Portuguese order of Christ cross. Silver ca 1800 with foiled garnets and paste.
Measurements : 70 x 43 mm
The order’s origins lie in the Knights Templar, founded circa 1118. The Templars were persecuted by the king of France and eventually disbanded by the pope in 1312. King Dinis I of Portugal created the Order of Christ in 1317 for those knights who survived their mass slaughter throughout Europe. In Portugal, the Order of Christ accumulated great riches and power during the Age of Discoveries.
In 1789, Queen Maria I of Portugal secularized the order. In 1910, with the end of the Portuguese monarchy, the order was extinguished. However, in 1917, the order was revived, with its Grand Master to be the President of Portugal. The Military Order of Christ, together with the Military Orders of Aviz and of St. James of the Sword, formed the group of the “Ancient Military Orders”, governed by a chancellor and a council of eight members, and appointed by the President of the Republic to assist him as Grand Master in all the order’s administrative matters. The Order can be conferred for outstanding services to the Republic on military officers, and, despite its name, on civilians (including foreigners as well as Portuguese citizens) and on members of: Parliament or other branches of government, the diplomatic corps, the Courts of Justice, the Civil Service, and other public authorities.