The Cross Pattée and the Maltese Cross

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The Cross Pattée is one of the identification symbols of the Knights of the Temple in Jerusalem. It is a little red cross that the Knights Templar had on their armors. The symbolism was usually white or black for sergeants, positioned at the left side below the heart. 

It is composed by four arms of equal size that flare out in the ends. These may have flat, convex or concave edges. 

It symbolizes the mystery of the Christ’s passion.

The Cross Pattée shouldn’t be confused with the Maltese Cross of the Knights Hospitaller, that is a Greek cross with eight bifurcate ends representing the beatitudes. 

 

Cross pattéeA Cross Pattée with concave edges

 

Cross pattéeCross Pattée with concave edges

 

A Maltese Cross. Note the bifurcate arms

 

The name “Pattée” derives from the latin term patentem (past participle of pàteo) meaning “widened”.

Its use was allowed by Pope Eugene II to the Knights Templar with the papal bull Militia Dei, dated the 7th of April 1145. 

A Cross Pattée was also on the Baucent, the war flag of the Templars. The flag was dichromate, white and black divided into two equal parts. This Cross was positioned in the upper side.

 

Cross pattée

 

The finding of this symbolism, in the walls of religious or civil buildings, is a possible sign of the presence of the Knights Templar in the territory.

 

Samuele Corrente Naso (translation by Daniela Campus)