The Orders of the White Rose of Finland and the Lion of Finland are complemented by a third order, the Order of the Cross of Liberty. The decorations of the Order of the Cross of Liberty are awarded for military merit and to civilians for distinguished actions in support of the Finnish Defence Forces.
The Cross of Liberty and the Medal of Liberty were established by decision of the Senate of Finland on 4 March 1918 for the purpose of rewarding both military and civic merits. Having considered that the Cross of Liberty had fulfilled its purpose, Regent Mannerheim discontinued its conferral in 1919. However, the Cross of Liberty was reinstated during the Winter War, and a permanent Order of the Cross of Liberty was founded by decree on 16 December 1940. President of the Republic Mannerheim ratified the statutes of the Order of the Cross of Liberty by decree (no. 550) on 18 August 1944, and these are still in force today.
The Grand Master of the Cross of Liberty is the Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish Defence Forces, who has the exclusive right to confer the Order’s decorations. The Grand Master of the Order is assisted by a Chapter that consists of a Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Secretary and Treasurer. The Order is also staffed by a Liaison Officer and a Clerk, both appointed by the Defence Command of the Defence Forces.
The decorations of the Order of the Cross of Liberty are as follows: Grand Cross; First Class with Star; First Class; Second Class; Third Class; Fourth Class; Medal of Liberty First Class; Medal of Merit First Class; Medal of Liberty Second Class; and Medal of Merit Second Class.
The special decorations of the Order of the Cross of Liberty are as follows: Mannerheim Cross First Class; Mannerheim Cross Second Class; Medal of Liberty First Class with Rosette; Medal of Merit in gold; Cross of Mourning; and Medal of Mourning.