The Emblem of the Order
The Knights of Columbus Emblem
The Emblem of the Order dates from the Second Supreme meeting, in May 12, 1883. It was designed by
James T. Mullen, a New Haven native and Civil War veteran, who served the Order as its first Supreme
Knight from 1882-1886.
The emblem incorporates a shield mounted upon a Formée Cross (having the arms narrow at the center and expanding toward the
ends). The shield is associated with a medieval knight, and the Formée Cross is an artistic representation of the cross of Christ, through whom all graces of redemption were procured for mankind. This, then, represents the Catholic spirit of
Mounted on the shield are three objects: a fasces (a bundle of rods bound together about an ax with the blade projecting) standing vertically and, crossed behind it, an anchor and a dagger or short sword.
The fasces represents “Strength through Unity”, and in Roman days was carried before magistrates as an emblem of the authority which must exist in a tightlybonded and efficiently operating society.
The anchor is the mariner’s symbol for Columbus, patron of the order, and the short sword is the weapon of the knight when engaged in an errand of mercy.
Thus the shield expresses Catholic Knighthood in unified merciful action, and with the letters K. of C., proclaims this specific form of activity.