Order of the Cross of Liberty
  • Vapaudenristin ritarikunta
  • Frihetskorsets orden
Order of the Cross of Liberty breast star with swords
Awarded by  Finland
TypeState order
EstablishedMarch 4, 1918; 105 years ago (1918-03-04)
SeatDefence Command, Helsinki[1]
MottoIsänmaan puolesta ('For the Fatherland')
EligibilityFinnish nationals and foreigners, Finnish Defence Force units and other organizations[2]
CriteriaMerits for the Finnish Defence Forces[2]
StatusCurrently constituted
FounderCarl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim
Grand MasterSauli Niinistö
ChancellorAri Puheloinen[1]
Vice-ChancellorSakari Honkamaa [fi][1]
  • Grand Cross
  • 1st Class
  • 2nd Class
  • 3rd Class
  • 4th Class
Websitevapaudenristinritarikunta.fi Edit this at Wikidata
First inductionSpring 1918[3]
Next (higher)None
Next (lower)Order of the White Rose of Finland

Ribbon of the Order of the Cross of Liberty

The Order of the Cross of Liberty (Finnish: Vapaudenristin ritarikunta; Swedish: Frihetskorsets orden) is one of three official state orders in Finland, along with the Order of the White Rose of Finland and the Order of the Lion of Finland.


The President of Finland is the Grand Master of the Order of the White Rose of Finland and of the Order of the Lion of Finland, and usually of the Order of the Cross of Liberty as well, Grand Mastership of which is attached to the position of Commander-in-chief.[2] All of these orders are administered by boards consisting of a chancellor, a vice-chancellor and at least four members. The orders of the White Rose of Finland and the Lion of Finland have a joint board.


The Order of the Cross of Liberty was founded on March 4, 1918,[4] upon the initiative of Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim. The Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela was commissioned to design the Order's insignia with the Old-Scandinavian Fylfot.

At its foundation there were seven classes: grand cross, cross of liberty (1st to 4th Class) and the medal of liberty (1st and 2nd Class). The decorations of the Order of the Cross of Liberty were initially conferred only in time of war. A decree was issued on 18 August 1944 enabling the decorations to be awarded in peacetime. Also in 1944, Mannerheim (1867–1951) was designated as Grand Master for life.[2]

Decorations of the order were awarded in great numbers during the World War II, partly due to Marshal Mannerheim having issued an order that wounded soldiers were to be awarded for their sacrifice, and Finland has no separate decoration for wounded. The Cross of Liberty is usually reserved for commissioned officers, with the Medal of Liberty being awarded for soldiers of junior rank and NCOs.

The Cross of Liberty has a red ribbon when it is granted in wartime and a yellow ribbon when it is awarded in peacetime. Associated with the Cross of Liberty is the Mannerheim Cross.


The Presidential Standard of Finland has a Cross of Liberty, 3rd Class on its upper left corner

The classes of the Order of the Cross of Liberty, in descending order, with abbreviations are:

Other special decorations awarded during the Second World War include:

The awards above are for civilian accomplishments, signaled by the blue color in the 3rd and 4th Classes, and in peacetime, as shown by the yellow ribbon. Awards for military accomplishments in the 3rd and 4th Classes have a dark gray color replacing the blue, and are awarded with a red ribbon in wartime.

In total the order has 55 distinct insignia.[7] Due to the numerous ways of awarding it has been called "the most complex order in Europe".[8]

Notable recipients

Grand Crosses

1st Class with a Star

1st Class

2nd Class

3rd Class

Other or unknown classes


Order of the Day № 60 (1942) awarding Order of the Cross of Liberty, 4th Class to all mothers of Finland

The statutes allow the order to be conferred collectively. The following have been awarded:

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Hallitus". Vapaudenristin Ritarikunta (in Finnish). Retrieved September 22, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d "Asetus Vapadenristin ritarikunnasta. 550/1944". FINLEX (in Finnish). Retrieved September 23, 2022.
  3. ^ Tiainen 2010, p. 25.
  4. ^ Bergroth 2014, p. 46.
  5. ^ a b Tetri 1994, p. 47.
  6. ^ a b Tetri 1994, p. 49.
  7. ^ Hieronymussen, Poul Ohm; Lundø, Jørgen, eds. (1968). Eurooppalaiset kunniamerkit värikuvina [Europæiske ordner i farver] (in Finnish). Translated by Karnila, Christer. Porvoo: WSOY. p. 108. OCLC 466954328.
  8. ^ Matikkala 2017, p. 13.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Bergroth 2014, p. 320.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Matikkala 2017, p. 511.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Tiainen 2010, p. 29.
  12. ^ "Puolustusvoimien entinen komentaja Puheloinen saa Vapaudenristin suurristin". MTVuutiset.fi (in Finnish). May 30, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  13. ^ Tiainen 2010, p. 28.
  14. ^ Tiainen 2010, p. 30.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Castrén, Klaus (1982). "Yhteisöille suodut Vapaudenristit". Sotahistoriallinen aikakauskirja (in Finnish). 2: 205–217. ISSN 0357-816X.
  16. ^ a b c d e f Bergroth 2014, p. 329.


Further reading