Sunday, April 8, 2012

Maltese Cross Stained Glass Panel

Last week I received a telephone call from a woman living in Magnolia Springs, Alabama. She is the president of an organization that honors the volunteer fire department in this small, (750 resident) Gulf Coast town.

Her request to me was to make a stained glass panel crafted into the shape of the Maltese Cross.

After chatting with her about what she wants, when she needs it and what size it should be - I quickly turned to the internet to research a little bit more about the Maltese Cross. This is the information I found from the New York City Fire Fighters History website:

When a courageous band of crusaders known as the Knights of St. John, fought the Saracens for possession of the holy land, they encountered a new weapon unknown to European warriors. It was a simple, but a horrible device of war, it wrought excruciating pain and agonizing death upon the brave fighters for the cross. The Saracen's weapon was, fire.

As the crusaders advanced on the walls of the city, they were struck by glass bombs containing naphtha. When they became saturated with the highly flammable liquid, the Saracens hurled a flaming torch into their midst. Hundreds of the knights were burned alive; others risked their lives to save their brothers-in-arms from dying painful, fiery deaths.

Thus, these men became our first firefighter and the first of a long list of courageous firefighters. Their heroic efforts were recognized by fellow crusaders who awarded each here a badge of honor - a cross similar to the one firefighter's wear today. Since the Knights of St. John lived for close to four centuries on a little island in the Mediterranean Sea named Malta, the cross came to be known as the Maltese Cross.

The Maltese Cross is your symbol of protection. It means that the firefighter who wears this cross is willing to lay down his life for you just as the crusaders sacrificed their lives for their fellow man so many years ago. The Maltese Cross is a firefighter's badge of honor, signifying that he works in courage - a ladder rung away from death.

This pretty piece measures 15.5" square and will hang proudly in the small community of Magnolia Springs, Alabama.

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