove with spread wings and the head down, symbol of the Holy Spirit.

The Huguenot Cross is a very meaningful symbol. Those who wear it, wear it as a recognition of their Reformed (Protestant) persuasion and as a witness of their evangelical faith -as a reminder of their high calling and of God's promises given to them.


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