As time passed, different stories arose about the origins of the Huguenot
Cross. However, all of them agree that it was worn for the first time
in the Cevennes. The cross evolved through tragic circumstances.
During the prosecution of the Huguenots, their religious gatherings had
to be kept secret. They were usually held in caves and other secret places,
and conducted by one of the members. With weddings and christenings, they
had to wait until the preacher was in the neighbourhood.
One day, somewhere in the Cevennes, a group of Huguenots had gathered.
The preacher was busy marrying four young couples when the dreaded French
Dragoons appeared on the scene. Many Huguenots succeded in escaping but
two of the bridal couples were caught. At the nearest town, they were
given a choice: become Roman Catholic or die at the stake. They refused
to recant their Huguenot beliefs.
Four big piles of wood were prepared on the market square, and stacked
in such a way that those condemned could watch each other burn to death.
The four condemned Huguenots sang while they were brought closer and bound,
each to a stake. With the flames their psalm rose to heaven until their
voices faded into silence.
From the crowd a woman's voice called: "I see the flames rise to
heaven. They unite in a mighty dome of fire which joins the four burning
stakes. I see a cross of fire, and in the centre it shoots its rays to
the north, the south, the east and the west - the Morning Star, the sign
of our master, Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord! He is with us to the end!"
A metal worker from Nīmes saw and heard everything she said. He made a
kind of medallion approximately the size of a five cent piece. The nucleus
resembled the Maltese Cross (the symbol of the Crusaders). The four arms
of the cross were linked with a smaller "circle", which refers
to the flames that united them. The space between the arms was made into
the shape of a heart. The four hearts remind us of the love of the two
young couples who, true to their faith, were burnt at the stake on their
This medallion was afterwards adopted by the Huguenots as their token.
Later on the cross was not only made from iron and lead, but also from
silver and even gold. The dove was added as a symbol of the Holy Ghost.
After the dreadful persecutions following on the revocation of the Edict
of Nantes, the Huguenots replaced the dove with a Pearl, symbolising a
The Huguenot Cross is a symbol of religious loyalty - a religion so strong
that it did not even fear the stake. Descendants of the Huguenots are
not allowed to forget their origins nor to consider their religion as
being something superficial.